The Road to Indie: Taking the Reigns

I have been thinking about it for a bit now, to the point where I actually consider myself to be part of the community, but have been entertaining other options. My friends: I have decided to go indie.

Specifically, the debate has been around whether or not to take my novel, Archangel, the route of indie self-publishing, or to forage down the path of a traditional publishing. Either build the fan base and do all of the leg work myself, or query publishers and agents in the hopes of getting help along the way. Today I am making it official, I am pursuing self-publishing for my novel.

It was not an easy choice. I grew up with dreams of having my book, a glorious hardcover novel, sitting next to the ranks of those that I have and continue to idolize. I dreamt of walking into Chapters or even independent book stores and seeing my name there. And I think for the longest time that meant that there was only one path I could follow.

On top of that, in frank honesty, self-publishing always felt like it was giving up. Like I was admitting to myself that I was not good enough to accomplish those dreams. I refused to give up on something so valuable to me.

But so many things have happened since then!

For a start, it has been a while now since I first picked up an indie author's work. It is easy to log on to Amazon and download eBook after eBook, not realizing what you are doing until you have a list half a page long of new stories to read. I quickly came to realize that these books were not second-rate at all! In fact, many of them were better than books I had read from traditional publishing houses. But even still, I had my reservations.

I think what sealed the deal for me was how far self-publishing had come. When I first looked into it, self-publishing was essentially contracting a vanity press to print your work. eBooks were not breaching the mainstream yet, so channels were limited. But now channels have been introduced that have revolutionized the industry. Now the role of an author has changed. If you pursue self-publishing, you are, by all accounts, in for one heck of a ride. You are in charge of everything, from writing the novel itself to setting a price. From getting the perfect cover art to being a one-person marketing machine. Sales, branding, community management, public relations, editor, agent - these all fall under the title of indie author now.

For sure there are options to help you along the way. By no means am I going to make my own cover art. My elementary school art teachers would cringe if I mentioned anything of the sort. And there are options out there to help you along the way: website designers, marketing suites, SEO optimization. The thing is, you have to fund your venture yourself.

Something about this excites me, though. Not the funding part, even though globalization and the digital era has made services like this more affordable than ever. But being in control, being the one who holds the reigns to my own destiny is exciting! Being able to dabble in areas, to develop talents and be the one who sows the seeds to my own success is not only ideal for someone like me, it is perfect! Even since I have started this blog and begun networking through various avenues, building a website and tweaking it, continually trying new things and examining analytics, a newfound passion has arisen.

So indie publishing it is! No doubt this will be the first in many blogs about this topic. I am willing to put good money on it that there are many like me, and many more to come, who hardly know where to start. Consider this the story of a story, where I can document my journey along the way.Maybe I will be kind enough to release a few chapters here and there as progress is made.

But this is more than a declaration. It is a call to action! I said the reigns are in my hands now. I don't have the excuse of waiting around for an agent to reply, or for a publisher to have a window for accepting manuscripts. What lies ahead is entirely up to me.

So what's first?