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Indie Publishing with Tina Shelton!


What We’re Drinking:

Today we decided to have a little bubbly, to celebrate the release of Hot Mess! Because I find proseco a little sweet, we went with Cava, a spanish style sparkling wine. I selected Poema brand cava, primarily based on the label. It was nice! Crisp and just a little sweet.


What We’re Saying:

We invited my dear friend and intrepid business partner Tina Shelton to be on the show! Here she is:


Tina is the author of The Corsican and of Bento Box, and has a short story published in Truth Beyond Paradox. I’ve read all of them, they’re all great. She’s also the other half of Barely Salvageable Independent Press!

We decided to have Tina on because Barely Salvageable just released Hot Mess, our sci-fi pulp anthology, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk a little bit about indie publishing.

James is less interested in going the indie route than I am, because there is a lot of work involved in publishing on your own. But there are some great advantages to it too!

One of my favorite parts of indie publishing is the fact that I don’t have to ask permission or wait my turn; as much as I can produce that I think is worth getting out to the public, I can put out there. Tina’s research indicates that only around nine percent of the manuscripts submitted to big publishers go on to be published. Not only that, but Tina mentions that big publishing does still have a big diversity problem.

Tina goes on to talk about some of the opportunities that the indie publishing revolution has opened up for minorities, and talks about street lit, a genre that depends almost entirely on independent publishing. The same is frankly true for some queer themed genres of fiction, types of books that nobody had ever even heard of prior to Kindle opening up their space to independent publishing.

If you’d like to learn more about street lit, here’s a list of titles from Goodreads to get you started.

Manuscripts are selected by big publishers not necessarily for quality, but for marketability, which means that it’s difficult to take chances with your fiction and still get published. Additionally, it takes a long time for large publishers to get books out. It can take a year (or more) from the time that a manuscript is accepted to the time that it is published. In comparison, Barely Salvageable published Hot Mess in a little over a month after all the stories were submitted. This is important from a marketing perspective; if I put out a first in series, I don’t want my readers to have to wait a year and a half for the next book, especially if I could have it to them in six months.

It’s true that traditional publishing credit does provide credentials to an author, even if that author goes on to publish independently. One of our good friends, Jeffrey Cook, is a hybrid author; someone who has pursued both independent and traditional publishing.

Creative control is a big plus for indies, from maintaining control over the content and appearance of your work to choosing covers.

Although I for one will say that sourcing good book covers as an indie author can be a massive headache. While working on Hot Mess, I was lucky enough to work with Camille High, a wonderful artist and designer who really brought the Hot Mess brand to life.

In addition, being responsible for all of the editing and formatting on your book as an indie can be a bit mind-numbing. I think it’s worth it, though.

Remember: Indie publishing is not necessarily a second choice. Some of us do it because we like it.


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