When one does an online search of “indie author” or “self-published author,” he or she will get a slew of opinions. Some are favorable, and some are not as favorable. It seems the most common unfavorable views come from authors who are already published through a traditional service.
I can understand from the perspective of an author surviving all the hoops that come with traditional publishing that some would see self-publishing as the easier route to take. There are a plethora of articles out there that tell the stories of why authors, even successful ones with publishing contracts, decide to go independent, so it is not necessary for me to reiterate that being an independent author, singer, or video game developer is just as viable of an option. You can search for yourself and find plenty of compelling stories.
What I want to share is why I have chosen this route. It is not because I fear rejection from publishers, and it is not due to laziness. No, I understand that publishers try to make an educated decision on what might sell, and an author’s work just may not fit into that. Sure, there are low-quality, self-published works out there.
At the same time, though, I have read several poorly written books that were published traditionally. I have asked myself several times how certain books made it past the editors. I chose this route out of years of research into the pros and cons of each type of publishing. I decided that I did not need to sell millions of copies to be happy, and that I did not want to sign over the rights to all my work to someone else. I understood from the beginning that I would have to bear all the weight of marketing my book, and I have grown to understand that this is a very difficult route. However, at the end of the day, no one is forced to buy any book, and no matter what means of publication an author takes, there is no guarantee the book will sell.
For me, the struggle is worth it. I am learning as I go to find what works and what doesn’t work. I have spent over half my life dreaming of the day my writings would be available for the world to read. I feel like, at least right now, handing over the rights to someone else would be a betrayal of my work. I do not aim to get rich, but instead I hope to bring into the world the type of fantasy that I would like to read.