Indie Publishing

On Friday, YA author L.R. Giles published a post explaining to his readers why he’s been incognito as of late. The post, if you ask me, was actually full of good news: Giles signed with HarperCollins and his YA mystery will be published soon. In addition to that, he has already completed two novels that aren’t contracted to HarperCollins, but he must show them to his lit and film agents before anyone else.

“I’m not complaining,” Giles says of his good fortune. “I just want to explain why you, the loyal readers who have supported LIVE AGAIN, THE DARKNESS KEPT, and THE SHADOWS GALLERY, haven’t seen a new book from me in over a year.”

I salute and congratulate the brother on his publishing contract. I know that it was a lifelong dream for the brother, and his talent will take him far. But reading his story makes me wonder if I’d ever sign a contract should one of the Big Six approach me.

Giles talks about how he essentially worked as a one-man band: he was writer, editor, cover designer, and marketer. I certainly get that; I either played or am currently playing those roles myself with GUESTLIST. And, like Giles, I enjoy knowing I have complete creative control and can get material out as fast as I can write it.

But now that he’s working under a major publisher, Giles is “not even a small cog in their machine.” By his own admission, he says he’ll “have to work [his] butt off to be even a low priority there.”

I’m also reminded of another author, the über-talented Aliya S. King. I very much enjoyed her debut novel Platinum and looked forward to its sequel Diamond Life. Then one day, Aliya tweeted the cover to Diamond Life. Not only had her publisher decided against a hardcover first-run, the novel’s cover art had that stereotypical “hood lit” aesthetic, with emphasis on jewels, luxury whips, and a girl’s fat bootie. Imagine a book cover designed by Pen & Pixel during their No Limit halcyon days.

Aliya was, to put it mildly, unhappy. She expressed her frustration on Twitter, speaking on not having much input or control over what the publishers decide. I asked her if she ever thought of going the indie publishing route, but she said she could never do it as it would require too much time and work.

The time and work would be worth it, in my opinion. Like all artists, I need to ensure that my work is delivered to the public as unmolested as possible. That means the way I envision it – not some team of corporate monkeys who in all likelihood do not give any fucks about my vision.

And if there’s money to be made in this endeavor, I deserve the lion’s share. After all, I am the brains of the whole shebang. I want to rack up an Amanda Hocking-like fortune before I even think about signing any big publisher’s contract.

Photo courtesy of B.G. Mitchell

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