Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why I Went Indie

Today's guest post is from Jenny Hilborne, author of Madness and Murder, and No Alibi. Like a growing number of traditionally published authors, after giving it a great deal of thought, she made the decision to go the indie route with her newest release, Hide and Seek.  Here's why:

I can’t say I got tired of querying agents and publishers because I didn’t have to do it for long before I received my first publishing contract. I’m not a control freak. I don’t have a drawer full of unpublished manuscripts. The reason I went Indie is simply because the noise got too loud to ignore.

Two years ago, I saw my first thriller, Madness and Murder, published by a small press only one year after I completed the manuscript. I met my publisher at a writers conference in San Diego, spent thirty minutes discussing my book, and received a contract about 5 months later. The same publisher also signed my second thriller, No Alibi.

Book signings and other events followed. I connected with many other authors and started to hear the clamor about independent publishing. For a while, I rejected the idea, wrapped in my traditionally published bubble. As the noise and excitement grew, I got curious…and a little envious. I wanted the same kind of freedom to offer special promotions on my titles and play around with my prices, like all the other authors I'd befriended, some of them now bestsellers.

Here are some more reasons why I went indie for my third thriller, Hide and Seek

I’m doing all my own marketing for my traditionally published titles, and I’m paying 100% of the costs. On top of a full-time job and a 30+ hour per week writing schedule, I have to squeeze in time for promoting my novels. As a traditionally published author, I have to sell twice as many books than my independently published counterparts to recover my costs from all events and paid promotions.

I also don’t want to wait a whole year after signing contracts for my book to see print. While I understand that publishers have schedules, it’s a year of lost income while I wait. Not good.

The stories of success shared from some of my fellow (independently published) authors, encouraged me to give it a go. Many of them started out like I did, made the switch to indie, and haven’t looked back. They connected me with a great cover artist and interior formatter and gave me a little shove. I want to compare the experience, to have more freedom, to learn something new, and to work for myself for a while, maybe for good. I can’t make an informed decision about whether indie publishing is best for me unless I try it. I’m excited to see how it stacks up.

For more info about Jenny and her work, please visit her website.


  1. Congratulations on your breakthrough! You nailed it when you said that you're paying the cost of all the promotion, both in time and money, so you might as well make the upfront investment and reap the profit too. Best wishes with your first indie launch!

  2. Jenny, there's a lot to be said for having your feet in both traditional and independent publishing. Congratulations on the move and I wish you continued, and even greater, success!

  3. Interesting! Thanks for joining us here, Jenny, and sharing your publishing experiences with our writer-readers. I'll be sending several of my novelist clients, who are sitting on the fence, here to read about your experiences with it all.

  4. Congrats, Jenny. Traditional publishers are making it harder and harder to play in their pool. They offer very little promotional tools and yet take most of the profits. This choice isn't right for everyone, but I think you have the type of talent and social agility to make it work.

    Good luck.

  5. Thanks for the hearty welcome and the encouragement. I'm excited to move into Indie land and see where it takes me.

  6. Welcome to the World of Indie, Jen. Glad to see you've taken the leap. Wishing you loads of success and good fortune!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Jen. Our stories are similar in that it didn't take me years to get my first contract. My debut comes out in Nov from a small press, and I'm okay with not making much from it. I didn't have the money up front and frankly, I needed the validation. But I've finished a second WIP and while it's got a ways to go to be ready, all the noise about the self-publishing success is hard to ignore.

    My biggest worry is finding an editor who is good and I can afford. My budget is tight. Do you have any advice?



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.