In traditional publishing, you give a percentage of your earnings to your agent and to your publisher. You also run the risk of your series being pulled before you complete it. And being forced to write another book to satisfy the terms of your contract, if you’ve been paid for three books in a trilogy and it’s pulled before you do.
You may have to change the book to make it more marketable. You may need to follow prompts to write your next book, at their behest. There’s not a lot of control and there’s not as much money.
Then again, a percentage of nothing is still nothing. If you self-publish and your work doesn’t sell, you’ve done a lot of work without a paycheck. With traditional publishing, you at least get an advance. If it doesn’t sell, you still get paid.
But it’s a small amount, when you consider all the work you’ve put in. And all the work you’ll still need to put into it, what with marketing and advertising. Because the publisher won’t be doing everything, of course. They pay for the cover design, the copyright fee, a portion of marketing, the formatting, the distribution, etc.
And that is why traditional authors don’t receive a higher royalty rate than an indie author. It’s to offset the cost of doing all this extra work.
As a woman who deeply values her independence and desires control in all things she’s passionate about, I’ve been doing some thinking. Some rethinking, actually. Yes, having an agent and a publisher behind me would make my writing career somewhat less stressful. It would even give me some measure of validation, that someone—a group of professionals—believe in my work.
But the trade-off is that I will be beholden to this group of professionals. And isn’t that exactly what I don’t want? I’ve never been a fan of handing over the reigns to someone else in exchange for security. In fact, I’m at my least happy when I make this compromise.
But if I decide, after this third rejection, to self-publish REM World…
Well, it will take quite a bit of work, quite a bit of money. I will need to pour myself and my resources into its success if it is to make it in the world. The kicker is, I already planned to throw myself into feeding this beast when the time came, even with an agent. I’m imagining book readings/signings, traveling all over my own state, calling libraries to request they order my book, and so much more.
I planned to do all of this anyway, when the time came. But I planned to do it with my book advance.
Which I obviously will not have, should I choose to publish independently.
So, Travelers & Dreamers, I’m nearing a decision now. I’ve come to the fork in the road and I’m thinking… Yes. I want control. I want independence. I want to work hard, no matter which path I choose on this journey.
And so I’ll save up my money, courtesy of my real estate career, and I will make REM World happen. This will take months. I know it will take a long time to prepare for it and I will be putting the time in. It’s already been professionally edited by the lovely Jodi Jensen, so that’s out of the way. I’ll need cover art next and someone to format it properly. I’ll need promo materials and a marketing team. I know this will take time, money, resources, and sheer dint of will. But I believe it’s worth it.
And I will need all of your support more than ever. Help me grow this website. Help me build a foundation as I prepare my funds and collect indie professionals from all corners of the internet. Help me give you REM World and introduce you to these characters. I want you to glimpse into their lives of pain and struggle and mystery and love.
They’re ready to meet you. They just need your attention first.