The indie road means exactly what it sounds like it means. Choosing to be independent –whether in the publishing industry, the music industry, or the business world – means that you are making the choice to do it on your own. You are not buying into a franchise. You are not relying on the muscle and connections of a big business. You are alone.
Being alone means something different from what you think it means. Choosing the indie road means that you are alone in getting it all done, but it does not mean that you are the only one getting it all done. An independent restaurant owner will hire a chef or marketing expert. An independent band may hire a publicist. An indie writer can find (or hire) editors, graphic designers and others. Being alone means that you – ALONE- are responsible for the product that you produce.
The indie journey can be tough. The industry (and the world) pushes back against those that want to follow a different path.
The indie journey can be highly rewarding. Doing you thing, your way, with the success that you have defined, will leave you smiling with an inner joy that is tough to quench.
Are you ready for the indie road?
Benefits of the Indie Road
- Control. I read John Locke’s book recently. His words struck me because he said he had been offered contracts with major publishers but chose to stay independent. He knew that changing would require an adjustment in what and how he wrote. He wanted to maintain the control of his words. Another author I know, S.P.Dorning, recently moved from a small publisher to independently publishing. He wanted the freedom to change he cover designs or reformat without having to negotiate with the publisher. Control can be a major factor for choosing the independent road.
- Conviction. I met a writer that had a message she wanted to get out. The words might not be for everyone, but they were for someone. Choosing the independent path allowed her to share the words without having to push them into an industry box.
- Time. The traditional path can be a long one – although once you are on it the path can be easier. Publishing a book, through traditional avenues, may take two or three years (and that is after your manuscript has been accepted). One writer I know chose the indie route for a particular book because she wanted it to get on the market fast. It was about dealing with the market collapse and was a timely subject. Even if a traditional publisher had accepted the book, she risked missing the mark when it came to reaching her readers.
- Cash. You do the work so you earn the pay. The proceeds from the sales of your products will go into your accounts. You may have to pay others a small percentage (and be sure you pay the government theirs, because they will be sure and find out if you forget) but in the end you will get more than you would ever get traveling down the traditional road.
Bumps in the Indie Road
- Cost. Moving down your path will cost you something. It may cost you money to hire the editors and designers you need to create a quality product. It may cost you time to invest in creating your own covers and marketing plan. It will cost you.
- Standards. Industry standards say . . . they say a lot. People listen to the standards. That means that the indie product has to be even better than what the standards dictate because people expect them to be less. Choosing the indie path may mean an uphill journey when it comes to winning over the general public.
- Time. You will never be able to make more time. That means that what you have is all that you have. How will you use it? The indie writer has to find the magic balance for writing, editing, and marketing – sometimes while holding on to a “normal” job until the writing takes off down the desire path.
The indie path requires a person to wear more hats than what the industry requires (or sometimes allows). The indie path is for the entrepreneur – the one that has a rebel spirit, a desire to walk to a different drummer, or just has a different vision from what THEY have dictated. The indie path may be for you, but be prepared for what it requires.