Let’s be honest. We all prefer traditional publishing. You know, a real, hard copy of our books available in bookstores nationwide, worldwide even. Just the idea of holding my book in my hands, tangible, validated by some credentialed person who does not know me, gives me that funny, excited feeling in my stomach, butterflies. However, I keep getting the same little message presented to me by the universe.
If I can’t get an agent, at least e-publish and put it out there.
A coworker friend is married to a writer who just finished a non-fiction book. They live in a local university community and are friends with people that are both published and publishers. Instead of querying agents, her husband plans to simply e-publish and hope he can build an audience before approaching or being approached by the necessary people. His strategy is not unusual. I read about authors almost daily that e-published, found readers, then published traditionally.
Then, of course, there are all the agent blogs that criticize e-publishing. A few try to suggest it’s a viable option for some, but the undertone is always condescending, like it is still some kind of vanity press. My friend pointed out that of course they feel this way, e-publishing diminishes the value of an agent. Numbers speak to publishers for themselves. This recent Forbes article sums up the indie publishing debate quite nicely.
Still, I would be thrilled to have an agent fighting for my book. I’m planning to query the little list of agents I assembled in the spring, thirty some-odd people that represent successful works similar to mine. But, when I reach the end of that list, rejection rite of passage likely complete, I will be left with the choice to e-publish and put it out there, so perhaps, some people who like it will find it in the sea of other novice, e-published authors.
If you have e-published, how did you decide to price your work? What platform(s) did you choose? With what success? I’m inclined to charge just a dollar or give it away for free, because really, my goal is not so much to make money, but rather to begin the foundation for a lifelong career. Other books will follow. I know this is a debated topic, so I am curious to hear your thoughts.