YA Indie Carnival- Why Indie?


Welcome to the YA Indie Carnival! This week’s topic is Why Indie?

For me, indie was truly my only path to becoming a writer. It’s not that I couldn’t have found my way to traditional publication. It really isn’t a stretch to say that writing might be the only thing I’m truly talented at. There are a lot of writers who have a better grasp of the technical aspects of grammar than I do, but I’m willing to bet that in terms of crafting interesting characters, plots, and worlds, I rank right up there.

When I was a little girl my mom’s mother used to sit with me while my parents worked. She’d tell me stories about my mom and her sister when they were little girls or even stories about myself when *I* was little (I was maybe 3 or 4 at the time, mind you, but I loved hearing about the silly things I used to do when I was a baby now that I could enjoy those childish follies at a ripe old age). She really helped me foster a sense of the dramatic. She’d read me nursery rhymes so that I could act out the different parts. I credit her with my early fascination with books and words. She really had a way of making stories seem like a magical event.

Fast forward to adulthood… I can’t even begin to tell you how many times different people have told me that I should be an author. I can tell a good story, I can’t argue with that. I have great ideas that come fast and furious without any effort on my part. Putting words on paper isn’t even particularly hard for me. If I sit down and start typing, chances are that I’m going to write something workable.

All awesome, right? It is, I will never complain about my lot in life. However, one quality that escapes me is motivation. I had given up on my dream of being a professional writer years ago. Freelance writing has never appealed to me (except maybe being a travel writer… what an AMAZING job that would be), but fiction writing required so much work that went beyond the parts of writing that I enjoy.

I looked at it from the perspective that if I work, I want to be paid. In the traditional model there’s no guarantee that your work will ever even be picked up, let alone be put into the market to sink or swim. And it’s no measure of your ability to write since there are factors you can’t possibly control like the editor signing a book similar to yours last week.

When I heard about indie publishing it was like a light coming on in a dark room. Suddenly I was pulling the dust covers off a lot of old dreams that I thought I’d never see come true. Knowing that I could write a story and be guaranteed that it would be published was all the incentive I needed to write my first novel.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I would love the process of publishing. I love looking at the numbers (mine and everyone else who’s kind enough to share that kind of information). I like to compare them and try to spot selling trends and when they include things like how much they’ve sold per title, I try to analyze why one sells more than others.

I won’t bore you with a drawn out rave about the joys of indie publishing, but suffice it to say that I can talk shop with people for hours and walk away just as enthused about the topic as when we started.

It’s hard for me to understand why some writers prefer banging their heads against traditional publishing. The royalties are better with indie, you have all the control, you can track your own numbers in real time and tell if your promotion efforts are effective or not. You’re really the captain of your own ship. I’m not a type A personality by any stretch, but this is my income we’re talking about. I want to access to as much sales information as I can get my hands on. You just can’t do that with traditional publishing.

As always, I invite anyone with questions or comments to share with me here or via email wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com. I’m relatively new to the scene (I Wish… was published in mid May), but I will happily share what I’ve learned so far with anyone. I firmly believe in building a strong, thriving indie community through the exchange of information and advice.

Speaking of a strong indie community, please check out the other stops in this carnival. You are sure to find some awesome new friends.



Filed under YA Indie Carnival

12 responses to “YA Indie Carnival- Why Indie?

  1. I love the creative control of independently publishing my own work. I can’t imagine a traditional publisher letting me choose, muck less create, the cover art for my books.

    Speaking of cover art, you nailed it with “I Wish.”

  2. I adore your grandmother story… how lucky you were! I had a Dad like that… and while he was too afraid to try it himself, he encouraged me until the day he died. Bravo, Wren! And Go INDIE!!1

  3. It is so cool to be able to see results immediately. I love this aspect.

  4. How awesome that you were inspired to become a storyteller by your grandmother! 🙂 I think it’s really cool that you advocate going Indie so passionately and how much you’re willing to share to help other Indie authors out. It’s really awesome. You rock.

  5. I’m loving the process now of choosing my own cover art, organizing the story exactly the way I want it to be. Let the readers decide what they want.

  6. I loved reading about your reasons for going Indie. It is an avenue that has it perks. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I’m glad going Indie made you “dust off your dreams” way to rock it Wren!

  8. I have a friend who sold her novel to a small digital publisher. Even though the story is good, she hasn’t had many sales and because she sold it, she can’t do anything with it (or ever get it in print via POD). That doesn’t seem right to me.

    Indie publishing gives the author freedoms that they should have, and provides access to the stats on how sales are going (or not going- LOL). I think indie will continue to grow and change as the stigma fades away and more people choose it over traditional venues. Can’t wait to see how the whole thing shakes out!

  9. Hi Wren, I love your confidence and no nonsense approach to writing! I look forward to reading your work. I had a chance to read your short story yesterday (sent from Courtney) and I really enjoyed the realistic feel of your characters. I said to myself, I know people like this…. Well, not the supernatural part, but you know what I mean.

  10. Wren,

    Somehow, a while back, I found your blog, and I have to tell you, you’ve inspired me to publish my own novel the same way. A friend is currently designing my cover (love yours, by the way!) and I’m working towards the same goal. The novel is finished, so sometime in the very near future, I’ll be “putting it out there.”

    I’ve included your blog on my blog’s “links,” so hopefully some folks from my blog have found their way to you.

    Even though we don’t know each other personally, thanks for serving as a source of inspiration for me and the indie route. So glad we’ve connected through cyberspace.


  11. I have not tried traditional or indie yet, thought I suspect I will be trying the “bang my head against the wall” method soon enough. I think it really does depend on what you want out of the process. I am willing to try the traditional rout first. See where that gets me.

    I love seeing success and happiness with indie/self publishing. I do like having the option open to me.

  12. Wren, I love your blog – and this post. As someone immersed in independent books and authors, I also know many authors who are nearly frozen by the traditional publishing route. The differences between them are vast.
    Self-publishing is a journey that arrives somewhere new at every turn. It never slows. Authors who only query and wait – they are almost unable to begin any new work. The doubts consume them.
    I applaud your blog, and your post, because they are the best evidence why self-publishing works. You are confident. I’m sure your novel exudes that.

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