Advice, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Opinion, Promotion, Publish, Questions, Reflections, Writing

Could I live without a hardcover?

From some of my recent posts, you may have gotten the idea I’d already made the decision to end my quest for traditional publication. Decision making is always a long, complicated process for me. I think I have a few extra convolutions in my brain. Or something.

I read pros and cons. I listen to the experienced. I think and think and think and find myself not much closer to taking a stand than I was at the beginning. I hesitate in a thousand ways. I like to think of this as thorough research. More likely it’s just fear of the unknown.

In my last indie vs. traditional post, I concluded that a book published by one of the big NY publishers carries no guarantee it’s a better book, in any sense, than an indie-pubbed book. Yet the stigma of “lesser quality” still attaches itself to the idea of self-publishing. I confess, I’ve been guilty of that prejudice.

I have another book prejudice. I love hardcovers. If cost were never a factor, they would always be my first choice. Alas. Because I’m on a budget, I’m okay with trade paperbacks (soft-cover.) But I loathe mass-market paperbacks. If I indie-pub, my book won’t be in hardcover. End of dream.

So, let me consider other advantages to having my book traditionally published.

More publicity: Or not. Nowadays no matter how a book is published, for the majority of debut authors most of the task of publicizing it will fall on their shoulders. Still, that Big Publisher’s name does carry some weight. This is almost a draw.

Wider distribution: Yes, for a while. According to the latest I heard, the typical debut author will have a book on the shelves of brick and mortar bookstores for about 2-4 months. After that, it’s reduced to special order status. As an Indie author, I would not get the thrill of walking in B&N and seeing my book on the shelf, though if I choose the right options and self-pub as POD, my book could also be a special order by those stores. Safer to assume it would sell only online. I’d say the scale tips toward traditional—except I wonder, where do YOU buy most of your books?

More profit: True—if I received a $5,000 advance. Is that likely? I don’t know. I know there are Indie authors who make buckets of money every month, but they are not debut authors, and most of them are non-fiction authors. However, my self-pubbed novel might sell quite well. Or not.  Even if I received only a $2,000 advance from a traditional publisher, I might come out ahead profit wise. Toss up.

Those are all logical considerations. However, as a writer—as a person—I’m not always logical. To be honest, “always” is probably stretching it. I feel more than I think. So, what are my feelings? *sigh* I’m still working on that.

Your turn: I know some of you have already made the decision to become Indie authors. What was your deciding factor?


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54 thoughts on “Could I live without a hardcover?”

  1. I’m with a small press, and I love it. Neither of my books came out hardcover. They printed two of their titles in hardcover and now all will be perfect paperback, as the market won’t support debut novelists in bookstores with much of anything let alone higher priced.

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  2. Hi Linda, you know I’ve never thought about self=publishing before. But, I have seen iUniverse promoted a lot through chapters. I’m guessing it’s strictly Canadian, but it’s a neat idea. They sell your books in store and staff reads them to promote them, etc.
    You know, so many books never go hardcover first, most are trade paperback or mm. I think most of us will have to do without a hardcover 😦

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    1. Jennifer, if you ever consider self-publishing, I suggest you check out iUniverse more closely before deciding on them. I’ve read a lot of negatives about the company. I have no personal experience. I just know I’ve heard warnings against them for years.

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      1. that’s too bad. I do know they charge way more than I think I would ever want to pay for having a novel in print. But, it’s something I’ll store in the back for mind for future decisions.

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  3. Hi, Linda. I found your site through a comment you made on DarkSculpture’s site.

    I haven’t researched the self-publishing route yet, but I did like your well-thought pros/cons list. It will certainly be something to consider in the future.

    Good luck with your decision 🙂

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  4. Hi Linda,
    I know of someone that actually went down the self publication root and didn’t do too well ( but that was about 5 years ago).
    I’m in two minds. Personally i wouldn’t want anyone contaminating my work because of their prejudice. Changing a title of a book or even character name(s).
    I haven’t made up my mind what route I’ll take but in today’s world social networking is key. Things just aren’t the same as they were say 5 to 10 years ago. I say we should definitely all stick together.
    Re Gypsy ;o)

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    1. Welcome, Gypsy, and thank you for reading and commenting. I think there’s a great community of writers out there for support. I agree it’s important we stick together, especially now that the industry is in the throes of change.

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