Sunday, 10 August 2014

Why I'm still happy being an indie author

Last Saturday 2 August, I went to an RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association) meeting and we had an open chat about all things writing and publishing. One lady asked a lot of the questions and the answers she got made me think, 'Yes, I'm happy to be an indie author and stay that way.' What were her questions? I can't remember exactly but can remember most of the replies she got.

The lady asked about Mills and Boon, saying she had queried them at the conference in July with her ms. She wanted to know more about them. The answer she got was: they require their authors to write two books a year to start with, then four a year. That's four books of say 60,000 words a year. I goggled at this. At one time I thought about writing for them, but realised I couldn't write to their formula. Now I know I can't write for them. There is no way I could write that amount of books in a year, not with all my health problems and appointments.

The lady also asked which publisher it is best to go with and what do they expect of you. Well, the answer was most of them would expect their authors to write in one genre so you could brand yourself. This was another thing that made me think, Yes, I still want to be an indie author. I want to be able to write what I like, and in different genres, like I am doing now.

The other thing that made me think about still being an indie author happened after the talk. I got to talking to a friend who has had one book published by a small publisher. She signed a contract to get her book in print and in digital, which it is. I had heard things happening about this publisher and asked her what was going on. She told me that the last she'd heard of them, they had changed to digital publishing only and moved to another country. I didn't think this was good news, but didn't tell her so. This got me thinking, that being an indie author, you only have to worry about yourself and not about what a publisher is doing. Third reason why I am glad to be an indie author and want to keep being one.

The fourth reason is similar to number two. On an email group a while ago, one author said that she had broken her contract with her publisher (a small well-known one) because they wanted her to write just for her, but she wanted to write another genre. Again, I want to write in different genres like I am doing now. I write MG (9-12 year-olds), teen/YA and adult, and want to continue doing this because I have so many ideas.

There is one reason I would like to get a contract, maybe for just one book, and that is so that I can become a full member of the RNA. I might see if I could get signed for one book, then carry on being an indie author, it depends on the publisher, though. We shall see.


Alison Morton said...

Excellent post, Julie, and a neat summing up.

The RNA eligibility rules are under review as is the whole membership question, so we indies may one day see ourselves as full members!

Julie Day said...

I hope so, Alison. Although at the moment, all of my ebooks are only 10K and under. Am planning to write longer novels later on this year.

Anne L Harvey said...

Hi Julie, excellent post! I like your thinking, mainly because they coincide with mine. I'm in my mid-70s and don't want to be tied to a contract at my time of life, hence my decision to self-publish later this year.

Elaine Everest said...

An interesting blog but a few errors. Authors negotiate their contracts. They are not told how many books per year to write. Also, authors do not write to a formuala - it would be lovely if it was that easy! I recently attended a course at Writers' Holiday with RNA member and bestselling M&B author, Kate Walker (see the RNA blog for 5th August). She confirmed that there is not a formuala.
Good luck with the NWS and your graduation to full membership.

Julie Day said...

OK, Elaine, I do realise there isn't a formula but I know it's hard to write for them. The number of books they want from their authors came from another author at the talk, Rachel Summerson who writes as Elizabeth Hawksley. She is an established author. I think I might have a while yet before I graduate to full-membership but I will get there.

Rosie Dean said...

I would echo the points you made, Julie.

At present I am content to be responsible for my books going out into the world.

However, there may come a day when I'll be very happy to let somebody else take the strain.