Going Indie, my story

Deciding on whether to go the self-publishing indie route or not is the biggest question every writer has to ask themselves in today’s publishing world.  Over the course of 2010, I hemmed and hawed, wondering if I could ever regain my credibility (who am I kidding–did I have any to begin with?) if I decided to experiment with self-publishing.  After all, I had landed a novel deal with an up and coming small press, I had completed a second novel I thought was better than the first, and to top it all off, I received an acceptance for a short story collection from a publisher in the U.K. Things were looking up.

So now it’s 6 months later and I’ve self-published both novels in digital editions. What happened?

Well, a lot. First, the small press pulled the plug on what I had thought was a sale. Long story short, he thought better of putting his money behind a book by a relative unknown. The risks were too great, the economy too shitty. I totally understand. If I were in his position, I’d limit my risks in this changing publishing world as much as possible.

So you might be wondering why I didn’t just send the novel back out to the next publisher on my list. Well, the whole ordeal that I had just gone through had taken three years. That’s three years in which I wasn’t connecting with readers. I decided I didn’t want to go through that again. 

Just shy of Christmas 2010, I uploaded my first novel, The Nightmare Within, to Kindle and Smashwords. Since then, I’ve made pizza and beer money–which is fine for right now. My goal is to reach readers, and I have. I started getting emails from readers a couple of weeks after my release date. They compared my writer’s voice to those of some of my literary heroes. The comparisons happened enough that, ballsy bastard that I can be, I wrote one of those heroes to ask if he could write a blurb for my second novel, which I was readying for release. I was expecting him to either turn me down or to be greeted by the cold interminable silence that comes with being ignored. Neither happened. Instead, he put me in contact with his publisher and recommended that he take a look at my novel. I was floored by his generosity. This guy doesn’t know me. I’m a fanboy who’s written a few novels. He’s published twenty.

At any rate, the publisher liked my writing, but ultimately passed. His lineup is full and the novel is too long for his line. But he did say he wanted me to submit both a shorter novel and a novella.

Woohoo!  That’s what I’m talking about!

So am I going the indie route (that sanitized version of the once-maligned term “self-published”) or not?

Well, yes, I’m going indie, but damn I’d be stupid not to keep my toes dipping in the traditional publishing pool. I’ve had writer buddies and mentors advise me to keep trying the traditional route until I break through. I’ve had others tell me just the opposite. My conclusion? I’m striking my own path. Because there is no one path to follow, just mine. As I finish up another novel, I have no idea which route it will take to publication, just that it will be published. And once that novel is sent out into the world, I will start the novella that the traditional publisher wants to see.

You know, this new publishing world doesn’t have to be a scary place.  I’m starting to think it’s kinda fun.


About glenkrisch

Writer, freelance editor, runner, family man, wanna-be farmer, neo-luddite
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10 Responses to Going Indie, my story

  1. Lee Thompson says:

    Very cool, Glen! I’m going to snag The Nightmare Within from Kindle and I’ll write a review on Goodreads after I take care of the next few I have lined up. I think it’s important to follow your own path, too. I like having a traditional publisher that can put my work out in signed/limited hardcovers, paperbacks, and digitally, but I also have work that I’m going to release only digitally by myself just because it’s not my normal darker stuff. Mucho success, brother!

  2. I’m going to grab The Nightmare Within as well. I’ve had my Kindle for less than a month and I’m reading it more, right now, than I am reading traditional. Maybe because it’s a new toy, maybe it’s the convience. But I agree, stay dipping your toes into the pool. It’s a new world out there.

    I have fiction not in my regular Supernatural Suspense genre that I would like to try digitally.

    I’ve been tinkering with this for months. Even deleted my old websites and now building a new up to date, easy to navigate site. Just in case those two or three people wanna get a hold of me!

    Good luck!

    • glenkrisch says:

      It’s a brave new world in publishing. If you have some fiction that falls outside your typical genre, it no longer has to languish on your hard drive. I’d say go digital with your Supernatural Suspense stories. If you have a handful of short stories, you can bundle them into a mini collection.

  3. Jeffrey Sorensen says:

    I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience with the indie/self-publish route. There has been discussion at Cafe Doom about the Pros and Cons of the whole thing, and we have ended up being right on the fence with whether we should or shouldn’t consider it. Again, hearing from other writers who have tackled the issue is definitely food for thought. On a personal note, I’m glad that you are experimenting with the indie side and still pushing through the traditional–sounds like you’ve found the best of both worlds–congrats…

    • glenkrisch says:

      Very cool! I’ll have to check out Cafe Doom. I like that there’s a good discussion going on, both pro and con. I think too many people jump into digital self-publishing without putting much thought into it. I stressed about the decision myself for several weeks before I pulled the trigger. I have a lot of stories in me. I might end up being a long term traditionally published author. Who knows?

  4. “Because there is no one path to follow, just mine.”

    That line really resonated for me because I’ve had this same thought time and time again. We spend all this time reading How To books and attending workshops and plying mentors with beer at the bar and what we get are a bunch of contradictory answers. What to do? Try everything. Don’t be afraid of “failures” when experimenting. Find what works for you. Find your own path. Also, I think your lament about losing time connecting with readers makes loads of sense today. I just heard an NPR piece this evening about how vital social networking media is to indie musicians – the instant feedback, the viral promotional buzz – and I continue to think that indie writers have much to learn from indie musicians. Good luck!

  5. Bob Bois says:

    Hi Glen,
    I came to this post via Absolute Write.
    I totally agree with you on keeping both options open. Right now, I’m writing short fiction and a lot of flash fiction (which I post on my WP blog Sitting in Darkness).
    You’re a little further down the publishing path than I am but it’s still great to hear of writers not being caught up in publishing tradition nor mindlessly jumping on the self-publish route. I post my flash fiction because I’m trying to build a small readership. I am going to start sending out my short fiction for publication on the traditional path. Anyway, thanks for the post. Much to think about. Good luck!

    • glenkrisch says:

      Hi Bob,
      Thanks for the note. It’s nice to know that people can see what I’m trying to do in a positive light. I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I’m trying to wrap up a couple of projects that I’ll be sending to publishers that requested them. So, yes, I am remaining open to traditional publishing. And sometime soon, I’ll be releasing another book myself, a collection of dark tales that work well together. I like that old saying about not keeping all your eggs in one basket–it seems like sound advice in our uncertain publishing world.

  6. Pingback: 2011: Setting the Foundation | glenkrisch

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