Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Traditional vs. Indie Publishing--What's Your Call?

by Jennifer Lamont Leo

The debate between traditional vs. indie book publishing continues to blaze. Over at Jane Friedman's blog, I found this very interesting post by Claire Cook (author of Must Love Dogs and other contemporary women's fiction) titled Why I Left My Mighty Agency and New York Publishers (for now).

After encountering some problems with her publisher, Cook noticed that, "Independent self-publishing had taken off and grown into a viable alternative. Authors in situations similar to mine were becoming hybrid authors—both traditionally and self-published. And in this new world, there was little of the cloak and dagger stuff I’d experienced in traditional publishing where everything from money to marketing was kept secret. Indie authors were generously sharing everything they learned to help others on the same path. Via message boards and blogs and conferences, a great support system was bubbling up." She ended up purchasing back the rights to many of her books and going the self-publishing route.

So far I've been holding out to find a traditional publisher for my historical fiction. But the longer it takes to get a nibble, and the less specific the feedback as to how I could improve the manuscript (not "these are the story's weaknesses"--i.e., things that as the author I could potentially fix--but indecipherable "even though we loved it, we're going to pass" messages), the more I'm tempted to take the plunge and explore indie publishing in greater depth.

How about you? As a writer, are you a diehard traditionalist, or do you see value in self-publishing (and why)? As a reader, does it make any difference to you whether a book has been traditionally or independently published? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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