Monday, 5 December 2016

The Perks of Being An #IndieAuthor

~ Freedom and Control ~

These are probably the two main benefits of going indie.

You have the freedom to write what you want to write and what you believe in. Do it your way.

You can choose how you want to structure your book and don't have to answer or explain to anyone else if it's a little unorthodox.

And if it doesn't go well, then you're not left with the bitterness and resentment you'd feel towards agents, editors and publishers if they were the ones you listened to when you'd wanted something else entirely. You make your own choices and your own mistakes, and hopefully learn from them.

If you appoint editors and proofreaders, they can suggest changes and edits, but you can kindly say, "thanks, I see your point, but I'd like to do it this way" if you don't want to alter something that they think you should.

Now, you can say the same thing to the editor at the publisher you're signed to, but for a new author, I imagine it would be a little daunting. There they are, with all their experience and track-records, and here you are, without a published title under your belt, trying to argue your point when you're being advised otherwise by professionals that have done this for years.

I know I'd feel uncomfortable, intimidated even, trying to tell my publisher that I don't want to go with what they're suggesting. And the thing is, they have a lot to lose if a book doesn't sell well, so they won't ask you to make changes that they don't truly believe will make the book more successful. Knowing that, you're more likely to give in, whereas if you were self-publishing, you'd probably stick to your guns.

For example, my debut novel Chasing Pavements starts with a Preface, and the first sentence is: "It was awfully quiet in his head." I wanted this to be the first sentence of my first book. I really like it. I can't see anything wrong with it (so clearly, I don't always follow that strange philosophy that if you can't see a single thing wrong with a sentence/paragraph that you've written, you ought to get rid of it).

But the first person to read Chasing Pavements - one of my oldest friends - absolutely loathed this sentence. She said she just didn't get it, and fought hard to get me to delete it and start with something else. I can't remember what her argument was - and I'm sure it must have been a valid one - but she did her best to convince me that it was the wrong sentence to start the book with.

If I was signed to an agent or publisher, they wouldn't have had to urge me half as much as my friend did to get that sentence removed. I probably would have agreed as soon as they voiced their distaste of it the second time (the time after I'd said, quite meekly, that I quite like that sentence). This would be because of what I've explained above - I'd think they know best because of their experience and wealth of knowledge, and because the success or failure of the book would affect them big time.

Needless to say, I didn't heed my friend's advice and kept the first sentence the way I wanted it. And it's only because I have the freedom to do so and have control over what feedback I take on board and what I don't.

Chasing Pavements is free to download this month, at the below retailers:

Amazon US|   Amazon UK|   iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

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