Indie or traditional, the choice is yours?

The ebook and self-publishing has inevitably impacted on sales within the closed snobbish world of traditional publishing and not before time. 
Inevitably it has drawn an awful lot of criticism recently. A minute percentage of it is justified, but most is not. 
I read recently where ebook sales far outweigh conventional paper books. Former readers of traditionally published books are now embracing ebooks, particularly in the United States. Here in the United Kingdom prejudice still rules. As a consequence ebook sales lag behind.
From the point of view of a writer who has enthusiastically embraced the new way over the almost claustrophobic rigidity of so-called conventional publishing, I for one am happy to be considered an Indie.
The rules which most writers within the traditional publishing scene have to agree to when signing that contract, in effect means they are nothing more than poorly paid slaves, dependent on the whim of their publisher.
If a writer is in the stable of one of the big six, the idea of an advance measured in the thousands of pounds or dollars may sound good at first, but the royalties they get is pitiful compared to what an Indie earns.
Yes, I agree that a lot of self-published books should never have been published. But equally, a large number maintain a high standard. The same can be said for traditionally published books. 
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James is a prime example of utterly abhorrent trash published traditionally. You know that the big six publishing houses are desperate when such a monumentally bad book becomes a multimillion best seller. Am I jealous? No not at all.
If all writers are honest, none of us, whether Indie or establishment, can truly say we are happy with the final version of our work, be it hardback, paperback or ebook. On reading the product of all our hard work, each one of us can see areas within the book where we could/should have made a correction, or either added or deleted a section.Releasing our work as an ebook, means we can make those corrections at no cost while the big six cannot.
So, for all of you in the traditionally published world out there, before you heap anymore bile and invective upon indies, why not clean up your own back yard first?
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4 thoughts on “Indie or traditional, the choice is yours?

  1. I would agree with you on most of your points, Jack. I suspect the big publishers are going to become more and more like McDonalds, producing a limited number of choices that will appeal to broad numbers of readers. Meanwhile, the self publishers and small presses will become the gourmet restaurants, catering to the refined tastes of niche markets. Of course this might all transform into something completely different, and do so very rapidly, as technology and markets change. Interesting times. But the big plus is that writers no longer have to wait for a publisher to agree to take them on, or alter their writing style to suit the lowest common denominator. Amazing times.

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  2. I think the vitriol and debate about 'Trad vs Indie' publishing will mellow, if not disappear completely in the not too distant future. I also believe that self publishing as a 'tag' will fade because both Indie and traditional publishers are now using almost exactly the same tools to publish. 'Rapid Publishing' would be a better term for both. Your example Jack, '50 Shades of probably the worst book I have ever started to read' is a very good demonstration of this crossing of boundaries. The book was originally self published but was snapped up by a mainstream publisher, who of course wanted to make a quick buck. So it was rushed out again on Kindle, Apple, Sony etc, and also rushed as quickly into print. Perhaps even POD. So where was the one year of editorial scrutiny that is really the only true defining line between Indie and traditional publishing? In all honesty, readers are starting to understand that there is little difference. Crap books live on both sides of the publishing front line as do wonderful reads. The literary snobs will live one of course, but they will soon have to be content with reading their old battered copies of 'The Grapes of Wrath', while the rest of the world enjoys what this new publishing revolution has given them.

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  3. 'Here in the United Kingdom prejudice still rules. As a consequence ebook sales lag behind.' – Really? Considering the relative populations of the US/UK (314 million: 63 million) I think ebook sales in the UK are doing rather better than in the US. Person for person the UK reads more than the US does.

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  4. Not true John. If you compare sales figures for any ebook, most will be sold in the US. My novel The Seventh Age is a prime example. So far this month the US sales far exceed the UK. The previous commentator Derek Haines, can back this up with examples if you don't believe me. 🙂

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