Self-Publish or Perish: Why I Made the Leap from Traditional Publishing to Indie

THE Funky Man / Flickr

THE Funky Man / Flickr

Today’s guest post is by New York Times bestseller Eileen Goudge (@eileengoudge), whose newest novel, Bones and Roses, releases today. 


I read Claire Cook’s recent blog post with great interest and a jolt of recognition. OMG. She was telling my story! I wasn’t alone. There were other authors like me who were traditionally published in what now seems a bygone era, and who’d enjoyed runs on the New York Times bestseller list and all the benefits therein—book tours, media escorts, an honest to God marketing/publicity budget … Can any of us remember that far back?

I know from my husband, the aviation geek, that when a plane goes into what’s called a death spiral, as it reaches a certain altitude and succumbs to the pull of gravity, it can’t pull out. The same holds true for authors: fewer orders results in smaller print runs, a smaller marketing budget and lackluster sales, then a smaller advance for your next title, and the vicious cycle continues. In short, you’ve entered the “death spiral.”

The cold, hard truth is this: If the sales figures for your last title weren’t impressive enough to get booksellers to order your next title in sufficient quantities to make an impact, you’re basically screwed. It doesn’t matter if your previous titles sold a combined six million copies worldwide. You’re only as good as your last sell-through.

What’s even more dispiriting is that you’re perceived as a “failure” by publishers when your sales haven’t dropped but aren’t growing. You become a flat line on a graph. The publisher loses interest and drops the ball, then your sales really do tank. Worse, your poor performance, or “track” as it’s known, is like toilet paper stuck to your shoe, following you wherever you go in trying to get a deal with another publisher.

If you’re among the lucky handful to not only sell your first novel to one of the Big Five, but get a nice-sized advance, first of all, let me congratulate you—that’s a remarkable feat in today’s publishing climate. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but here’s the thing: Unless your book is the lead title in the publisher’s spring or fall catalogue, you’re more or less on your own as far as marketing and publicity is concerned. Marketing/publicity budgets for all but a handful of fortunate front list authors like my good friend, Kristin Hannah, are, sadly, a thing of the past. I’m only telling you this because it’s better to know going in than find out after the fact. You must do as much of your own publicizing, through social media outreach and whatever else you can drum up or afford, for your book to have a chance of succeeding.

So here’s what happened to me: My loyal fans, God bless them, were still out there and clamoring for my next novel. For the publishers who’d once courted me, it was “meh.” The recession only worsened what had begun with the less than stellar sales of a novel of mine that came out during:

  • the shifting sands of a corporate merger (Penguin and Putnam)
  • a falling-out with an editor
  • a divorce from my agent (literally, I was married to the man), and
  • the loss of a key executive who’d been my champion and who’d gone to another publishing house.

Any one of the above would’ve been a blow. The combination was crushing.

I won’t bore you with the details of what came next. Suffice it to say, my career never fully recovered. The irony was that my inbox was blowing up with emails from fans begging for a fourth book in my Carson Springs series. I had to break the news to my loyal readers, gently, that the series was no more.

Flash forward: Recently I found myself at a crossroads when my author friend, Josie Brown, suggested I go indie. She’d made the leap from traditional publishing a few years prior and was reaping the rewards. She’s also a savvy businesswoman with a background in marketing and advertising. I wasn’t sure I was up to the task. I’m a writer. That’s what I do—I write. I flunked math in school. I was one of those grumpy authors who had to be dragged into doing social media (which I’ve since come to embrace). She persuaded me by posing a question: “What’s the alternative?”

I realized the only alternative was to keep doing what I’d been doing that wasn’t working. I was like Charlie Brown with the football, hoping I’d get lucky and that, just once, the football wouldn’t be snatched from beneath me when I went to kick it. I’m at heart an optimist. But I’m not stupid. So I took heed of Josie’s advice and gathered up the courage to embark on a different path.

And something wonderful happened along the way.

My creative wellspring that’d been drying up, due to all the discouragement I’d received over the past few years, was suddenly gushing. An idea for a mystery series, something I’d long dreamed of writing, came to me during a walk on the beach in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California, where I lived before I moved to New York City. Why not set my mystery series in a fictional town resembling Santa Cruz? I even had my heroine, property manager/amateur sleuth, Tish Ballard, a recovering alcoholic who doesn’t buckle under adversity or authority, sketched out in my mind.

Bones and Roses by Eileen GoudgeThus was born my Cypress Bay mystery series. I immediately got to work. I was on fire! The book practically wrote itself. Book One of the series, Bones and Roses, comes out today. Click here to read an excerpt.

I’ve also completed a first draft of Book Two, Swimsuit Body, scheduled for release in spring of 2015.

I’m excited again about the possibilities the future holds. Nothing is a given, of course. The self-publishing landscape is like the Wild West in one respect—it takes a hardy soul to carve out a piece of it and the mortality rate is high. I’ve never worked harder in my life, not even when my kids were little. I’ve had to learn a bunch of new tricks I didn’t think this “old dog” was capable of. I have more social media platforms than I do platform heels in my closet (I’m addicted to my Sketchers Go Walks, and besides, these days I no longer do power lunches, which means no executive threads, and who has the time to dress up for evenings out when they’re working all the time?).

Was it worth it? Only time will tell. Meanwhile there it is, beating in my breast: that feathered thing called hope. Something I thought I’d lost, regained. Something to celebrate.

Posted in Guest Post, Publishing Industry.

Eileen Goudge

Eileen Goudge has published 32 novels for young adults (six titles for the Sweet Valley High series among them), and 15 women’s fiction novels, including the New York Times bestselling GARDEN OF LIES, as well as numerous short stories and magazine articles. And a cookbook, inspired by her passion for baking: SOMETHING WARM FROM THE OVEN.

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97 Comments on "Self-Publish or Perish: Why I Made the Leap from Traditional Publishing to Indie"

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Ed Cyzewski
2 years 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing your story. There’s been quite a stir lately in some of my circles because bestselling author Lisa Samson basically quit publishing books yesterday. I’m hoping she reads your post and considers going indie.

From what I’ve found, the mid-level publishers who are abel to market effectively are basically learning from indie authors. I’m open to indie or traditional publishing, but I’m certainly planning my future as if I’m going to be an indie author just in case traditional publishing stops being an option for me.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thanks, Ed. It’s wonderful that we have an alternative to TradPublishing these days. In the old days it was sink or swim, then you were done if you sank. Good luck with your efforts. I wish you much success!

Sam Belaqua
Sam Belaqua
2 years 1 month ago

congrats

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you, Sam!

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[…] Today's guest post is by New York Times bestseller Eileen Goudge (@eileengoudge), whose newest novel, Bones and Roses, releases today. I read Claire Cook’s recent blog post with great interest and…  […]

Every Day Poems
Every Day Poems
2 years 1 month ago

Love the red, Eileen. And I love that you have made writing a career and not simply a celebrity endeavor. Celebrities last only as long as outside systems take an interest in them. A writing career is built more sustainably from within ourselves and our through our long-term relationships with fans.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Gosh, no, imagine being limited to 15 minutes of fame! What I love most is to tell stories, and that’s timeless. Also, I’m a barefoot & jeans kind of girl, so I wouldn’t want a glamorous lifestyle.

Amy Reade
Amy Reade
2 years 1 month ago

Eileen,
Congratulations on Bones and Roses! I appreciate you sharing your story and am keeping your post marked as a “favorite.” Best wishes to you!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

I love being marked “favorite.” My hubby has me marked similarly 🙂

Deborah Smith Author
2 years 1 month ago

Eileen, I’m so glad you’re trying this alternative. I’ve always been an admirer of your work. Take heart in the fact that you’re not alone . . . I left the “majors” in 2005 due to a similar Perfect Storm of catastrophes; I concentrated instead on running a small press with several partners (also former authors) and turned to publishing my own books with a good deal of success. I know a lot of authors who’ve made the same switch. If you’ve got a strong base of loyal readers, that’s half the battle. I’m betting you’ll do fine!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you for your encouraging words, Deborah. It’s heartening to know others have forged the path in advance. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of an author friend who’d made the switch (successfully), I might still be floundering and in despair. At least now there’s hope. I’m a believer.

Thomas Gillis
2 years 1 month ago

Hello Eileen – great post. I always figured as a newbie I would go Indie. But if the quality is there I might try TPub. But frankly, it seems like such a hassle, and so much work for a no-name like me. I would almost rather publish indie and send a copy to the right agents and ask if you want to rep me in the next book. Love you blog. Never fails to entertain and inform. thanks ~

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

To TradPublish or not? That’s a question only you can answer, though for me the decision was a no-brainer. Hey, I’m no math whiz but even I can do the arithmetic: smaller advance + small piece of the pie (royalty rate), with my agent taking a cut of the net…well, it doesn’t add up to much. Nowhere to go but up, the way I see it.

Thomas Gillis
2 years 1 month ago

I am going to Indie Publish. I am going to try the TPub submission game just for the learning experience. But as far as the money. Indie is a better cut, no question. And if you have any social media followers- well you might be all set.?

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Social media is key whether you’re TradPublished or indie. I was lucky enough to work with one of the best marketing people in the business, but if I’d been flying solo I would have taken a course in online marketing to get up to speed

Writer Julie Valerie
2 years 1 month ago

What a fantastic, inspiring story from a writer whose been there, done that. I’m so very grateful for your personal publishing story and so thrilled to hear my appetite for your novels will now be filled. Congratulations to you on this exciting new venture!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you, Julie! And to think you’ve been with me every step of the way. I’ve used many of your social media tips. You’re the queen!

Marcy Mason McKay
Marcy Mason McKay
2 years 1 month ago

LOVE this, Eileen. I’m still unpublished, but have several traditionally published novels that there were paid BIG bucks for. That’s what I THINK I want…and yet, I still how poorly they’re treated sometimes, and I wonder….do I REALLY want that?

I think 100% you made the right decision, and your new mystery series is proof of that. Good for you, and rock on with your indie self! 🙂

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

From your lips to God’s ear, Marcy:) I still don’t know what will come of all this, but I have a gut feeling I made the right decision. What boils down to is that I want to be a storyteller not a number on the bottom line. Let the reader judge me, not some editor or publisher who only sees sales figures.

Marcy Mason McKay
Marcy Mason McKay
2 years 1 month ago

Amen, amen, Eileen. You’re on a new adventure. I have a feeling you’re going to love it. Best of luck to you, and your new series!

Darlene Quinn
Darlene Quinn
2 years 1 month ago

I see that Bones and Roses in an eBook.
Will you novels also come out in print.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

At this times Bones and Roses is available in digital only. If I sell enough copies maybe I’ll get a print deal. Wouldn’t that be nice?.

Nirmala Erway
Nirmala Erway
2 years 1 month ago

Don’t forget that you can self-publish a print-on-demand paper version for not much extra effort or cost. You might as well serve your readers who prefer a paper book.

Laurean Brooks
Laurean Brooks
2 years 1 month ago

Eileen, this is a timely post for me. I’ve been trying to decide which way to go with my 80,000-word manuscript. Try for a “big” publisher, or Indie publish. I haven’t made a real name for myself since my print books are through small publishers.

My question and concern: Can a virtual unknown make it in Indie publishing, or do I need to be recognized by a big publisher first…to get a following of fans? I believe you have a great advantage with your bestsellers.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago
Good question, Laurean. As a matter of fact, most of my author friends went indie with their first novels. They’re all good writers, but their success, from what I can see, is tied largely to how much effort they put into social media outreach. Also, keep in mind that indie is what we call “long tail” publishing, meaning you have all kinds of time to build an audience (as long as you haven’t quit your day job!) The most important thing is to make sure your novel is ready to be launched. That’s why writers groups and beta readers are… Read more »
Jane Steen
Jane Steen
2 years 1 month ago
I’m a self-publisher by choice – I’d had some agent interest in my first book, but I’d been reading about what things were like for a midlist author and didn’t want to get stuck in that death spiral before I’d had a chance to figure out who I was as a writer. So I started out as a complete unknown, Laurean, and I can tell you it takes time and patience to build up a readership. But as a self-publisher you HAVE time – no short window in which you have to make a certain sales figure. Yes, authors who’ve… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Well said, Jane. I agree one hundred percent.

Katie Andraski
Katie Andraski
2 years 1 month ago
Thank you for writing this. My novel, The River Caught Sunlight, was just released last week and I was feeling discouraged by the amount of work ahead as well as by the futility of it all. I guess I’m an Indie author because I paid to have the novel published. The editing and design were excellent, though they too have said I’m on my own as far as publicity goes. So far so good. I’ve got six of seven five star reviews on Amazon and people are finding it a fast, lyrical read. But oh boy, I’m still teaching, and… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Don’t be discouraged, Katie. It sounds like you’re off to a good start if you’re novel is getting 5-star reviews. Lest I repeat myself, read my reply to the above comment regarding “long tail” publishing and hopefully you’ll feel reassured. Whenever you start to get down, go for a horseback ride. That always used to cheer me up 🙂

Katie Andraski
Katie Andraski
2 years 1 month ago
I woke up to your reply this morning and felt very encouraged because I do have time and can take time. My old dream was to be published by a traditional publisher and that would make everything right. I’d come so close with agents and publishers so many times that I was hopeful. But it never happened and it took me time to let go of this old entrenched dream and embrace the new one of being an Indie writer and finding my own audience. I took a class with Jane Friedman last winter where she said that writing is… Read more »
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[…] a very interesting post, author Eileen Goudge explains why she left her traditional publisher to pursue self publishing. Initially I felt bad for […]

J. Lynn Martin
2 years 1 month ago
Thanks so much for the story. I’ve seen this all over writerville, and as a newcomer to the space it’s quite frightening. I am a hold-out who refuses to read digital books (less because I’m a staunch traditionalist and more because they give me migraines) … and so, at the moment, I still hold onto the distant hope that perhaps I might become a ‘traditionally’ published author someday. But alas, if the world keeps turning the way it is today, it looks as if I might have to go the self-published route (whether that’s in print or digital, who can… Read more »
J. Lynn Martin
2 years 1 month ago

Oh, and by the way, I like the Bones and Roses cover art; one of my complaints about most self-published books (both digital and print) is their dreadful covers.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

I’m sorry to hear you get migraines from e-readers. I suffer from chronic migraines, too, but find it easier to read on ab e-reader, so I’m less prone to headaches. I get blurred vision from reading the printed page, but not so with my Kindle Paperwhite. Go figure.
Thanks for the compliment on the cover. The book designer, Mumtaz Mustafa, is a senior art director at HarperCollins, who does freelance on the side, so she’s top-notch.

TheColorfulOnes
TheColorfulOnes
2 years 1 month ago

Haven’t ever tried a Paperwhite, just my iPad… might look into that! 🙂

epobirs
epobirs
2 years 1 month ago

Huge difference. An iPad is a backlit screen, which makes for greater eye strain. Plus, for those prone to migraines, shining a light directly into your eyes is to be avoided.

A dedicated reader using an e-Ink screen has qualities much more like paper. They can be read by reflected light or by the indirect lighting on the newer models.

I like my tablet but it can never replace a proper e-Ink reading device.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Good advice!

Catherine Onyemelukwe
2 years 1 month ago

I decided to self-publish with CreateSpace when I realized it was unlikely an agent would be interested in my memoir of 24 years in Nigeria, starting as a naive idealistic Peace Corps volunteer and returning to the U.S. a seasoned survivor of raising three children, war, and affairs. So I appreciate your comments on the need for my own marketing and publicizing. I’m blogging now to build my platform! I also am working with Peace Corps Writers and will have their imprint.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

That’s great, Catherine. It’s the only way to go. I used to naively think I could just put a book out there and it would sell based on word-of-mouth alone, but first people have to know it’s out there.

C.M. Mayo
2 years 1 month ago
Thanks so much for sharing your story which I read with special interest. I’m another writer with many years invested in the old way of doing things (several books with various publishers from university presses to larger ones, book tours, etc) and now, to my surprise, consternation, wonderment, delight (what a mixed bag!) I find myself self-publishing my latest book. A few of my writer friends whose adventures in self-publishing inspired me are biographer Kenneth Ackerman and historical novelist Sandra Gulland, both of whom brought out their backlist under their own imprints. I’ve heard so many stories now about publishers’… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

The game has changed indeed. My husband, the TV reporter, is seeing similar changes in the news business as it contracts. But he was a history major in college, so he’s forever reminding me that there have always been seismic shifts in industries (silent movie to talkies, for one.) We must adapt or die. The landscape is littered with victims of those who were late to the digital party. Blockbuster, are you listening?.

Kimberly
Kimberly
2 years 1 month ago

I love this post. I think it gives hope to lots of writers whether they’ve been turned down by a publisher or just starting out.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

You have every reason to feel hopeful, Kimberly.

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RuthHarris
RuthHarris
2 years 1 month ago
Hi Eileen, Thanks for your post. It all sounds so familiar to me because so much of what happened to you happened to me. My publishers included Simon & Schuster, Random House, St Martin’s. Overall, the experience was disheartening to say the least. No matter how well a book did—like your books, mine made the NYT, there were publicity tours, hefty advances, major book club selections, super reviews—they were always somehow disappointed. “It didn’t sell as well as we hoped,” I was told although, of course, no one ever told me how much they “hoped” it would sell. I was… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Ruth, thank you for sharing your own experiences. It’s great to know I’m not alone. Though I’m lucky in one respect – the bulk of my back list is with Open Road Media, and they’re doing a great job. I have a 50/50 deal with them and they work hard. Also, it’s long-tail publishing, so I don’t ever feel I missed the mark.

Gui Damiani
Gui Damiani
2 years 1 month ago

Hi Eileen, I would love to hear your thoughts on Widbook.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

I know nothing about Widbook. I’ve heard of it, but that’s about it. I would love to know more.

Susan Holmes
Susan Holmes
2 years 1 month ago

Congratulations, and welcome to the indie world! I’ll add Bones and Roses to my TBR list,and look forward to reading your work!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you, Susan! I’m pinching myself. It’s like a dream come true. I thought I would never feel this way again, happy and HOPEFUL.

L.J. Sellers
L.J. Sellers
2 years 1 month ago

Congratulations, Eileen! Indie publishing is so rewarding. Your ex-husband, the agent, represented me many years ago and encouraged me to keep writing even though publishers rejected me. He also told me to read your book, Garden of Lies, for an example of what he meant by “thinking bigger.” It’s an amazing story, and it changed the way I structured and plotted my novels. I hope you have the rights to it.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Wow. Blast from the past! So you worked with Al Zuckerman? I have to say he’s one of the more knowledgeable agents out there. The book he wrote, “Writing the Blockbuster Novel,” is a master class in writing. Every author should read it. Oh, and thank you for your kind words about “Garden of Lies.” Yes, I got rights reverted and it’s now with Open Road Media. Still performing after all these years.

L.J. Sellers
L.J. Sellers
2 years 1 month ago

I agree. I read Al’s book and it helped me take that huge step in advancing my writing. I love it that your bestseller is still selling. It makes me optimistic about my own future. Cheers!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

You have every reason to feel optimistic. There are opportunities nowadays that didn’t exist when GOL was first published. Let me know when your next book comes out and I’ll put it on my Kindle.

L.J. Sellers
L.J. Sellers
2 years 1 month ago

It’s the ninth book in my Detective Jackson series, called Deadly Bonds, and releasing on Aug. 26 from Thomas & Mercer. So it’s available for order now. (I’ve been busy.) Thanks for the support!

Maia Sepp
Maia Sepp
2 years 1 month ago

Go for it, Eileen!! Btw, “The Replacement Wife” is in the also-boughts for one of my novels in the Kobo store. Love that cover. Good luck on your latest, I’m sending good indie vibes your way.

Maia

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Love hearing that, Maia! FYI, the cover design for “Bones and Roses was done by the same designer, Mumtaz Mustafa, who did the cover for “The Replacement Wife.” She’s super talented and was a joy to work with.

Katy Pye
2 years 1 month ago
What an encouraging story. Thanks, Eileen, and everyone for your insights and experiences, too. I indie-published my debut YA novel, Elizabeth’s Landing, last spring with barely a platform (I’m the kicking and screaming into social media type) and no experience with publishing software or online. Taking full responsibility for publishing and marketing is overwhelming, but also inspiring. I survived (barely at times) and continue to learn. I’m grateful, and a bit stunned, the book has won awards in competition with indie and Big 5 books. Sunday I’m giving a presentation to a group of California Writer’s Club authors about using… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Katy, you are living proof of rule #1 in my playbook: First and foremost, write a kickass book. Otherwise you’re putting the cart before the horse. You can flog a not-so-good book all you want and it won’t sell.

Enos Sporf
Enos Sporf
2 years 1 month ago

“Jumping is easy. The trouble begins when you try to land.”
—Evel Knievel

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Ha! So true!

bbwh
bbwh
2 years 1 month ago

This is what freedom and hard work smell like.

Good for you. Prosper.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

I’m happy just to smell the roses in my (proverbial) downtime:)

Olivia Bright
Olivia Bright
2 years 1 month ago

Nice article

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thanks!

Celia Hayes
Celia Hayes
2 years 1 month ago
I had some agent nibbles for my first two novels – but the one who very kindly read the first MS entire told me regretfully that he didn’t think it was marketable. This was in 2007 or so, when POD (publish on demand) was making it possible to do a small print run for a book, and to get it on Amazon. I already had an audience with blogging, and a lot of encouragement from readers and fans … and frankly, I was getting tired of them bugging me by saying, “So when is your book coming out?” The thing… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Good for you, Celia, and congrats on your success. You make a good point about there being a lot of talented freelancers. Some are corporate budget-cut casualties, and the way I see it, Corporate America’s loss is our gain.

InklingBooks
InklingBooks
2 years 1 month ago
I like that Bones and Roses cover. It’s marvelous. My suggestion, as an author who has been ‘doing it all’ for almost fifteen years, is to not be afraid to hire someone else to do the parts you don’t like. Otherwise, you’re likely to find yourself stalling and not doing what you like to do because of That Thing You Hate. Alas for me, That Think I Hate is the one thing that the system does not force you to do—the marketing. My books get sent out into a cold, cruel, heartless world with little effort to draw attention to… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you. I take little credit for the cover, which is the work of the uber talented Mumtaz Mustafa, but I did well in choosing. And yes, no one can do it all, or at least not all of it well. The trick for me, in retaining my sanity, was to hire freelancers to do some of it.

orbicularioculi
orbicularioculi
2 years 1 month ago

Very best of luck, Eileen. With your loyal readers and continuing new readers you can continue to be successful writing for the rest of your life.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you! I would be nowhere without my loyal (and new) readers. I owe everything to you guys 🙂

Thad Puckett
2 years 1 month ago

I’m not a writer, at least in your sense of the word. Merely an erstwhile blogger. You certainly engage your audience well (here in this comment section). That’s much of the social media requirement…just be available. Best of luck with your leap into indie publishing.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you, Thad. I try, I try. I sometimes wonder, “Am I making sense?” so it’s good to get comments like yours.

Thad Puckett
2 years 1 month ago

I appreciate the reply! I sold one of your most recent books! Well, actually, I bought it for my wife (who loves that genre and looks forward to the coming books in the series).

Author Steve Jackson
Author Steve Jackson
2 years 1 month ago

Great read, Eileen, and right on. As a NY Times bestselling author who has experienced the same death spiral–in spite of great reviews and lots of fans–I decided it was time to do something about it. And that led to WildBluePress.com, take a look, consider joining us. We’re going to change the paradigm.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thanks, Steve. So far, so good. But it’s always good to know what your options are.

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Penelope James
Penelope James
2 years 1 month ago
As an author I admire and respect, I’m impressed by your decision to self-publish though not surprised. I’m sure that your loyal readers will benefit from this, as well as many new ones. What I found of particular interest was how this decision reignited your creativity and got you all fired up with your new mystery series. Your decision is motivating me to drop my illusory quest for publication and focus instead on the reality of self-publishing. My historical novel (set in colonial and contemporary Mexico) has spent too long in the wings and it is time for it to… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Good for you, Penelope! Don’t I know you from the La Jolla Writers Conference? Your name is easy to remember. (Like mine!) I’m glad if I inspired you to go your way and seek your fortunes elsewhere. That’s the best compliment 🙂

Linda Gray Sexton
Linda Gray Sexton
2 years 1 month ago

I basically have had the same experience until I was picked up by a small indie publisher who has treated me very well. Gone the days of publicity via the pub. Still to betreated well at a regular trade publisher–best of both worlds. I’m doing my own social media, my own advertising, my own travel expenses for #Bespotted , but I don’t mind. I’m just happy to be with them. But if they didn’t take good care of me I’d be gone into the world of self-publishing!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Hi, Linda. Your name is familiar. Didn’t realize you’d had a similar experience. We should form our own sorority. Isn’t it wonderful that we have so many options and outlets these day? Your story is proof that there’s still life in us veteran storytellers.

The Crazymad Writer.
2 years 1 month ago

It is most certainly akin to the wild west, out there in publishing land, be it the self published route or the traditional way.

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

Thank you for noticing. I thought it was one of my more apt metaphors. So true -indie pub is great in a lot of ways, but no guarantee of success. You still have to work really, really hard and write a good book.

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[…] Self-Publish or Perish: Why I Made the Leap from Traditional Publishing to Indie […]

Claude Nougat
2 years 1 month ago
Great story and congrats for your “rebirth”, this is wonderful. Let me add that this confirms (if need be, but it really isn’t needed) that the indies who are successful are all and everyone of them “refugees” from the traditional publishing world – authors whose sales have flattened but who have a consistently large fan base. Those authors inevitably meet with success when they self-publish, and traditional publishers ought to take notice! They’ve let go of a whole series of authors with great sales potential, and passed up on the opportunity to make money out of blind greed and exclusive… Read more »
Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago
Thank you, Claude. Yes, it’s true many successful indie authors are “reborn,” so to speak, but don’t overestimate our fan base carryover from traditional publishing. Speaking for myself, I needed to expand my existing (shrinking) readership to an attract a younger demo to stay alive. Many of those younger readers didn’t know my name, so in that sense it was like starting from scratch. The #1 most important thing I can’t stress enough is that you need to write a good book. Doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your fiftieth. That’s what sells. And don’t forget, “Fifty Shades of… Read more »
Claude Nougat
2 years 1 month ago

Absolutely right and I do know about 50 Shades…Still, I think you did a great job and it was very courageous of you!

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[…] Yet more reasons to switch to indie publishing from an author who’s been traditionally published, Eileen Goudge, via Jane Friedman. […]

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[…] to survive. This is what Elizabeth Goudge did and so elegantly explained in a blog post here on Jane Friedman‘s blog, enticingly titled “Self-publish or Perish” (hence the […]

Adam Henig
Adam Henig
2 years 1 month ago

I think there’s going to be a lot more Elieens out there as more traditional published authors begin to see the light. Thanks for sharing!

Eileen Goudge
2 years 1 month ago

My pleasure, Adam. If it helped just one other author it was worth it.

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[…] self-publish to survive. This is what Eileen Goudge did and so elegantly explained in a blog post here on Jane Friedman‘s blog, enticingly titled “Self-publish or Perish” (hence the […]

Kristen Steele
2 years 1 month ago

Welcome to self-publishing! As you pointed out, it takes hard work to be successful- but that’s the case with anything! Best of luck.

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[…] Author Eileen Goudge has written 32 YA novels and 15 women’s fiction, including the New York Times bestseller, Garden of Lies, and she recently announced she’s joined the ranks of Indie Authors. Here’s her guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog: […]

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[…] Self Publish or Perish (Why I Made The Leap To Indie Publishing) […]

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[…] authors are making the leap from traditional publishing to Indie, because self publishing may now be your best […]

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[…] some a real-life story of a traditionally-published author who moved to self-publishing, start with Self-Publish or Perish: Why I Made the Leap from Traditional Publishing to Indie by best-selling author Eileen Goudge on Jane Friedman’s […]

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