Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Full-Time, Part-Time, Indie, or Traditional

We all have issues, like problems with our health, self-image, employment, and relationships. But writers have their own special set of  issues. Two subjects that fascinate and infuriate writers everywhere are Traditional vs Indie Publishing and Full-time vs Part-time writing. As I've made my way in the writing world, I've seen some pretty heated discussions about each of the issues. Recently I interviewed author Jo Ann Schneider, who just released her third book Fractured Memories, and I grilled her on both subjects. Plus we had really good pizza.

Me: I've only gone down the traditional publishing path, but while I waited for that acceptance letter to come, I wondered what my next step would be if it didn't come. I thought about my indie author friends and considered the difference in income from self-publishing and receiving royalties from a publishing house, managing marketing campaigns, taking care of editing, and the amount of control writers have over the publishing process. 

In the end, I was grateful Cedar Fort gave me a chance and helped me through the editing and publishing process. That choice worked for me at the time. But Jo, you’ve gone down both avenues. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing? Are the any drawbacks or major annoyances you want to share?

Jo: I’ve now gone through one small press, one serial into a book press online, and one that I published myself.

I do have to say that having someone send me all of the files with the book cover, and the different e-formats of the book, and the bookmark designs, and all that jazz is awesome. 4 weeks before I released Fractured Memories (my indie book) my cover designer copped out on me, so I had to scramble to find a new cover artist. In the end I think I found a group I can work with for almost everything, but it was a huge pain. At one point I was literally waiting for a cover—everything else was finished and ready to go. So not having to worry about that is nice. Plus formatting e-books is a pain. Luckily I have a computer savvy hubby who did most of it for me.

I like being able to control my price point on my indie book. And I make more money per book than on my more traditionally published books.They’re just on-line, not in the book stores, so that’s a conundrum.  However, if you look at the stats, Amazon sells a lot more books that a brick and mortar bookstore.

The part I really loved about Indie publishing is that when my book was ready, I got to release it. I didn’t have to wait for a year and a half before the publisher actually got it out. That delay is really annoying. The release date for New Sight got pushed back twice before it finally got published. That’s not a unique problem, it happens all the time in the publishing world. It’s frustrating.

I always tell people to do what feels right for them. I went traditional first, while a good friend of mine went indie. We’ve had different experiences and we’ve each learned from what the other has been through. There are pros and cons to both paths. If you’re wondering what to do as an author, go find others who have done it to talk to. They’ll tell you all about it.

Me: So interesting! In my experience, Cedar Fort handled cover art and publishing almost completely, editing was a collaborating process, and I had a larger role over marketing than I might have had with a larger publisher. I'm really grateful to have had such wonderful mentors to help me launch my my first novel. But maybe in the future when I'm a little more established as an author, I might take the self-publishing route.

The other thing we've discussed before is full-time vs part-time writing. As a single woman and a fledgling author, if I don't work full-time, I can't afford my condo. Or Netflix. Because of that, I consider my teaching career to be necessary to my writing career. There are perks to working 9 months out of the year and dedicating summer and school breaks to writing. It may not be ideal, but it works for me. Your position is completely different, Jo. If you had the choice, would you be a full-time writer or continue as a part-time writer? Give me the goods!

Jo: Ooh, good question. Not sure. Sometimes I think I get more accomplished as a writer if I don’t have unlimited time. I make it a priority and don’t mess around on the interweb or run errands all day. If time is short, I often get more accomplished.

That being said, if I could find the discipline to really buckle down and write, then I’d love to go full-time as an author. My dream is to be releasing two books a year, minimum. My books are longer (65k – 90k) so I can’t keep up with the authors that put a 40k book out every three months. I’m okay with that. I pretty much can’t write shorter novels. They just explode everywhere and end up as trilogies. Which means I could for sure use more writing time. I just need someone to crack the whip behind me and say, “Write, slave!” whenever I click on Facebook or YouTube.

Me: If I didn't have a day job (and I wasn't easily distracted by shiny objects and pretty handbags) I'd be all all over that whip, Jo! We could have side by side work areas and both get more writing done than we do now. However, I'm pretty sure that I could never be full-time writer. I like people too much to spend all of my free time in solitary confinement.
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Such good food for thought, don't you think? I love powwowing with other authors and picking their brains about writer issues we all face. In the end, I don't think there's a right or wrong way answer about publishing or full-time writing. You have to develop a publishing plan and a writing schedule that work for you and meet your goals.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Traditional vs Self-Publishing and Full-time vs Part-time writing! Leave me a comment below!

If you'd like to learn more about Jo Ann Schneider, her books, and the other projects she has in the works, follow the link to her website, or click on the links below. Happy hunting!

(YA Fiction/Humor)
(YA SciFi/Fantasy)
(YA Fiction/Distopian)


  1. I struggled with this for the longest time myself. I'm not published (yet) but I was trying to figure out which road to take. Finally settled on one, but I'm so thrilled to hear about it from someone else.

    And love the whole "debate" over being a full-time vs. part-time writer. I feel exactly the same way. I need to pay bills, but I do get distracted by all the shiny stuff in the world.

    Thank you!

    1. It's so true! The more I chat with other authors, the more I realize we're all concerned with the same thing. It never hurts to talk about it and get someone else's take on things. Thanks for stopping by, Nicholas!