I’ve recently spent some time trying to help a friend come to a decision as to whether she wants to publish Indie or not. Which means a choice between traditional publishing with a company who will do all the work, or doing it all yourself. She needs to ask herself these questions. Is she willing to invest the extra time, energy, hard work, and probably most important for many, a huge outlay of money?
Let’s understand that I’m talking about self-publishing in a professional manner. Many have chosen this route. They make up their own covers, have a friend or relative who is a teacher edit their work, and try to format the inside without any idea of what needs to be done. And then wonder why the book isn’t selling.
Some authors I know (me…gulp!) at the beginning of their careers choose to go with the first E-publisher who offers them a contract and at the beginning were quite satisfied. They found their books on the internet, realized their dream of seeing their name on a cover and sat back to wait for the royalty checks. To wait and wait…. Picture a skeleton sitting in front of a dusty monitor with tears dripping from each cheek bone. Trust me! I know the feeling.
If you have some computer skills, a lot of energy and a few Indie-author friends close by who can help you (or even some pals online that would be willing to step up), you have a chance. I gave her this list to read before we would talk further.
1. Write the darn book. And make it your best work.
2. Join some Indie groups so you’re in contact with those who know what to do and will help with advice. The Indie Romance Ink and the Author's Network on yahoo are two good examples.
3. Get your social media working - twitter, facebook and goodreads at least. Of course, I’m taking it for granted you already have a website and/or blog.
4. Make sure you have at least one, if not two, good editors – a line editor and a content and copy editor. You need to search for these people and not pay top dollar because there's no guarantee that you'll get your money's worth. Getting recommendations is the best way to do this (which is why you need to be affiliated with other Indie authors). Remember! There are many editors to choose from; people starting in the business who need work.
5. Find a good cover artist - again someone who's recommended. And get rid of the picture you have in your head about the exact way you want the cover. Most times it’s impossible to do, and if they try, which most artists will try, it’s not going to help sell your book. The best idea is to see what others in your genre have chosen for their cover, authors who are selling really well. Then show those to your cover artist and let him/her come up with ideas. Chances are they have a better vision than you do of what’s popular.
6. Find a formatter to set your book up properly so that your book looks professional. Again, shop around.
7. If possible, either join in with a promoting group like the IBC (Indie Book Collective) group I'm in, or start one yourself so that it isn't just you pushing your own work.
8. Publishing the book on Amazon, or any of the other outlets, is the least work of all but a bit scary when you first do it. Other authors are very good about answering questions for a newbie who is stuck. Hence, the need to join an Indie group.
9. If you think it’s finally time to sit back, relax and wait for the money to roll in, think again. Now is when the real hard works begins. Now you have to promote the book. (This is where a group comes in handy.)
10. Write the second darn book, and make it as soon as possible after you’ve published the first. Make it your best work.
**For the next few days, I will take each of these points and enlarge on them using my own experiences as my imformation source. You won't believe what I went through until I hit it lucky!!??