Who do you write for? Is there a difference between the indie and the traditional author?

antique-book-pileThis will probably get me into trouble, but I’ve been thinking and observing and I believe independent authors write differently from the author who is or is seeking traditional publishing.

A quick definition of the difference between the two routes.

Traditional publishing means the author writes the best book they can and they submit queries to agents/publishers and they get their offer (yeah I know it’s not that easy). And then they work with the editor to make the book more marketable.

The indie author writes the best book they can and then publishes it.

Marketing is a whole different ballgame. I’m offering a guest post if you want to talk about that.

The traditional route

I have friends who are focused on the traditional route of publishing and I watch them as they craft and revise and gather feedback and revise (okay that’s what we all do).  Because they are trying to get through that gatekeeper (the agent/publisher) they are writing for that audience. Their book starts out as a product to sell to an intermediary. If they can craft the best first page, the best first chapter, the best… well, whatever. They will win the prize of a deal, the rewriting begins. The book now has to become something that will sell to the reader.

From the first idea to the book appearing for sale can be five years. From acceptance by a publisher to available for sale can be 2 years.

The independent route

Indies still write the best book they can and I’m telling you that’s hard work no matter how you approach publishing. Then they publish the book  – some pay for help, some just put it up. They have written the book for their reader and now they want to get it in the hands of that fan.

From the first idea to the book appearing for sale is highly variable. I can take a book from idea to publish in as little as 4 months but I usually have a book scheduled for publishing every 6 months.

How would you choose which one works best for you?

I’m not sure it’s as simple as making a choice. One thing about most indie authors I know is their need for control. We like to do our own thing and we like to experiment and we like to break rules. We can do that because we don’t have a weight of tradition behind us.

The people I know who are interested in the traditional path believe there is value in the professional advice they get. They like the advances (who wouldn’t). And they see the history of success traditional publishing can bring to the table.

My conclusion

I am not saying either route is the best – it all depends on the author. If my interpretation is correct, the time it takes to rewrite your book to a new audience and then fit into a marketing schedule means you as the reader have to wait longer for your next read.

So, is this going to get me into trouble? Is there going to be controversy? Are people going to disagree? I hope so. I think healthy debate is good. It opens people’s minds to new ideas. It can change the world.