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Indie Published v Traditionally Published

Amanda Steel, author of YA novel, First Charge, shares her experience with finding a publisher after being an indie author. Read on to discover the pros and cons she has found with using a publisher in my very first featured author post.

My career as a published writer got off to a bumpy start. After self-publishing, I found a publisher who took previously published work and they accepted one of my books. The “publisher” then took everyone’s royalties, whose books he had published and as far as I know, none of the authors or editors ever received a penny.

Meanwhile I had already found another publisher for my other book “First Charge”. Gnome on Pig Productions were mentioned in Writing Magazine. They stated they took previously published books too. As my book was first in a series, I knew this would at least mean I could offer them two unpublished books if they chose to accept it. To by surprise they did.

By this point, I was cautious and suspicious of small unheard of publishers and every part of the process from acceptance to print made me nervous. However, so GOPP have been really supportive of me, considering they’re in Canada and I’m in the UK. They’ve contacted a festival when I’ve asked them to, though the festival organisers turned me down.

I’m still cautious even now, but they haven’t really given me any reason to be. Being with a publisher has some differences to being self-published; both good and bad. I would never have had the confidence to send out press releases as a self-published author, but saying I had a publisher made me feel like I would be taken seriously. This led to an interview with Your MCR. I also feel more confident approaching other festivals and podcasts if I can tell them someone thought enough of my book to publish it. It’s helped me promote my book differently (and probably better) than my other books.

The downsides are probably more obvious. I can’t set the price for my book. As someone who likes to set reasonable prices so that readers can afford to buy the book, I’ve had to stop myself from apologising to people for the prices. Instead, I settled for guiding them towards the cheapest places I could find the book on. (Lulu for paperback or Kindle for eBook.)

The other big down side for me, was not having an exact release date until a few weeks before. I knew the month, but the way my publisher puts out the books means not knowing until a few weeks before. That’s not to criticise how they operate. They have to do whatever works best for them.

That has led to my decision to self-publish my next novel, which isn’t part of this series. I feel grateful to have experienced both kinds of publishing. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be taken on by one of the bigger publishers someday, but I tried getting an agent and I lost patience. I feel like life is short and I’ve learnt things from both experiences that I can use to help me release and market a book by myself.

Anyone who is reading this may be wondering what my book is about. It’s a YA novel about Meredith (a mermaid descendant) and Theo (a shapeshifter descendant) Their mission is to save the world (so no pressure). It’s a bit of a grey area, because anther organisation wants to let half the population die (or never exist in the first place) in order to stop the world from ending relatively soon. Both sides believe they’re in the right and I think neither is 100% right. I’m more on Meredith’s side though.

When I was planning my marketing for this, I focussed on LGBT organisations, because Meredith is a lesbian and (I think) a strong female role model. She’s confident in the own sexuality; although less so about her role as a protector. She makes mistakes, doubts her actions and is very human (even though she’s part mermaid too).

Links to the book can be found here.

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