So you don’t want to self-publish. Okay that’s fine. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone and it does require a lot of work. What other options are there than self-publishing and traditional publishing? Well, there’s going through an indie press.
More people are turning to indie presses each day. The beauty of the indie press is that it offers you a niche market to work with while providing you benefits of traditional publishing, but still giving you freedoms that you otherwise would lose if you signed a book deal with a larger publishing house. And a bonus is that most indie presses don’t require an agent to submit to them.
Some people turn their noses to the idea of going through an indie press—anyone can submit, after all. But that’s the great thing about it. Indie presses open doors for people that would otherwise be forced to tuck their manuscripts on the top shelf and let them gain dust. It’s through indie presses that the LGBT market has exploded. Companies like Loose Id and Dreamspinner (the number one LGBT publishing house right now) offer opportunities for writers to get their stories heard. And more companies are joining the game. Recently, publishing house Ninestar Press opened, offering both romance (of any heat level) and literary LGBT works. Then there are presses that cater towards other genres, such as horror, Christian fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, and erotica.
Indie presses give you an opportunity to build a brand for yourself and increase your chance at selling to someone who is actually interested in your kind of book. And unlike self-publishing, you‘ll work with an editor and cover artist to polish your book off and get it ready for the market.
Now I don’t want you to think that it’s all gold stars from here. You still have to put in effort (but let’s face it, in this day in age, you have to do that anyway you publish). Not all publishing houses in the indie-world offer first rate marketing plans. Some of the leg work will fall on you and your wallet. Ninepress does offer a marketing plan, but Loose Id doesn’t advertise beyond the first announcement. Your sales can vary depending on how strong you get the word out—because that’s what it’s going to be based on, who knows your book is there. Your story won’t be in all the bookstores, it’ll most likely be sold exclusively online (if the company does imprints, like Samhain, you may occasionally see your book at a store), so for the most case, people aren’t going to know it exists unless you tell them. You’re still going to have to take that extra mile to keep your sales up.
Don’t let this discourage you though. Indie publishing is a great chance to get your name out there and build a following. There are plenty of authors who have established successful careers for themselves. Try looking at some of the indie presses out there, see if there’s one that fits your niche. Maybe all those agents keep telling you there isn’t room for another zombie novel, but you really don’t want to self-publish. Check out Samhain Publishing’s horror imprint. I’m sure they’ll be very interested to hear about the living dead.