Confession of a Once Anti-Independent Publishing Novelist

Print-Open Door & True Riches

I was once anti-indendent publishing but not anymore.

A few years ago, I swore I would never self-pubish a novel. I had been blessed with a traditional contract within a year of submitting, and I had what I will call an “attitude.”  To me self-published novels were inferior, written by people who were so desperate to see their names in print they would pay to have their novels self-published whether it was worthy of publicatoin or not. I was wrong and this is my confession.

Attitude is what we never need. Enlightenment is important for all people. We benefit by looking into the future and making wise decisions. Today I know the truth. Yes, I’m sure some self-published novels are not the quality that would be picked up by a publisher, but many are goods novels that couldn’t find a publisher’s home because the novel was outside the box or didn’t fit the publishers standard genre. . .or  other reasons.

When the publishing reveloution began, those of us who were traditionally published faced that these new Indie novelists were cutting into our sales.  We wanted to warn the world they were making a mistake in purchasing those books. Yes, a few got through and hit the big time like The Shack and 50 Shades of Grey, but most readers agree the writing in those two books is poor, but the stories captures people’s interest because they are unique. And that in part is the secret of being an Indie writer. It’s the story that must be amazing. It’s a lesson for all of us.

I watched many of my fellow novelists become hybrid. They continued to publish traditionally but also began putting out short stories, novellas, their out-of-print novels, and a few introduced new novels to their readership. Along with hybrid, some friends who are traditonally published novelists have given up their traditional publishing to go pure independent. These changes aroused my curiousity, and I put my toes in the Indie water with some Out of Print books. I was thrilled to see them back in print and available to readers. These books were written back in the late 1990s and early 2000s which means many of my present day readers haven’t read them. Now for book lovers who want to hold a paperback, some of these books are available in paperback.  The two shown in the cover above are still available indiivdually as eBooks but they are combined in one paperback—two short novels in one book to make the cost worthwhile.  An Open Door, set in Milan & romantic Venice Italy and True Riches set on romantic Mackiac Island in Michigan, can be purchased on Amazon at Click here to view   Dreaming of Castles is another eBookdreamingofcastles6_5 and print book as well. Once on the Amazong site, you can click on my name and you can find Dreaming of Castles too.

But that’s not all, I am thrilled to be preparing a new never published novel to my collection of Indie novels.  And since I’m a hybrid writer, with both traditional and indie books, why am I making this one self-published? Authors tend to be branded in a line or their publishers want them to write in the style and genre of that pulisher so that makes a wonderful reason to bring to life those novels that don’t fit the publishers needs. Treasures Of Her Heart is a romance blended with a mystery.  The book is longer than my present publishers accept, the hero and heroine don’t fall in love on the first pages, and the story has a number of sub-plots. But I love the novel and I hope my readers will love it too.

I’m spoiled. I’ve had fifty-four novels contract, fifty-two released, and I have nearly four million novels in print.  To be honest, I’ve sold a “drop in the bucket” number of Indie eBooks. That’s hard to explain since I have a vast number of readers, but the market is thick with eBooks so  marketing and promotion must be amazing and creative.  I’m learning the technique and have a supportive agent who is working along with me.

What do I love about writing Indie books?
1.  I can set my own schedule for the book deadline.
2. I design my own cover art and use a designer who can do a good job.
3. I write the story that’s been in my mind and heart without following guidelines.
4. I can chose the length of my novel without meeting the word count of a publishing house.
5. I can control the price of my book.
6. I can use special offers to interest readers.

What are the negatives of Indie publsihing?
1. My novels will have limited distribution and will not be in most stores.
2. My novels will not be promoted by a publisher and I must market and promote the release.
3. For added promotion, I have to do pay the publicist.
4. I will have to pay for professional editing of the novel and payfor the cover design.
5. My books will not be reviewed by most of the popular reveiwers such as Romantic Times or Publishers Weekly.
6. I have no advance on roytalties and have no idea how well the book will sell.

All in all, I’m excited about seeing what happens with my upcoming new book release, Treasures Of Her Heart. It’s a good romance and an interesting mystery involving a missing fortune and a small key. I hope you take a look when it’s released in another month or so.

Please share your comments and opinions? Has your attitudes changed? What are the pros and cons for you as an Indie publisher?



































Leave a comment
  1. Shelley Ring March 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Hi Gail,

    Thanks for posting your experience and thoughts about indie publishing. I consider myself a hybrid author because a few of my devotionals have been published traditionally, but I published my Christian fiction novels independently.

    Like your new release, my novels didn’t fit the length or the guidelines of the houses I submitted to. I love the freedom of writing the story as I believe it should be and having more control over the cover design and editing. But marketing is a beast for me!

    I keep coming back to Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

    Thanks again for your thoughts, and I’m looking forward to reading Treasures of Her Heart!

    • Debra Ullrick March 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

      Wow, Shelley, I was blown away when I read your post!!!! Two days ago, God brought that same scripture (Zech 4:10) to my mind…several times. Hmmm, maybe He’s trying to tell us something. *smiling* I just keep praying their will come a day when indie authors will see there books in the store too.

  2. Davalynn Spencer March 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    I indie-published a book of devotions for women and the plus side is that I never run out of books when I go to speaking engagements. Critical for this endeavor is a good editor and proofreader, which you’ve touched on.

    Best to you in your new venture!

  3. Kathi Macias March 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    I am in complete agreement, Gail. I too vowed I would NEVER self-publish. (Never say never, right?) 99 percent of my books, both fiction and nonfiction, are still traditionally published, but I have come to understand there is a place for self-publishing–and it’s a fun variation. Thanks for the post!

  4. Laura Scott March 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Gail, I’m with you all the way! After I had a contemporary inspirational story that was rejected, I decided to self publish and now have three books in my Crystal Lake series. It’s doing modestly well, but I can’t complain. I love writing Love Inspired Suspense, but it’s nice to take a break and do something different. Great blog post!

  5. Lyn Cote March 12, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    You summed it up well! I tweeted and Fb-ed you!

  6. Debra Ullrick March 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    Hi Gail. Loved your post. I understand what you mean about indie books not making as much as the traditional ones even though we have a following. I only have 8 traditional published books and three indie books. My indie books sell, but they don’t sell as well. I do know people who are Indie all the way and their books are making thousands a month. Go figure. The most I made on one of my indie books in a month was a little over a thousand. I’m not sure if I’m a hybrid author as I took a sabbatical from traditional publishing due to person and health reasons at the time. With my mom’s death, and my brother in laws on Mother’s Day the following year, it had all piled up on me and I needed a break from all the stress. I’m not sure if I’ll go back or not. I love having the freedom of writing at my own pace, what I want, when I want, but there are a lot of pros writing for traditional publishers. Like you said, the advances, the marketing they provide, their editors and covers etc. I spend a lot of money having covers designed etc, and no advance. I keep wondering why it is working for others and not for me. Have I not given it enough time? Or what? I would sure love to know what other indie authors are doing to make the thousands a month that they are making. I’m sure not. So for me, I have mixed emotions. Do I want to go back to writing for a traditional publisher, or keep trying to make it on my own. I know not having all the stress has made a huge difference in my health, but I miss seeing my books in the store. 🙁 Can’t wait to read what others have to say.

  7. Gail Gaymer Martin March 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Thanks everyone for your comments on this subject.I loved Shelly’s scripture and Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

    You were all in agreement – and I’m sure many of you believed as I did that I wouldn’t “lower myself” to self-publish. Here I am putting my OOP books on digital and some in book format and I’m excited that my original full-length novel 86K, Treasures Of Her Heart, will be released within the next couple of months. At least that’s my plan. It’s romance with mystery woven together – and I love the story. I hope readers will love it too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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