Why I Decided to Self-Publish, Publish Independently


* This post is part of a blog carnival, hosted by Scathach Publishing. The first carnival is about why participating authors chose to go indie. Click on the Scathach link above to check out the other posts in the carnival!

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Why I Decided to Publish Independently :: Jess C Scott

1. I got tired of waiting for an agent/editor/industry professional(s) to help me get my work somewhere, so I decided to help myself instead.

2. Indie publishing is speedier and more efficient, than traditional publishing [which continues to adhere to a “completely obsolete” business model, as stated by Doug Grad Literary Agency (on their website, as of this date)].

Publishing Death
“Death of Publishing” / image from MediaBistro.com

3. One has full business and creative control, with indie publishing.

4. One works to one’s own deadlines, and accepts full responsibility for both successes and failures, with indie publishing.

5. Indie publishing is a low-cost venture (I do all the work myself. I’ve been a college student on a tight budget for the past few years. “Necessity is the mother of all invention”—Plato).

6. I can write what I want, how I want, under the same name, to whatever word count is best for the story. Traditional publishing seems to place word count and genre-categorizing as higher priorities over the actual (quality of the) content.

7. Royalties/etc are a lot less complicated with independent publishing, than traditional publishing + I have less potentially mismanaged rights to worry over + I don’t have to deal with people who are resistant to the changes and opportunities that the “new form/way/style” of publishing offers (3 points, but all related).

8. One can do in 3 months (including writing/completing the first draft of a book), what 20 people in the traditional publishing scene take 2 years to do (excluding writing/completing the first draft of a book). What traditional publishing offers are prestige (which is more valuable to those within the writing scene/publishing industry, than general readers) and distribution to major bookstores (that are feeling the crunch from big boys like Apple, Google, and Amazon.com).

9. I can price my products reasonably, keep the profits, and never have an edition go “out-of-print.”

10. Indie publishing is, right now, realistically the saner and safer choice than traditional publishing (assuming you’re a newbie who has not yet been allowed access to the traditional publishing sphere). My 35-page business plan has more details.

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* Indie publishing is all about pro-activeness. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to see to Project #1 (should be ready by September 2010), and Project #2 (aiming for December 2010), right now!

* I’ve just embarked on adding almost 100 (small, but important) “enhancements” to TOSoL (book #1 in project #2). Please pray for my sanity.


12 thoughts on “Why I Decided to Self-Publish, Publish Independently

    • ROFL! I think the people who enjoy indie publishing the most will not / aren’t able to put up with the slowness and inefficiency of the traditional publishing scene. Whatever gets in the way of (industrious, ambitious) people’s productivity unnecessarily = a mortal sin.

      I’ll check out the other participating blogs over the weekend ^^


  1. All very well put, and let’s not pass up the subtler points of your image: unless I miss my guess, that’s an early Luddite out to kill that there new-fangled, demon-possessed printin’ press afore it sucks the very heart and soul right outta litercher!

    Hm. Well, I guess time will tell on that issue, eh?

    (Hi, Zoe! Thank you!)


  2. Excellent points, Jess.

    I stand up, do a back-flip, and give you a standing ovation for #3. When someone other than you is able to dictate how your final work is presented, whether it is the cover image, your writing voice, or any aspect, it stops being art and becomes fast food.

    And fast food sucks. Except for tacos. Tacos rule.


  3. Lots of people assume you have to pay a fortune to self publish but it isn’t true, not with ebooks and P.O.D. around anyway.

    I also love that I can price reasonably, over-pricing narrows down the target audience considerably.

    I think if I was traditionally published and my book went out of print, my heart would break. It would seem like an awful waste to me. I might be too attached to my work though. :)


  4. The efficiency factors that you mention in #2 and #8 are really key ones to me – although I suppose someone who is not good at all the tasks of publishing would not have such an easy time of it.

    Good list!


  5. Yay for #7. The simplicity and the less likelihood of anyone messing with the numbers along the chain is really important. Delays in payments to authors and some of it going missing happens a lot.

    Nice itemization!


  6. @ zoewinters: just checked out Levi’s and yours! i still read blog posts more than i remember to comment on them, sigh…

    @ Levi: yeah, i wonder if there’s a way to check out just who that early Luddite might be :P! it’d be interesting to see if there’s any information on the image. i did a lot of research with certain sections of my dragon website @ http://www.dragonsinn.net…..always very fun to discover the origins/facts about something.

    @ Chris: thanks :) being a poor student has helped me with budgeting though, terribly prosaic as that sounds…

    @ M.T.: YES. it’s not been about the art for quite a long time–as is the case with the music scene. there are quite a few similarities between the music industry and traditional publishing, hmm? once upon a time, there was actually some level of artistic value / nowadays it’s mostly driven by greed. by the way i like hot pockets (those microwavable turnovers!).

    @ Lindea: i’ll gladly be the first to welcome you on board! before i went indie, i viewed indie as something “rebellious.” once i made the decision to go indie, it was kinda obvious that it was/is a more logical route to getting something started, assuming you are not being given access into the very closed system of the traditional publishing sphere. the industry is locked in their old way of doing things, where the advantages were to their favour, and not to the authors or customers (who are in actual fact the two most essential components of the business of books). the industry has become so huge/bloated that it is practically impossible for it to move fast and adapt to changes the way a company like Amazon does.

    @ Claire: i think my sister had that view too (i don’t push my views onto people who have a set notion/perception on what something is). the publishing industry should take some advice from IKEA’s founder, who said that “wastage is a mortal sin.” POD is so efficient, and no one has to deal with tons of copies that were printed and couldn’t sell fast enough in the short timespan they were given to “fly off the shelves.”

    @ Camille: *nods* i absolutely can’t stand it when i am prevented from achieving my goals (particularly when it’s due to other people’s inefficiency, and not my own limitations). life is too short to be dependent/reliant on others. self-publishing is very DIY — i just dived in and continue to learn along the way!

    @ J.A.: LOL @ “some of it going missing.” i enjoy simplicity too (and making lists of lists — must be a Virgo thing).


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