To innovate, or not to innovate? That’s a question.

Well. I’m an innovator – it’s what I do in the games world. You’d think this is an easy question for me. But when indie publishing is the question behind the question, it’s not that simple. Here’s why. Basically, it’s a fear thing. You’ll see what I mean.

Okay, so I posted last week about having this “why have book sales dropped in the US” question on my mind and it’s still here. In fact, it’s pervasive. One of the things I was planning on blogging about is innovation. In particular, innovation in pricing and book length and user interaction – and then this happened.

The Kindle Serial thing is exactly what I was thinking – especially for young readers.  So I when I watched the press conference I was pointing to my monitor shouting – THAT! YES! THAT! Then I saw their book titles and was like – huh? (no YA – no romance ) But that’s another blog for another time.

The idea of serialized novels is a not innovative, we all know that. What is new however, is how it is priced and delivered. Also, – it’s social/crowd sourced, which is SCARY AS HELLO KITTY to some. Especially those in the traditional book world and authors who love control. Who has two thumbs and loves control? This guy! Who has two thumbs and loves the traditional publishing ideals? THIS GUY!

But, this is the world I’m familiar with from a business stand point. Crowd sourcing ideas, interacting with gamers on facebook, making subtle changes to design and content suit your audience. All of this is a very exciting and progressive way to offer compelling customer service. There’s something very attractive about this potential, and I want in. It’s the perfect crossover knowledge between my background in social gaming and writing.

But.

But…

But……

It has perceived baggage. Or at least, I perceive it has perceived baggage, and it’s really too bad – because my gut tells me customer service and reader interaction like this is coming. Like a freaking CRAZY TRAIN!

I like compare and contrast lists, so I’ve made one. If you have a few minutes, read it and give me your thoughts. I’m open to suggestions, because honestly, I’m thinking this makes a ton of sense and I have a book that might just fit in here like a glove.

Plus side

  • I can be out quick. Finally have something fun to share with the people that have been asking me for years about my writing. *adding a note here. By quick – I mean quicker than a traditional route. See comments below for more information.
  • I can test my theories about the importance or non-importance of having a platform before publishing a book.
  • I can produce my own cover art at a very professional level.
  • I understand the facebook fan page feedback look and how to drive operate in that world
  • I have good connections with a solid group of young readers
  • I have been telling serialized stories in games for more than a decade
  • The upfront cost is minimal
  • Most marketing will be in my control and court
  • I can create my own “swag”
  • Being involved with Amazon as an independent writer could bode well down the line as they grow their influence in the book world.
  • I have a book that would fit this methodology just right that is collecting dust under my bed (so to speak).
  • I will learn a lot. LIKE TONS!

The neutral side

  • The effort required to put a book like this out will be equivalent to publishing and promoting a book through the traditional route.
  • The out of pocket expenses will be the same with either route.

The negative side

  • I’m really bad with contracts. It will cost me money to have someone look at the contract
  • I’ll have to reach out to my network and bother them to buy my book. No two ways around that. I’d have to do this with a trad publishing deal as well, but it comes with more validation.
  • I am worried about how my friends in the publishing world will look upon this decision. I have friends I respect greatly that would NOT suggest I go down this path. They are very smart people – so this weighs heavily on my mind.
  • I’m not the type of guy that would use a pen name. It’s just not me.
  • It doesn’t seem like you get very many chances after you self publish. This might be changing, but the overall impression is that it’s giving up, not innovating.
  • If the book does poorly, it could haunt me for a long time.
  • Marketing directly to teens is NOT easy.
  • If I don’t do this, I lose a learning opportunity.

So… what do you think? I could keep adding to this list forever, but you get the idea. What would you do if you were me? What would you do if you were you?