As fiction writers, we live in an exciting era right now due to the new distribution opportunities available through Kindle, PubIt, and Smashwords. But to hear some writers talk, it’s Indie vs. Traditional, and one has to choose sides.
Well, a lot of neo-pros and old (20+ years) pros I’ve been talking to are excited about being able to do both indie publishing and traditional publishing at the same time. Having more revenue streams as a writer makes it easier to pay the bills each month. And as long as one is careful about reading and negotiating away any excessively broad non-compete clauses in a traditional publishing book contract, doing so should not be a big deal.
Short stories still need to go to traditional markets first if you want to sell them to a place like The New Yorker. But if you write a novelette or novella that can’t find a traditional home, it is now possible to indie publish it instead of just letting it sit around unpublished. And once the exclusive time frame on a traditionally published story expires (and if you didn’t sign an all rights contract), you can republish it as an indie reprint to generate more income.
But one thing I want to emphasize is the importance of thinking twice before giving away a royalty cut to an e-packager for an indie story. Dean Wesley Smith and J. A. Konrath and Barry Eisler debate the pros and cons at length in a post put up today.
We’re all in for a wild run over the next few years in publishing. Since I used to work in the software industry–which makes publishing look glacial by comparison–I confess I’ve welcomed the publishing technology breakthroughs that are bringing on a faster business pace.