Monday, February 18, 2013

Susan Kaye Quinn and Laura Pauling Debunk Indie Publishing Myths

*Before we begin I want you all to be sure to come back next week when the amazing Aubrey Poole, Editor from Sourcebooks will join us to provide a more in depth look at why having a publisher is a good idea. But now for our Indie experts!

A post from Susan Kaye Quinn on Debunking Some Indie Publishing Myths, combined with Lisa Gail Green’s posts on Indie vs. Traditional kicked off a discussion between Susan Kaye Quinn and Laura Pauling (both indie authors with the Indelibles author group) on indie publishing myths, publishing middle grade, and the new hybrid author. For a peek behind the curtain at the real experience of indie authors today, check it out…

There are too many self-pub books; mine will be lost in the pile!
Laura Pauling
Laura: Sue’s post is a great list of myths (about indie publishing). (There are) so many more too when it comes to why authors self publish and quality issues. But Lisa has  definitely covered some major ones. :) We're never doomed unless we quit trying. 

Susan: I’ve been countering some myths on the blogosphere lately, so I collected them into a post. Interestingly, I’ve heard less lately about the “all SP (self-published) books are trash” meme – maybe I’m just hanging out with the cool kids now.

Laura: I see the knocks on quality about SP from posts in the traditional world; usually people who don't know much about it or who really don't know how to find the well written books. I just walk away. :)

You have to publish fast to be a successful indie author.

And I agree, the whole rush, rush thing is slightly exaggerated.  A career will not be made or broken based on that factor. Does rushing books to market help? If they’re quality. And it helps get the author to a point in his/her career where they could be full time, but it's not the determining factor.

Susan Kaye Quinn
Susan: Getting quality books out quickly helps for the same reason that being 10 years down the road in my career would help – I’d have more to sell. But I don’t see a good way to short-cut that process – you have to actually write the books and earn the fans along the way.

I try to insulate myself from the indie naysayers of the world – it doesn’t help to listen to people who are dissing what I’m doing. I’ll let them play in their sandbox and I’ll play in mine.

Laura: I know what you mean. I'm attending and volunteering at NESCBWI (New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) this spring. I have to seriously debate whether it's worth my $$ in the future. Ansha Kotyk is presenting and will be able to sell her self-published book in the bookstore and sign, so I'm curious to see how that goes for her. :) 

Have you decided what to do with your middle grade? Query? I'm torn about the future. I'll continue to write and self publish some companion novels to promote my middle grade that's out. And I have another idea for a series, that I'll self publish. I’ll see what happens. 
Susan: Everything I see still tells me that middle grade indie books struggle. Writing and publishing really are two separate functions in my brain – I write what I love, then figure out the best way to publish. Speaking of: has your small press (Pugalicious) gotten good reviews/distribution for your MG novel about the Mayans? Has that opened any doors you wouldn’t have had with self-pub?

Laura: Honestly, publishing with the small press has certain advantages. Pugalicious Press did fantastic job with editing and cover design. I had a one-hour phone conversation with a marketing specialist. I think it also opens doors for certain contests, if a writer cares about that. I could submit for the bigger awards.

But, over all, in all honestly, it doesn't help as far as distribution. But, let's say, a book took off, then it would be much easier to get into bookstores b/c bookstores would see your book as traditionally published. So it has the potential to open doors that I wouldn't have self-publishing.

I think querying a middle grade would be much easier knowing I was writing and self-publishing other works. That my career didn't hinge on that one manuscript. Middle grade is really hard, even though everyone clamors for it. But, there is a certain freedom knowing that if they're not interested I can go with a small press or self publish. It frees me to write for me, not for them or what I think they're looking for. I don't think I realized how much that influenced me until I started self publishing. 

Susan: This is SO true – and it’s really hard to explain it to people until they’ve self-pubbed and seen it for themselves. There’s an unrestrained variety in self-pub. You’re not locked into what publishers see as having high sales potential.

Laura: I think some authors truly feel that self-publishing is giving up the dream. I guess if you want to be published traditionally, than it could be. But underlying what we've been told for years, is the dream of reaching readers, of possibly making an income. That's never been more possible than it is today. 

Susan: I think it’s definitely ok to pursue the dream (of traditional publishing). In fact, I think it’s imperative that you do so, if that’s your dream, until it plays out, whatever the outcome.

Laura: I do understand writers not wanting to take on all the aspects of self-publishing, so ultimately it's their choice. But I see traditional publishing just as stressful and time consuming as far as the business aspect, worrying about selling through and the huge pressure (along with excitement) that comes with release.

I'm so interested to see what the next couple of years bring, but I see over and over again that 2013 is the new normal. The gold rush is over. Now it's about self-published authors playing it smart, seeing the long tail, producing good work, improving craft, and sticking to a schedule. And most importantly, not giving up. If something isn't selling well - try something else.

What do you think of the hybrid author these days? Advantages/disadvantages?

Susan:  I’m not sure I know what a hybrid author is any more. I thought I knew – it was an author who was trad-pubbed then went indie or who was an indie success and got plucked from the bestseller list and offered a contract from the big six.

These days, I think less and less in terms of publication route and more in terms of distribution, intellectual property, and opportunities. I just finished putting out a live-action trailer that has helped me connect with film agents who might be interested in shopping film rights. I’m working on an audio version of Open Minds where I’ll be revenue sharing with the narrator. And I’m exploring possibly translations to other language. Meanwhile, indie superstars like Hugh Howey and Colleen Hoover are negotiating print-only deals with publishers.

All these things used to be only available to trad-pub authors, but now I see this as the true future for hybrid publishing – managing your intellectual property through all the most effective channels (trad-pub for print, indie for e-rights, film agents or indie producers for the film world, indie collaborations for things like graphic novels, audio books, and translations into foreign languages).

Indie publishing is a whole new business model, and authors are still feeling out all the pathways to success.

It’s a brave new world. Still.

Laura: Definitely!


  1. Thanks for posting our emails! Of course, it's been edited down. Can't wait for the post next week!

  2. So interesting - the worlds of publishing are blending and the lines are really blurring.

  3. Loved hearing Susan and Laura's advice. They are always so generous in sharing what they've learned. I think they are right that it's harder to self-publish a middle grade book. It's great to contemplate that there are actually more options out there for us all.

    Looking forward to the Sourcebook editor interview. I've been working with them a lot lately and have been impressed with their books. And they seem like a smaller press that gets their books to bookstores.

  4. So, so interesting. Hearing about the self-pub world from those who have done it helps clear the air from what you hear from traditional-pub. Thanks so much.

  5. Wow, ladies! Great information. Thanks for sharing it. I'll spread the word for you.

  6. Lisa, I love this post! Susan and Laura, thanks so much for this awesome info. I've bookmarked this page :)

  7. Loving this post! So informative and inspiring. It's always great to see thoughts on indie publishing from those who've actually experienced it!

  8. I love that the lines of publishing are blending. So many great stories to be read on both sides!

  9. Great information. Thanks for sharing it!

  10. Two of my favorite writer-friends being their usual brilliant selves! I LOVE it! They bring up such great questions and answers here. I agree about staying away from the negative people and focusing on the goal. I think Sue summed it up best here:

    "I see this as the true future for hybrid publishing – managing your intellectual property through all the most effective channels (trad-pub for print, indie for e-rights, film agents or indie producers for the film world, indie collaborations for things like graphic novels, audio books, and translations into foreign languages)."

    Pure brilliance~

  11. I loved this honest discussion. Thanks, ladies!

  12. I know Susan and Laura have put their heart and soul into launching quality stories into the world so I revere their insights. Thanks for bringing them together in one place, Lisa.

  13. Fantastic post! Thanks so much for sharing these experiences so honestly!

  14. When sеlecting pure gгeen соffeе bean extract 800 mg can help you to κeеp fat anԁ 150 calories.

    Here is my web sitе ::

  15. You have to waste less time to explore your necessary matter on net, because nowadays the searching strategies of search engines
    are nice. That’s why I fount this article at this time.

    Have a look at my web page ...

  16. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case.

    my web page;

  17. I always like commenting after the trolls. It makes me seem somehow more human.