I have seen a lot of discussion lately about traditional vs indie publishing. I am not against either method of publication and think both are perfectly valid methods of sharing your book with the world. I made a measured decision when I decided to self publish The Rachaya Series, after in depth conversations with traditional and indie authors, as well as people who do both. The benefits I could see, and my reaons for choosing to become and independently published author are:
1. I could choose my own editor.
I was able to shop around and find a highly qualified IPEd editor that is compatible with my way of working. I have an editor that gives me the encouragement I need, teaches me about the whys and wherefores of corrections, and is patient, kind and professional. This was the biggest point in indie publishing's favour for me. When I had a traditional publishing contract I was not able to choose my editor, and I was very uncomfortable with the editor that was chosen for me. The power to choose who works so intimately on my books has been so wonderful.
2. I could take risks with my writing.
Publishing houses look for books that will make an instant success. They are in the business of making money so they will not take a risk on books that are not a sure bet. The content, language, writing style were all up to me. I did not have to try to write the Next Big Thing. I wrote the story that was in my heart instead.
3. I could work at my own pace.
This was especially important to me after I had a child. I was in no danger of breaching contract because Heart of Dragons took 18 months longer than I had predicted. This was better for my mental health, and it was far better for the story. I can publish as little or as much as I like.
4. I can change anything I want.
I am currently working with a designer for new covers for The Rachaya Series, investing all my profits so far. Because I am re-releasing the books I can theoretically go in and change anything I want about my stories. Are there errors that need fixing (thanks to my wonderful editor, not really, but she did flag a few things here and there for me when she reread the books in preparation for Heart of Dragons)? Do I want a different ending? How about I add a short story as a bonus for readers? Scenes that were cut, Q&As, new character names. The world is my oyster.
5. I can genre-hop.
Because I am not vying for a publishing contract, I can go in a wildly different direction with my next book if I want. I am currently writing an adult fantasy novel rather than Young Adult, but I am also working on a contemporary piece, have been comissioned to produce a sci-fi short story for a friend, and even dabbled in poetry. I love being able to flex my writing muscles and learn from it along the way. There's just so much freedom.
Obviously, it's not all beer and skittles. There is a lot of admin, marketing, expenses etc that come with independent publishing and it is not for everyone. I have to put myself out there a lot despite my natural shyness screaming at me to stay home. But it's worth it because I love my work so much.