Monday, April 11, 2016

Five Things I Like About Traditional Publishing (and Indie)

As a writer, there have never been so many avenues available for putting your “baby” into print. Some as simple as uploading it onto Amazon. OK, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ve spent the last week playing with formatting and reading all the fine print, etc. to get a novella ready to release on April 26th. While I am both excited and nervous about sending my story out to the world on my own, it has definitely given me cause to analyze my choices for publishing my current works and future books.  
I guess I’m what you call a hybrid right now (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) with one novella being released indie, and then in a boxed set with other authors, and three novels contracted with traditional publishers, (the first now available for preorder on Amazon!) And while I have read many wonderful blogs and articles pro indie, I would like to share some of the reasons I will probably stick with traditional publishing for the foreseeable future.

(Disclaimer: every author is different, as are their goals and why they write; this is merely what I like about traditional publishing. I am not trying to convince anyone one way or the other!)

1.The first thing I like about Traditional Publishing is… REJECTION! 
Not what you were expecting, was it? Does that mean I like rejections to pile up in my inbox? Does that mean the last ten pounds I put on has no correlation with the gallons of ice cream and chocolate eaten when I received said rejections? Don’t think so.

Over the years, I have received all sorts of rejections. The strong silent type that never even answer your inquiries though they’ve had the full manuscript for six months. The form, “thanks, but no thanks.” And the very polite and constructive:
·         “Your plot is intriguing, but the writing isn’t quite there yet.”
·         “Your characters are cardboard cutouts—two dimensional.”
·         “Wasn’t gripped.”
·         Etc…
Of course, each of these, and many more, felt like a kick to the gut when I first read them, but when taken to heart they have driven me to become a better writer. I have learned how to make my characters alive, and my writing more gripping, etc. Through the pain, frustration and I-just-want-to-throw-it-to-the-groundness of rejection, I have grown.

And I’m not done. So I guess I’ll set myself up for still some more. J

2. At this point, I like that I am not the final authority on my work. Where I am in my career, I appreciate the gatekeepers telling me if my work is ready. I don’t want to have to decide that for myself. Also, similar to above, having someone to provide the constructive feedback that allows me to focus on weaknesses in the story is humbling, educating and refining.

3   3. I like the type of competition I feel in the traditional publishing setting. And I admit, I am competitive. But I don’t want to have my main focus finding the perfect marketing strategy so I can climb the Amazon ranks. Maybe someday. But for now I want my focus to be on writing. I want to become best writer I can. Right now, my competition is with myself. Can I write well enough to attract the agent I want, and the publishers I want? Someday.
To be accepted and equated with my role models and (dare I say it) heroes of the publishing world is the ultimate recognition to me. This note from one of my readers already made my year:  

Ms. Couch is fast becoming one of those authors to me that I will buy a book simply because her name is on the cover. (I kid you not! Welcome to the Tamera Alexander and Karen Whitemeyer club.)

Personally, I think I have a ways to go! But I think traditional publishing will help me keep focused on the growth.

      4. Editors, and more editors...and more editors! I know some authors have been driven to the indie world because of editors they have dealt with in the traditional publishing houses, but so far I have enjoyed working with mine. Once in awhile there will be a bit of prose that I thought was perfect and they don’t, but we can usually work out the differences easily enough. And often they are right, and my book is better for their insights. I appreciate all the effort that is put into making my manuscript shine by others who are also invested in the book.

5    5. I’m not required to make all the little, tiny decisions. The font? What color of paper to use?  I don’t really care, to be honest. I just want people to enjoy the story. Gloss or Matte for the cover? Let a professional graphic designer worry about how to make my cover concept into a reality. I’d rather not be required to become an expert in Photoshop in order to create promotional assets. There are only so many hours in the day and I just want to write my stories.

Still, indie also has a lot that I like as well, and in the future I will probably enjoy some of the perks:
This is the unfinished prototype for my novella

  •  I get the final say over my prose. No need to fight it out with an editor. ;)
  • The cover concept is mine. I absolutely LOVE how my cover is looking for my novella, Mail Order Revenge. I enjoyed having control over the details.
  • You don’t have to wait years to see your work in print. (Though once you get rolling with the traditional route, it’s not too bad.)
  • The Christian Indie groups are very welcoming and encouraging. 
     So I guess for now I will remain a happy Hybrid. :)


  1. Hi Angela! Great post :) Like you, I'm also happily in the traditional waters at the moment for many similar reasons. The other thing I love about traditional publishing is distribution - my publisher has the ability to get my book into many more stores than I would ever be able to manage myself. However, I'm sure that at some point in the water I will also be dipping my toe into the indie waters and experiencing the many pros and cons that come with that new adventure. Love the cover!!

    1. I agree, distribution is a great part of the "traditional" world. :) So many details that right now it's nice to leave for someone else.

  2. Congratulations, Angela. Excellent post. I'm with you when it comes to preferring to focus on the writing and having others look after everything else. Strange as a businessman, that I'd prefer someone else to deal with the business side of my writing.

    But, like Kara, I think we all become 'hybrids', it appears to be the way the biz is moving. And the exciting thing for you is that you're ahead of the game in already being such and for us we can sit on your shoulders when it's time for us to do likewise.

    All the best with your novella.

    1. Thanks. It will be interesting to see how the industry fluctuates and changes, but neither venues are going away. No getting bored, that's for sure!

  3. Excellent, Angela. I agree--especially about learning from rejections--and edits--and not having to make all the little decisions.

    1. The first two can be painful, but are usually for our own good. :)

  4. The quality of the last round of rejection letters I received (2012-13 when I last pursued another traditional deal) gave me the confidence to go indie. I still compete with myself more than with other authors/books. I can't control what readers purchase, but I can control my own output and the quality of it, at least to some degree as I had some health issues in 2015 that challenged my output!