There are basically two main reasons why I decided to go down the indie route for my debut novel, Black and Blue:
- My book
Let me explain.
First of all, Black and Blue kind of sits in the wilderness between young adult and adult fiction. Years ago, new adult fiction promised to bridge that gap but it didn’t really work out that way, and “new adult” ended up becoming shorthand for erotic college romance. Happy to be proven wrong though — in fact, book recommendations (new adult or otherwise) are always welcome.
Also, I’m not judging you if you dig erotic college romances. Okay, I am, but not in a “you’re a bad person” kind of way — more like a “you might not be my target audience” kind of way.
Anyway, the only traditionally published author I could think of in Australia who was focusing on characters in that post-high school to mid-20s age bracket was Rebecca James, whose books can be found in both the YA and adult fiction sections of the library. So I was already leaning away from traditional publishing after looking into what was and wasn’t happening in that space.
I was also advised by someone with a lot of industry experience that, for the best chance of success in the traditional market, my main character (who is 18 and has recently finished school) should either be around 15 years old (so the book can be promoted in schools), or aged up to around 25 (so it’s firmly in the adult fiction territory). Obviously both of those things would’ve made it a very different story. But I agreed with the assessment, which brings us to now.
The second reason relates to me as an author/person. And my desire for creative control. What can I say? Beneath this dowdy little librarian body is a raging control freak who just wants to shush the whole world. Just kidding. But on a more serious note, there are plenty of anxiety-inducing things in life that I know are out of my hands. The publication of my book, however, didn’t need to be one of them.
Having said that, I also appreciate good guidance and I’m open to feedback — so I didn’t completely go it alone. I’m really enjoying working with independent/hybrid publisher Leschenault Press on Black and Blue and I hope you’ll like what we’ve been doing.
There are things that would be easier if I had a traditional book deal (visibility, distribution, marketing reach, etc.) and I wouldn’t have upfront costs. But I’m confident I’ve made the right decision for myself and my book. 🙂