Cowboys and Indies!

Let’s face it, I’ll understand perfectly if no one responds to this blog. After all, does anyone even remember me?

Anyway, I am going to use this platform (not any author’s favourite word) to think. So if it sounds like gibberish (maybe you understand that long-forgotten language from your long-forgotten youth), please move on to the next post in your reader.

To IP or not to IP, that is the question.

Some of you know exactly what I’m going on about. Independent Publishing. Do I go the indie route (holding my breath) or do I trad pub? Let’s face it, indies are the new cowboys. Here’s why:cowboys

  • It’s cool to be one if you’re good at it, otherwise you’re just a smelly, sweaty wannabe that no one wants to sit next to on the bus.
  • You have to be good with a lasso. That means that you gotta be able to rope in that steer before it gets away. For those of you who are still asleep, we’re talking marketing.
  • Your butt gets real sore. Not only because you’re sitting on it all day. Ask any writer if rejections hurt. I’m sure the bucking bull doesn’t come even close to the pub-kick-in-your-pants.
  • Cowboys and indies love baked beans. It makes a cheap protein meal, and you can stock up on it when you manage to scrounge some money together. Also, it’s good for the digestion and you can start a fire with the gas emissions in winter. And the tin is perfect for begging with: just pull off the label and voila.

This post was supposed to be helping me. But I keep having visions of Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger. And he wasn’t even the cowboy (can’t remember who the handsome saddle soul was). If I manage to veer back in the direction of the topic, I may be able to reach some sort of conclusion.

Cowboys know they are cowboys, and they are pretty much in touch with their saddle sores. And you can ask any cowboy if he would like to be anything but a cowboy, chances are he will say “Hell, no,” and tip his hat and ride off into the sunset.

I suspect I may be a cowboy at heart. I fear the 8% royalties on offer from the trads. I fear them printing, distributing and forgetting about me. I fear the time it takes to go from signing to distribution. However, I do not fear making my own covers, or sitting with boxes of books in my basement. I do not fear the ridicule or the lack of street cred. I no longer need affirmation from the trad pub industry or those think that it’s the best thing since baked beans – cos it’s not. I am a writer and I write. Thousands of words a week. And I love writing, every minute in the saddle is freedom to roam the wide, open plains, where I can just point my horse (Tonto?) in the direction I want to go.

This western is all about control. Sorry, but I want to drive them cows. They’re mine, after all.

What do you think? Is Indie for you? Or do you value the street cred that goes with traditional publishing.

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38 thoughts on “Cowboys and Indies!

  1. Indie for me – never even tried the traditional way. I value 70% of my royalties in my pocket, and having the final say about everything in and on my book. There are lots of Indies with major cred though, and some traditionally published with not so much – I think it’s just down to hard work.

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      • Guilty as charged – I’m totally a control freak. I was asked to submit a story to the Save the Rhino anthology, and having to change even three tiny things in it on the suggestion of their editor nearly killed me. You could go hybrid if you wanted to – you can submit a self-published book to agents anytime you like. 🙂

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      • Having a good laugh into my coffee.
        I believe that true writers are a little off latitude, so you are definitely here (in the zone I am typing from).
        Just a question: Is your muse a woman?? Seriously? Or a guy with feathers? Oops. Specs on. LEATHERS. Okay. Sounds better.
        Or is your muse now a woman in leathers who smokes cigars??:-)
        I try to control them, but they tend to nag. It just goes on and on. I wrote an earlier post about Jacques, an insistent character who begged to be in the book. Eventually I obeyed, and his intrusion led to two more books in the pipeline. Even though he is a very minor character (about 5 pages in total).

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      • I’m going to have to find your post on Jacques. It’s funny how some arb character will intrude, and you eventually kindly let them have a word or two, and next thing you know they’re running the show. LOL! Funny that you say feathers. I have two parrots and two masked weavers (rescues from up in Zim) who bounce around on me all day singing songs, so feathered muses isn’t wrong. My other one is definitely female and often a bit mean – I reckon the stiletto heel boots pinch her toes. 😀

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      • Hehe.
        I’m near Vereeniging in a little fly spot on the map called De Deur. Actually, our street isn’t even on the map.
        I glanced at your book covers and recognised the African element, so I was not surprised to see that you live here.
        While I, too, am an African writer at heart (and studied under the writer/poet Prof Andries Olifant), my story (which is very universal – read generic:-)) came and found me. I was always going to be a literary writer, but the current story, which is anything but literary in the SA sense, won. Hands down.
        Limpopo? You writing about anything happening just across the border? Plenty story fodder there.

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      • It’s fabulous meeting another South African writer here. I only know one other online. Professor Oliphant is a biggie! I’ve only written one African themed novel and another African short. My other books are either sci-fi fantasy or mainstream literary & one non-fic beginners guide to self-pubbing. We’ve only been here in Louis Trichardt for two years odd now. Eighteen years up in rural Zimbabwe before that. The one book is about racial hatred & murder up there, but right now I’m in sci-fi world. I’d love to know more about what you’re writing now – intrigued!

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      • Good question! Mine’s burglars. Two attempts in a year. One with the security gate bent in half, and another with a laptop swiped with a rake through a window while I was beating the arm taking it. Haven’t slept much since. What’s your reason for the earlies?

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      • Eish. (So glad I could use that, finally). So you’re waiting for them to come back? Stuff like that gives me the willies. A panga would have been effective for beating the arm.
        This is my writing time, but I made the terrible mistake of checking in here. 🙂 Should have written first. Only problem is that I love blogging. And it’s hard to put on brakes, so I go underground every now and then.
        But I need to stick with it. Otherwise it feels like a book that is half-read, and all the characters are in limbo, waiting for me to come back and read them to life again.
        There are such great people in Blogville. And you are the first SA writer I have come across. Believe me, I have searched.

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      • I’ve got Eish all over my one novel – ha haaaa! I shouldn’t be disturbing your writing time. I also write in the morning, but blog world often calls me too. This town is crawling with violent burglars – mostly from over the border. They broke into a flat a while ago and beat up a pensioner and her six year old grand daughter – left them for dead, but luckily they survived. I’m furious more than scared now, so they better hope I’m not up if they try again. 😀 I totally agree with going underground to write – you have to if you want to get your books done. One hour online turns into five before you know it. I’ve also searched hard for other South African writers, but the couple I’ve found have totally ignored my comments – you’re the first that’s chatted, and I’m well chuffed to have found you!

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      • I wanted to write a book about three sisters who set off to assassinate ole bob above. The title ‘kill.bob.com’, because it is the sort of thing my sisters and I talk about. Of course it would be a funny-sad story, just like life. But my current trilogy has just taken up too much of my life, and I can’t seem to let go.
        I am a Jesus Freak (read Christian) but I do not like most Christian books. They are so soppy and sugar-coated, so I decided to try my hand at writing for the genre. Included in my book is time travel, Roman soldiers, prostitutes, a night watchman and his grandson, and a very evil Scarlatti (which also happens to be the name of the book).
        I love sci-fi. Almost like an adult fairy tale (has the ‘just imagine’ element).

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      • Ooh – your book sounds like my kind of read. Are you close to publishing? My sci-fi is going to be a series of trilogies – next two books out on the same day this December, and also a tiny bit like yours. God and the devil with beings that could be angels and demons. Did a lot of research on those. Also dragons though, so a bit more out there. I’m not really a Jesus freak, but I’m totally into God for daily chats – my best friend is though, so that’s totally cool I reckon. 🙂

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      • I’m doing final edits. Which means tweaking and untweaking and retweaking. Ugh!
        Can’t wait to read yours. Now I am REALLY intrigued. Two in one month, that is awesome.
        Part of my wanting to self-pub is the whole timing thing. My story begins just before New Year, so it would be great to release it in time for … wait for it … New Year. So SP is the only route to make that possible. On Amazon first and then in print. Who knows! I spent all yesterday designing a cover. And it has a dragon, so snap!!

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      • Exciting! It’s fabulous once those final tweaks are done though. I love dragons, especially dragon artworks. If you’re planning on a launch tour when you publish, definitely count me in. I can’t wait to get your book now. I’ve got all the SA writer’s books that you get from the shops, but yours will be my first Indie SA writer’s in my collection. Sounds really cool too. Self-publishing is totally legit these days. The majority of mid-list traditionally published books don’t actually make a lot of money, and with the Indie way the money only really starts to trickle in after a couple of books, but it’s totally worth the trip, and you can shop to agents anytime you like afterwards. I started out on Amazon & Smashwords and all the rest, but now I’ve pulled all my books from the other sites to join KU on Amazon which has really been nice for a couple more sales. The paper books are slow sellers, but seriously cool on my bookshelf. New Year is a great time to publish too – all those guys with their new Kindles. It’s funny how into the rest of the world we get from our little spots in Africa, isn’t it?

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      • Launch tour? Huh?
        My fly spot is smaller than yours…
        Just subscribed to your newsletter and read your writing. Simply beautiful. And resonates with my African soul.
        But can’t wait to read the newer stuff.

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      • Thank you Dorothy! That African soul is always there, no matter what happens. Just thinking about your book idea to take Bob out – my friend here also had that idea, only as a comedy – you should totally write it! 😀 I sent you a friend request – have you got a FB page link? If you put out a request for bloggers to host a book launch post when you publish, then your book gets shared nicely at the time. If you want to and need a hand with it just yell and I’d be very happy to help.

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  2. Hi, and I am glad to see your post! I am currently thinking that I will use indie publishing for one book that I am currently drafting. I may try to be a hybrid writer, which, of course, assumes that I will actually find a traditional publisher for my other books!

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    • You know, I am sure that once one builds a readership, there is no need to go traditional. And if you write well and write plenty (with some marketing thrown in) you will find your readers. Like Jo said, 70% is a lot more than what is offered in Cred Street.

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    • So you’re a cowboy, Michael? (I remember a song, from way back: I wanna be a cowboy! Must go find it.) Glad to hear you are loving it. This is such a big step for me. But I think I have pretty much made up my mind.
      I have a small non-fiction book on Kindle that I wrote while researching my big number one first fiction book (breathless). And, strangely enough, no one has ever reviewed it, yet it sells copies daily, and the KUL numbers are not bad, either.

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  3. Go be a cowboy. I never saw a royalty from my publisher (Sony Music) and when I did eventually get a statement I was minus all the stupid money they wasted on crap videos and bad marketing. These days you can be free of all that… And get your OWN team together. go 4 it

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  4. Hi Dorothy
    I was thrilled to find two SA authors chatting to one another. On Saturday I published my third book (Witnesses – also Christian genre) but this one is a novel. It’s not featured on my blog yet but it is on Amazon. I went the printing locally route for the friends and family who live in SA as many of them do not have access to electronic readers. I intend to send it to CreateSpace too. It took about four hours to be available for sale when I uploaded the ebook.
    I love the writing world – people support and encourage one another. It’s great to connect. I live in Jhb and run a writing group for both aspiring and published authors. We have lots of fun. About to launch a non-fiction short read and am just beginning the next one in the series. I write full time – what a privilege.

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