Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why Many Independent Authors Fail

I am reminded of joke my wife and I talk about all of the time. She will read a really bad story and then tell me I should read it too. We then say it is like opening up that carton of milk in the fridge that
is now cottage cheese, and then handing it to someone to have them take a sip to see if it is really bad.

One reason I have heard a lot of authors head to independent publishing is not because the traditional route does not pay well and they can make more money on their own (yes some authors do this). It is however, because those traditional editors and agents simply don't want to represent their work. They are tired of the rejections and simply feel that the traditional professionals don't really have a true sense of what is going on.

Even after I try to argue that these people, with their huge marketing departments and meta-data probably do know what is going on, these authors will still argue that they don't. This is like politics. People will believe what they want to, regardless of the facts sitting in front of them.

But, this is the angle I want to take with this topic today. It actually stemmed from a comment that an author made to me after I passed on a project that was submitted.

The author noted that It was probably time to head to the independent market. This person has been submitting projects for several years now. The book I read was a third book in a series. The first two were in the middle of huge revisions after being rejected by numerous editors and agents, but this third book was "amazing."

I passed on it.

For me, it just was not something that truly connected with me (see one of my prior posts about the subjectivity of the business).

But here are the things we need to really look at. This is a premise that the first two books relied on and numerous editors  and agents have said no to. Note, I do not know the full reasons, but when you see a trend, you have to start to wonder. The thing is, the premise is not working, so the odds are, book 3 is probably going to do the same thing.

And here comes the independent publishing angle.

The author replied to me saying that even though this particular genre was not a current hot seller in the market, the author was going to take all of the books and try the independent publishing approach...


Let's consider this.

Numerous people have said the writing is not going to work. These are people who have the marketing departments in their corners saying what things work and don't work. We have a track record of several other books that have had the same success. We have an author who knows the genre is not a hot seller...

And now the author plans on going this alone.

I am just going to leave it right there and let the words speak....

Look, I am not going to say the independent publishing approach does not work. I am not going to say that someone cannot make a career outside of traditional publishing. What I will say is if you see that something is not selling and the market is clearly screaming at you that this is not the right approach, why do you think you can do this on your own and somehow have better success?

Please, stop and think before you dive in. I want to see people succeed and I don't want you to see failure, both professionally and financially.

1 comment:

  1. First of all I hope the author succeeds. In a perfect world those books will be seen on the bestsellers list. That in itself would be a story to write.

    A writer should never tell an agent that their books is excellent. of course it'excellent to the writer just like our kids are excellent to us.

    If everyone is rejecting the book the writer needs to put on the breaks and see if something is wrong.

    This is where an editor comes in. This is where questions are asked. This is where the author exhausts every effort before they make the decisions to self publish.