Indie Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

Every writer has an opinion on it.  Some speak from experience, some are simply speculating, but writers always have something to say.  That’s why we write.  No  matter where you turn these days, the blogosphere is full of opinions on the future of the publishing world and what it means for writers.

When I think of the world of publishing these days, and its effect on writers, I get a visual of Dorothy and Toto lifted up by that tornado, head over heels, disoriented and filled with disbelief.  When they finally touch down, they’re  no longer in Kansas.  And neither are we! What we’re facing is a whole new adventure in publishing options, and a whole lot more responsibility for our publishing outcomes.  This thrills some writers who embrace the new choices, and terrifies others.  The refrain from some of the old school is “just leave it the way it was”.  Too late.  We’re not in Kansas, remember?

Right now the industry is in the process of reinventing itself.  Writers are in the process of finding their niche and learning all about shameless self-promotion.  The picture of the solitary writer, perched in the attic in front of a dusty old Underwood is forever gone.  You’re more likely to see today’s writer at a critique group, a book club, working on her blog, networking with other writers online and in person, and getting  her name “out there”.  This is true for writers, whether they are published in the traditional model or indie (self) published.  If you want to be published by a traditional publishing house, you still need to show your prospective agent that you have a platform, or are at least working on one.  If you’re going indie, it’s crucial!

The face of publishing is unfolding and changing before our eyes.  None of us knows for sure what publishing will look like one year or ten years from now.  I think the best thing we can do is educate ourselves so we can make informed choices, because today more than ever, there are many of them we’ll have to make.


About Ruth Knox

Freelance writer, published in the Canadian and U.S. market. Magazine articles, newspaper columns, guest columns, the arts community, poetry in literary venues, essays in anthologies, published in 4 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, cover story about The Treasure Valley Roller Girls in Idaho Magazine. Now in the editing stage of my non-fiction book for family caregivers, Caregiver's Quilt, a book of companionship, inspiration, laughter, and resources, encouraging caregivers to take good care of themselves too. Now living in Boise ID presently freelancing while working on my book. Member of Idaho Writers' Guild, The Cabin,and National Federation of Press Women. Interests which I like to write about include living a fabulous mid-life, spiritual growth, the writing journey, living joyfully, and finding meaningful connection.
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2 Responses to Indie Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

  1. SandySays1 says:

    A very good post. My human read your entry at my prompting and agreed that publishing and we that are tied to it are headed into the Red Sea without Moses there to show the way. He also made a couple of observations. The “gate-keepers” – agents, editors, et al, – have created a good part of the brave new world that is “Indie Pub,” by slavish dedication to name-recognition, platform, and formula. The crucial question is if the mass of vomit deposited in computers around the world will flood the literary market with such a high percentage of poor work that the new industry chokes. Hopefully, the new biz lit membership will find a way that allows them to self regulate.


    • Ruth Knox says:

      Well said, Sandy! Yes, it is a time of wait and see… I think that drivel will abound in the new climate, but I also think the cream will rise to the top. That being said, I still abhor the elitism that I see in the publishing world today that you referred to as “slavish dedication to name-recognition, platform, and formula.” It is my firm belief though, that writers with something to say who can say it well, will continue to have their work purchased and read.


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