Should I Go With an Indie E-book Publisher?
I sent you a query but I haven’t heard back from you yet. I’ve been offered a contract by [unnamed independent publisher], but since I’m a brand-new author, it’s only for e-books. They do paperbacks, but not for new authors.
I know e-books are the coming thing, but I like real books, hardback books, especially for my first book. I have a super, well written book, and while I would like to make lots of money, it is equally important that I have a real book (a hardback). What should I do?
Want to Make the Right Decision
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Dear Right Decision,
I sure wish I could tell you what to do. Please keep in mind that since I’m not your agent, and I don’t know your situation, I can’t give you any actual advice. But I can share a few thoughts, in no particular order:
- Of course I understand that you’d like to make lots of money — don’t we all? But that is perhaps not the best motivator for going into publishing. So let’s set that one aside.
- Many people are motivated, like you, by the dream of holding their book in their hands. A printed book. And in your case, you want a hardcover. Fair enough. If that’s your goal, I see no need to give it up. Kick the indie publisher to the curb.
- You didn’t mention how long you’ve been pursuing publishing, but if this is your first book and you’ve just begun the process, I think you’ll need to stay the course for a LOT longer, if your dream of a hardcover book is truly meaningful for you.
- Don’t forget, there are small indie publishers who publish print books. If it doesn’t matter to you how you get that hardcover book, even if it means self- or subsidy-publishing, then you could explore those options.
- However, if the “acceptance” by a traditional publisher is important to you, then I say keep trying. You have many stones to overturn yet. Make sure your book is really good (you’ll need other opinions besides yours). Learn how to write an amazing query; study agents and publishers and generate lists of the ones who seem like they’d be a fit. Doggedly pursue the dream. And meanwhile, write a second book. And a third.
- If you decide it’s too hard to find a print publisher and you want to go forward with e-books, you’ll need to ask a LOT of questions. Are they going to do anything to sell and market your book besides listing it with online retailers? Do YOU have a way to market and sell your book? If the answer to either of these questions is no, think twice. It won’t be very satisfying to have it “published” yet you have no printed book to hold in your hands, nor is anyone out there reading it.
- Keep in mind there are a lot of small indie e-publishers popping up all over the place. It’s difficult to know if they’re reputable or just out to take your money. And hardly any of them have any means of driving buyers to your book.
Readers: Have you had to adjust your dream along the way?