Over the past five years, anyone who loves to read or write has witnessed radical changes in the publishing world.
Most of the old “brick and mortar” bookstores are gone and even the big conglomerates are struggling to survive.
The proliferation of Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world, has made going to buy a new book obsolete and is rapidly changing how books are written and published, as well.
Users friendly, these sites allow the author complete creative and marketing control over their work. It is a freedom many in the publishing industry have never known and, frankly, now envy.
The “Tampa Bay Book Examiner” decided to ask a few “Indie-authors”, of varying degrees of success, why they decided to take this route.
Greg Wilkey is the author of the Young Adult series, “The Life and Un-Death of Mortimer Drake” a four book set, he has seen his sales steadily increase since the use of a professional editor and artist.
Becket Ghioto is new to indie-publishing. His new novel, “The Blood Vivicanti”, has just been released as a monthly serial and is rising steadily up the charts.
All three have regular jobs and share the same dream of getting good reviews, satisfying readers and selling books.
Here are their answers:
1-Why did you decide to “indie-publish”?
Joe Bruno -
Because I was tired of getting the run-around from agents, who supposedly had contacts in publishing companies. I had about 6-7 agents from the mid 80's and they were so good, I can't even remember their names. Now I'm my own boss. I write what I want, and I publish everything on Kindle Select. To paraphrase a line from The Treasure of Sierra Madre- "I don't need no stinkin' agants; don't need no stinkin' publishing companies."
For years my goal was to be published by a publishing house. And for years, I'd been sending manuscript after manuscript to publishing house after publishing house, editor after editor, agent after agent. And for years, I'd received nothing but rejections -- except once. For a year between 2012 - 2013, I had a wonderful agent. She worked hard to sell one of my manuscripts. But no one was buying. Anne Rice even suggested that I indie-publish my work. Once my contract with my agent expired, I had come to understand more fully that the method for publishing books is radically changing, that traditional publishing houses are trying to adapt, and that this is happening not simply because Amazon is successfully helping unpublished authors to finally publish a good-looking book. It's also happening because online social media such as Facebook and applications like FaceTime make interpersonal communication easier. The current phenomenon of successful indie publications is a product of a multifaceted global effort to interconnect one another. Today we indie authors have more of a chance to express ourselves, and to share our self-expression.
Greg Wilkey -
The decision to indie publish was not an easy one to make. Like most writers, I dream of landing that big deal with a traditional New York publisher. After I had written the first book in my young adult series, I began the submission and querying process. I am still doing that now, by the way. After countless rejections from agents and publishers, I began to research independent publishing. Much to my surprise, I found that the market and the attitude had warmed up to indie authors. So, as I continued to work on the second book in my series, I started planning to launch my books all on my own. It is still one of the best decisions I've ever made.
2. What would you say are the biggest benefits from indie publishing? –
Joe Bruno -
See answer to number one. I have complete control of what I write, and the pricing. I average 4 books a year; not including boxed sets. The only positive feedback I need or want is from the readers. My average review with 16 books on Amazon Select is over 4 stars.
The biggest benefit of indie publishing is my own creative control. I've heard numerous authors complain about their publishing house's decisions on formatting their novel. Mostly the complaints revolve around the book's jacket cover. With indie publishing, I can create my own book to my own specifications. Also, I am my own senior editor: I might have hired copy editors checking for errors and dropped words. But with indie publishing, I don't have to argue my point about certain phrases or passages. If I like what I've written, and if I believe its purpose supports the agenda of the narrative, then I have to trust that the reader will like it too.
Greg Wilkey –
The benefits are great if you have the courage to indie publish. Let me explain. Many people are still critical of indie writers and that's fine, but if you take the time to prepare and produce a good book, then I have found that people are receptive and supportive. Also, as an indie author, I control everything about my work. The cover art (designed by the magnificent and talented Ran Valerhon), the format, the release dates, the price, and the marketing are up to me. That's nice. But let me warn anybody out there not to make the same error I did. I did not hire a professional editor the first time I released my books and it was painful to see the negative reviews. I have since corrected that mistake and hired an editor, Todd Barselow. He has now proofed and edited all four books in my series. I should have done that from the beginning. Lesson learned!
3. What is your indie goal?
Joe Bruno –
I want a #1 book in "Organized Crime," and my next book which is due out in a week or two is going to make it to #1 in "Organized Crime. The title is "The Biggest Rat - Whitey Bulger's Decades of Deceit." It's the only Bulger book out, and there are plenty, which includes Bulger's trial and the verdict. Plus, I'll price it right at $2.99 to $3.99, and I'll even have free days from KDP Select (When I had Mobsters- Volume 1 free for 5 days, I had over 5,000 downloads). I hope to blast all the other Bulger books out of the water.
If not, then I just work on my next book and Fuhgeddaboudit!!
In Orlando, Woolf wrote: “For once the disease of reading has laid upon the system it weakens so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing.” I think this sums my goal for writing. I read. And I love expressing my SELF with the written word as much as I enjoy reading how others do the same. My goal is to tell a good story: My goal is to cocoon myself in my words and be transformed by them. Maybe some readers will be transformed by them also.
Greg Wilkey –
My goal as an indie author is to get my work out there and gain readers. I want to attract positive reviews from readers and I want to convince New York that I am a good writer with great stories to tell. I am off to a great start. I have gotten the attention of Anne Rice and close to 7,000 readers. That's nothing to laugh at.
I hope you enjoyed the above interview with our "indie-authors". If you have, please hit the subscribe button above to receive all my work as soon as it's published.
Coming up, my review of "Skinner" by Charlie Huston and "The Blood Vivicanti" by Becket.
As always, for all things Anne Rice, please visit the "Anne Rice Examiner" page and don't forget her sequel to "The Wolf Gift", "The Wolves of Midwinter" out October 15th, 2013 (the same day as "The Heavens Rise" is released by Christopher Rice, her son).
See you next time!