INDIE PUBLISHED AND DARNED PROUD OF IT! #RRBC @RRBC_Org @Tweets4RWISA @RRBC_RWISA

It looks like we made it out of 2020 alive – all in one piece – none of our teeth are missing – and we still have all our hair (albeit whiter than it was in 2019).  I will bet my bottom dollar that we all welcomed 2021 with open arms.  

RRBC has landed in its 8th year of formation and we are so PROUD to say that!  Talk about staying power!  Well, clearly it lives here!

As we usher in a new year, we’d like to take this opportunity to first welcome Indie Authors from around the globe to join us.  There is no other community quite like ours, and our loyal and dedicated membership will attest to that.

Today marks the first of many posts that we will be sharing for you throughout the year, to learn from, and take the information and implement into your writing life, if you so choose.  We hope that every post proves to be beneficial to you in some way.

I received an email notification the other day from a forum that I subscribed to years ago, where someone inquired as to why Indie publishing was so frowned upon by the traditionally published industry.  I didn’t respond (as I sometimes do) because I wanted to tackle this topic here within RRBC.  One young lady did respond and I have posted her reply to that question below…

“You’re right that self-publishing is still looked down on by a lot of people. There are many reasons why—not all of them justified or accurate I might add. Common reasons I’ve noticed include:

  • The perception that self-published authors couldn’t get a traditional book contract (rather than they didn’t try), and therefore that their book isn’t good enough to be published.
  • The low barrier to entry for self-publishing, meaning that people can publish practically anything, and not all of it is of high quality.
  • The fact that many self-publishing authors don’t hire editors, proofreaders, or designers (because they can’t afford to or didn’t realise they needed to), leading to issues with content, language, formatting, and typos.
  • The reputation of traditional publishers—in having a very long and respected history—while self-publishing is still relatively new to the party and so is seen as the poor man’s publishing.
  • The marketing clout of traditional publishers in promoting their books, vs. self-publishing authors who struggle to market their book, and therefore it goes unnoticed by readers, awards panels, and so on.
  • The notion that you’ve made it as an author when you can physically see your book on a shelf in a bookshop, vs. when you can only download an e-pub version.

That said, as a nonfiction book editor, I’ve noticed that self-publishing seems to be looked down far less in the world of nonfiction than fiction. There’s plenty of respected self-published nonfiction books. I also think the tide is turning a little, and self-publishing will become accepted as the norm.

The sad thing is that I’ve worked with many nonfiction authors who have self-published brilliant books, but they still fail to get many readers due to lack of knowledge about marketing—while some traditionally published nonfiction books catch on with the public despite being pretty average.”

The comments to her response and also to the original poster’s question, were varied and wide-ranging.  Some were credible… while others were just plain ludicrous.

I’d like to make something crystal clear.  The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB began as, and will end as, an Indie Author organization.  When we began back in 2013, traditionally published authors came knocking on our door and we decided to accept their requests to join, because I knew then, just as I know now, that they have to work just as hard (if not harder) than we do to get their work promoted, noticed, acknowledged, and read.

I quite often complain about the fact that Amazon gave everyone the right to publish anything – and that is where the problem lies – ANY AND EVERYTHING is being published.  It doesn’t matter if the book is riddled with typos or errors of every imaginable (and clearly noticeable) kind, Amazon says, “Hey, we can make money off of you, so, of course you can become an Author here,” which ignites the trickling of litter being repeatedly dumped on our literary horizon.  I take issue with this.

It is for that very reason that the traditionally published world looks down upon Indie publishing and doesn’t take it seriously.  It’s not because they are better, because nothing about being traditionally published speaks to that, and nothing could be farther from the truth.

Some of us are Indie because we choose to be.  I personally have never sought out a publisher or dreamed of having a publishing contract, and although I can’t speak to what I might dream in the future, I know for a fact that I’ll never go seeking a publishing contract.  That is by choice, not by chance.  Do I think I’m good enough to be traditionally published?  Well, since I don’t put the same amount of credibility or stock behind being traditionally published as others might,  I’ll just say this – I am good enough to be tagged as, and do proudly wear the label of being a Professional Author.  That’s a “real” author, Indie or traditionally published,  with writing talent.  A Professional Author cares about their contributions to the reading public as well as their reputation as a writer.  

Now, here’s my two-cents on the question that was posed on that forum (and we all know just how much I love sharing my two-cents):

Contrary to what some might believe, being traditionally published does not promise you a more thorough edit.  There are thousands of traditionally published books that sit on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and the virtual shelves of Amazon, that are proof of that.  I also know this first-hand because many of those books are in my own home library (that I’ve purchased from the shelves of Barnes and Noble, poorly edited and all.)

Being traditionally published won’t make your book covers any better than the ones I design on my own, and being traditionally published doesn’t mean that your books will sell better than any of mine.  Lastly, that coveted marker – being traditionally published is not the only way to get your books onto the shelves of brick and mortar bookstores.  In the past, two of my books have graced the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and of course, I am and have always been, an extremely PROUD INDIE AUTHOR.  (By the way, I didn’t go looking to get my books into Barnes and Noble.  Someone on the inside felt that’s where they belonged.)

There is one thing that stands out that separates my coveted Indie Author status from that of the traditionally published – I have TOTAL AND COMPLETE CONTROL over my entire body of work.  I make every decision just the way I want, down to where I’d like my commas to go, or how I’d like my paragraphs to be spaced, what I want my titles to be, and especially how I want my covers to look.  I also establish the costs of my books and  can sell them anywhere, at anytime, and however I please.  I’m not locked in under someone else’s thumb for something that I put in hard (mind) labor to create. 

So there!  Those are the reasons I am an Indie Author and I suspect my reasons are the same for many of you awesome writers.

RRBC is Indie-land!

We don’t promote traditional publishing here.  Now, listen carefully – I did not say that we don’t promote traditionally published authors, because we do.  We don’t promote traditional publishing.  If it is your desire to be traditionally published, we wish you well on that journey and stand behind your desires 100%, but what we will not allow, is for Indie publishing to be trashed, dismissed or diminished in any manner.  It is our way and it is our way by choice.  The traditionally published world has enough backing out there, so here in RRBC is where you can find that Indie backing and support that all authors, Indie and traditional, seem to rest and rely upon.  We have traditionally published authors who have been on our roster since the very beginning and they will share with you, they receive the same amazing treatment and support as our Indie published authors.

When I started this post, I invited Indie Authors from around the world to join us.  Now, since I have made our position clear, I invite more of those authors who are traditionally published to join us.

We are well aware that your struggle is equally as real as ours.

Until next time…

32 thoughts on “INDIE PUBLISHED AND DARNED PROUD OF IT! #RRBC @RRBC_Org @Tweets4RWISA @RRBC_RWISA”

    1. Thanks, Mark! Someone once asked me why wasn’t I traditionally published. I immediately let them know that I took offense to that question. “I’m not traditionally published because I’m a proud INDIE AUTHOR and I can’t think of anything better than writing and creating my work just the way that I WANT TO.” I doubt that they’ll ever ask someone that question again.

      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nonnie I agree with you that Amazon let’s anything and everything grace their book shelves. And they offer no real help to authors. I found that to be most frustrating to me. And they referred me to an editing service that didn’t come up to my standards.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the subject.

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  2. When I considered the idea of writing a book, it was one I thought of almost apologetically. I knew authors and they toured and signed hundreds of copies of books and many made their living from their work. I knew I was not one of them. I wrote my first book anyway and the pleasure its creation brought me (and I dare say others) outweighed the whispered phrase ‘vanity press’.
    I went on to write two more books which ran me though the emotional wringer of never believing they were good enough. Having sent “the first ten (five, three) pages of the manuscript” to multiple agents and received the same form email that my work was not right for that agent, underscored that feeling it wasn’t good enough even though I know their intern gave no more than a nano-second to review.
    I have had several very good careers and a wonderful life and I love to write. I have learned that this is enough and my platform is unapologetically Indie. A wider audience will not decrease my flaws, only increase the number who express the opinion my story is not quite good enough. After all, one learns that the higher the monkey climbs, the more he shows his ass.
    It doesn’t matter. Write because you love to write and have something to say, a story to share. If others have opinions of any sort, at least you have captured their attention. The point is, I did it, grew a thicker skin and got comfortable in it. Came to terms with why I was writing to begin with. And cannot imagine another taking complete control of my work at this point in my life.

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      1. Reflecting on this just a bit more, I do want to clarify that I do understand the role of critical feedback to be essential My experience is that working with those who work for you to create your book, will be guided by clear direction, a clear scope, and and a sense of collegiality. By the time of my third book, I had developed a network of lay and professional writers/editors that knew I was interested in improving my storytelling. They were thorough and I do believe enjoyed their job more when asked to partner with me to improve the end result. So to clarify my comments above, a broader audience may make for a more tantalizing target, but it can also be the impetus for improvement after one finishes licking their wounds.

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  3. Well said, Nonnie. I keep hearing that traditionally published authors are expected to do most of the marketing for their books. If that’s true, I don’t see how being traditionally published would help me because I absolutely hate marketing. Like you, I’d rather retain full control over my work.

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  4. I happen to know traditionally published authors often turn to self-publishing. Why? Because as you mentioned, they want total control of the content. Also, they own the rights to the book and can make changes without going through a ton of bureaucracy.

    Happy New Year, Nonnie! Thanks for your avid support of indie authors – here and out there.

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    1. Marian, we hear over and over again, “Oh, I can’t change the covers of my book,” or “I can’t change the price of my book (when readers are balking at the cost of it)” all because someone else has control over YOUR BOOK. It doesn’t add up for me, therefore, there is absolutely nothing that could be dangled before me that would make me frown on my INDIE position. I’m in total charge here.

      Thanks for chiming in, Marian!

      Like

  5. I’m pretty new to this, but my impression is that being an indie author is becoming more mainstream and more accepted. The beauty of writing is there is a place for everyone at the table.

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    1. Thanks for chiming in, Pete! Yes, Indie is becoming mainstream. More and more authors are waking up to the reality of “is what I’m getting out of this really worth losing my control over what’s MINE?”

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  6. Well said, Nonnie! I am an Indie author by choice! I didn’t start off as one, but after two books published by those other publishing agents where you pay for your book to be published, I wisened up. If they can publish my book with my money why not I do it myself? Nothing gives me more satisfaction than doing it myself, especially when you know and follow the rules. First and foremost, use the professionals to get your book at par with those published by the orthodox publishing companies. Once you do that, you have nothing to fear.

    About marketing my books, this is where being a member of RRBC has done the magic for me. Before RRBC, I was alone, knew no one, and didn’t know where or how to start. All these were solved by my becoming a member of RRBC. I wish many other Indie authors would discover this great book club.

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    1. Joy, RRBC has been a God-send for so many of us. When we give thanks, as Authors, RRBC should certainly be in that number!

      Thanks for dropping by sharing your enthusiasm for this marvelous place we all call HOME!

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    2. Joy, I love this! You are so right about paying a publisher to publish your books. And as you say, “follow the rules” and it pays off. I feel the same way about RRBC. I felt very alone until I found this family!

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  7. A professional author is a professional author if she/he is professional; it matters not whether they are indie or traditional. RRBC has always been about excellent writing. This post was great, Nonnie! 🙂

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    1. Hi, Yvette! So glad you enjoyed the post! Here’s what I wish for most… a world filled with more authors who are sporting the “professional” label. In my opinion, professionalism is a state of mind that encompasses the quality of caring about the work that you put out.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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  8. Having now sat in both seats (Indie and Traditionally published) I can say that every author fights the same battles. My sister, who is published by a large New York publishing house, fights the same battle. The truth is that a publisher does little if anything at all toward marketing an author’s work. Before I was offered a contract, it was required of me to complete a marketing plan and submit it to them. Nonnie, a big part of that marketing plan was RRBC and RWISA. Being a part of an international organization that supports authors is a huge advantage over an author struggling to do it all alone. I am SO glad you clarified that traditionally published authors are still welcome here. I would be crushed if having a contract excluded me from this amazing community. Of course, I know you would never do that and I love your invitation to authors from around the world to join us and find out out what having real support feels like. Thank you for every opportunity you provide to authors!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Jan! No, we would never exclude an author based on their manner of publishing. So glad you’ve gotten to experience what you’ve been seeking on the traditional end. Sell many books!

      Like

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