This article, by Brenna Lyons, originally appeared on EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection) on 5/21/09.
The Pros And Cons Of Royalty-Paying Indie Press
Why e-books? What are the pros and cons of royalty paying indie press, when compared with NY conglomerates? Basically, these pros apply to most indies, e-publishers included. Since POD print books and e-publishing have much in common, I’ll just use my standard answer for indie press, as a whole.
Pros for authors-
e-Books are a growth market. While NY conglomerates are just now experiencing the first, meteoric rise in sales indie did ten years ago (tripling or more of their sales every year in e-book formats), indie has settled into the second stable growth cycle, double-digit rises cumulatively every year.
Faster response time (on average) than NY conglomerates. Anyone who has spent 6-18 months or more waiting for answers from a NY agent will recognize why this is important, especially for prolific authors.
Usually allow electronic submission, which saves on paper, ink and postage.
Indie presses don’t pigeon-hole authors into a couple of core genres or subgenres. Many authors who move from NY to indie or branch out to include both, from a start in NY, state this as a main reason for the move.
Indie press allows reprints, if there seems to still be an audience and viable life left in the project. For anyone released from a NY house, this allows the books to keep selling in indie.
Indie press allows authors to write untried markets that have a crossover with what the publishers already do. In fact, some NY presses, like Kensington, have openly admitted that they use indie as their test market for new subgenres. Dark romance, erotic romance and paranormal romance all got their big push from indie then were adopted by NY conglomerates.
Indie presses allow authors to write outside the box, outside the accepted “genre lines” in the NY conglomerates. At the same time, indies aren’t afraid to state precisely what new markets are, without trying to redefine existing markets with expectations. NY is working on that one.
Indie presses allow authors to write in markets that are not giving the return NY demands of their markets and NY has therefore discontinued…but that still have an audience. For years, NY has said that Regency is dead. It’s not dead. It’s alive and living large at publishers like Awe-Struck, recently acquired by Mundania Press, LLC.
Indie press encourages representative art and blurbs, not copycats, that authors have input on. If you’ve ever been given a cover that doesn’t match your book at all, you’ll understand this. If you’ve ever read a copycat blurb that sounds like ten other books released that month, you will too.
Indie press gives individual attention to authors and encourages mentoring in learning to market, etc.
Indie contracts are written in plain English and easy to understand. EPIC offers a sample contract and contract red flags to watch for in indie contracts.
I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an indie/e that said “agented submissions only,” though there are indies that are “by invitation only.”