There are only a few disadvantages that I’ve spotted from the indie side of the authorial fence. They don’t begin to dent the mountain of positives, but I thought I’d point out a few.
One is the difficulty in getting bloggers to accept your book and review it. I’ve given up even trying. The last time I reached out was before WOOL 2 came out in November. Maybe I would have more success now, but the crazy thing is that it’s happening on its own. Every now and then I’ll get a Google alert that points me to a new review out there. It still stinks that I can’t even submit Wool to most websites because they’ve stopped accepting self-published works.
Another downside with being indie is not getting to attend book conventions and feature on panels as easily. It’s possible, especially with smaller conventions, but you can have the #1 book in your genre and still be a pariah. I hope that changes in the future. It gets in the way of the author/reader connection at book and SF gatherings.
The disadvantage I started this post to discuss is another I hope will change one day. Amazon might be working on it, in fact. I’ve heard rumors. I’m talking about the ability to pre-order a book, which right now we self-pubbed peeps can’t set up. It creates an uneven playing field, and here’s why:
Books are ranked on the Kindle bestseller lists by an algorithm (a secret one) that we’ve somewhat deduced through shared stats. It mostly has to do with your hourly and daily sales rates (and borrow rates). When books are pre-ordered, that gives you a huge bump on release day, which increases visibility, which gives you more of a bump, and so on. Indies do silent releases by comparison. We have to make announcements and wait while the trickle builds into any sort of flow. And readers have to constantly check to see if their favorite indie author (here’s hoping they have one) has anything new out.
I pre-order books all the time. I see an upcoming work mentioned and I throw it in my cart and pay for it. I’m not billed until it ships, and it usually shows up on my stoop the day of release. I love this system. I’m hoping I (and the rest of my fellow indies) can be a part of it one day.