The big scary world of Going It Alone — or as I and many others prefer: Indie publishing — is huge, dark, a tad chilly and often intimidating.
And if you’re a reader of “those” blogs who enjoy nothing more than mocking a self publishing writer who prefers the term Indie I have just one thing to say: Pphhfftttt!
What do you care if I call myself Self Pub, Indie, or Bababloo? Go worry about something that matters, for the love of dirt. I’m an Indie artist because 1) I own all rights to my work, print, electronic, audio and brain waves from Venus. 2) I am my own Publisher – Midnight Reading Publications. And 3) a subject for a blog post next week – I own my ISBN’s.
So shove that up your pie hole and stop complaining about me calling myself an Indie writer.
Now, as for this blog post today, it occurred to me that — while I’ve entered the fray fully and completely, and am learning a lot along the way — it might benefit others to see how it’s done. Or at least how I’m managing it. Maybe I can be of service to others, maybe I can offer other Indie’s hope, inspiration, education. Maybe my ruins can merely serve as a warning to others. I will say I’m more and more pleased every day as I find the ranks of us Independents growing in leaps and bounds. High quality writing, great stories, interesting people with various backgrounds, all entering the world of Going It Alone for different reasons.
Whatever your reasons are, you’ve come to the point where the rest of us began, and that is: Finding the right venue.
You’ve heard of Create Space, and iUniverse, Lulu and some others. I chose Lulu myself because of all of the available avenues I investigated, Lulu costs nothing. Zip. Zero. I can build a book there in paperback, or hardback, or electronic, even audio on a CD, and unless I want to buy a copy myself, I’ve put out exactly $0.00. All it took was a little formatting, a bit of time, some artwork, and voila, a Trade Paperback exists with my work, my name, and it’s available for sale at Lulu and Amazon (does that surprise you? it did me). Amazon lists your work in their search engine, and manages the sale, but buyers are still paying Lulu (and you) not Amazon. It’s an interesting tape worm sorta symbiosis that just started and I’ll be keeping an eye on for talk later.
Paying someone, even paying a place like Create Space, would remove me from Indie and put me square into the Vanity category, or Pay to Play. I’m adverse to that, but you might not be. I won’t look down on you, turn my nose or flick a booger if you decided to pay to make your book available. We all do what we do for our own reasons. So long as you’re fully educated in the choices, reasons, and expectations of whatever you’ve decided. If you’re under false assumptions, and think the Independent writer is going to get on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, you’re still in the learning stage. There are people who can help you understand the differences, and I can point you in their direction. Just ask.
The biggest hurdle of an Indie after writing a great book with proper grammar, pacing and story-telling, editing, polishing, then creating and making available said novel – is sales. And the greatest tool for sales is advertising. Word of mouth, banner ads, blogs, Twitter, a web page people can easily find, even carrying around business cards in your purse to hand out here and there or tack up (with permission) onto public boards. Advertising is a black hole of its own, and one that I’m starting to get more serious about, and learning loads, so I’ll have more to say about it soon.
Another hurdle is impatience, of which I am Queen. But here’s where we can actually dominate our “Traditionally Published” brethren. They’re going to wait years to see a new title hit the shelves, where it will be given an average of two weeks to fly out the door, after which returns and remainders can kill their fledgling career. Low sales can keep them from ever getting that second novel published. But as an Independent, YOU control when that book hits the great big world, and it can STAY out there – available to purchase, until the Internet goes the way of the Dodo. You might not make any sales the first week, or the first month – but as your advertising avenues grow, your web site or blog become more popular, your Tweets gain followers and you write more novels – you’ll start to see sales. Then as word of mouth spreads, maybe you’ll get a review or listing somewhere, and you can see sales take off.
My website, www.Midnightreading.com enjoys a modest average of 1,500 hits per month, and growing. While I’m a little different than some Indies in that I also offer my novels for free, to be read online, the eBook versions are very popular. And thanks to a comment on this blog by Elisa I researched Mobipocket, and learned how to create eBooks that are available for the Smartphones, PDA’s, the Kindle, your Blackberry and many more. After less than 24 hours in this new market, Ether is already selling. I’ll blog on this topic soon, and hopefully others can learn from my success and my mistakes !
So next week, Monday if I can get it together, I’ll start talking about Mobipocket, how to use their service, create an eBook, and get it listed for sale all across the globe. As we go, I’ll blog about using Lulu, some tricks and tweaks I’ve picked up over the months. About advertising, looking for “outside the box” ways to promote your book, about buying your own ISBN’s so that they’re fully and wholly YOUR own. I’ll talk about creating a web page, a blog, and Tweeting in the Independent writer world. We’ll look for sites that will review Indie writers, places to list your work, and cover art lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I’m still learning, and finding new information every day. You’ll read about my discoveries, and my blunders, and maybe it’ll help you drive around the pothole I might have crashed nose-first into. And please, use the comments to tell me your own tales of woe, give us advise, ideas and let us hear your success stories!
Power to the People!
Make Love, not War!
Ooh, does that come in red?