It seems like a requirement to do one of these posts these days, if you're a writer that intends to publish through a non-traditional company. So here's mine.
I've heard more than one author say, in essence, that they don't want to go the traditional publishing route because it is too much work. I think this only adds to the stigma still in place about publishing that doesn't use the Big Six model--query, agent, pitch, etc--by implying and/or outright stating that us indies just can't handle it, man.
I'm confident that I could sell my book through the old school model. I'm not perfect and neither is my work, but I don't have writer guilt; I can call my work good because it is. I think I have something to say, and I think a group of other people will want to hear it. It's that simple. (Try thinking this about your own work sometime. It feels pretty good.)I have a query letter all written, and a synopsis.
But I've gravitated away from traditional publishing. Part of it is because I would have to change too many things about the story, and not in the oh no I can't let go of my precious darlings kind of way.
Furthermore, Vivien and I are talking about making our books part of the same overarching world, eventually culminating with a couple of crossover novels. We could never do this as debut authors in a traditional publishing world.
I don't write what is coming to be thought of as traditional urban fantasy. These days, most people expect a female main character in first person narration, with a badass professional life (vampire hunter, werecat, investigator) juxtaposed with a confused personal life. (often a love triangle or other unresolved romance) I've got the confused personal life down (and how!) but my other elements are outside of that boundary. At the end of the day I'm really cross genre, and indie pubs are more open to that, especially as the Big Six flounder financially.
I think that genre restrictions have become more and more rigid lately. I think it's partly because traditional publishers become less and less likely to take risks as the purse strings tighten. I also feel that it ties in to the white washing of covers and so on, because they're conditioning readers to only search out a certain formula.
That's one of the major issues I have with the current interpretation of genre. We're conditioning people to only go for a single set of criteria. It's not entirely bad. If you want a certain kind of story it helps to know how to find it. At the same time it does mean a lot of interesting and experimental things fall by the wayside. Just today an agent posted a tweet about a novel she never forget, from about ten years ago. It pushed genre convention and that rendered it dead in the water. It would have a better chance today, perhaps, but I venture to say not a large one.
Inaccurate royalty statements from traditional publishers.
So there's that.
Not to mention that an indie author just gets paid more, period. Or has the potential to get paid more. Most traditionally published authors never earn out their advance, and for a debut author that advance is usually in the realm of a couple grand. I think I'd rather take my chances on the e-book market through a different avenue, where I am offered a greater percentage of sales and the accounting is often less convoluted.
Whatever way you choose, write on you crazy diamond.