My vampire book series, Dark Secrets, has recently become very popular, and I get asked all the time how I came to achieve success in the industry and if I feel I made the right choices by going the indie route.
Indie route, you ask?
Yes. Independent Publishing. It means I don’t answer to anyone. I retain full creative control and keep 100% of my profits.
How does one go about this?
Here’s where I have to be careful, because being independent isn’t for everyone, then again, signing on with small press, vanity publishers or even one of the ‘Big Six’ isn’t for everyone, either. You have to do what works for you, and often you have to walk that road before you realize it’s either the wrong or the right one. But it is much easier and cheaper to walk the Indie road first and see if it takes. If not, you can always go traditional.
Now, some people will tell you that publishers won’t accept books that have been self or previously published. Codswallop! Of course they will, if it’s worth their while. Just ask Amanda Hocking. So, don’t let that be a deterrent.
Below, I’ll talk a little about some pros and cons of publishing independently:
One big pro is you don’t need to shove your manuscript in a drawer for two years while you wait for college-grads to validate your work by accepting it into their agency, where it will then go through rigorous combing and probably come out the other side rejected anyway. Getting accepted to an agency does not mean you’ve made it. Even getting on the Penguin bus doesn’t guarantee success.
Pro: You retain full creative control; no one will tell you to delete scenes because it affects the ‘flow’. Downside, there’s no one to tell you if the flow is affected. You have to get really good at self-assesment.
Con: You have to pay for an editor (which can be up to $7000 or more. My books were $4000), or put your work out there and cross your fingers, just hoping no one notices the mistakes (and there will be many even your avid reader friends will miss).
Con & Pro: You need to know publishing and copyright law. However, this is as easy as just doing a bit of research and reading on the Internet (from reputable, approved sites).
All about Indie
: pretty much everything you need to know. It will tell you all about dodgy publishers and vanity publishers and even names the ones you need to avoid.
Info on copyright: Australia
Info on copyright: U. S.
If you're getting your information from a blog, be sure to check the author's credentials before taking it as fact, because, for example, using song lyrics in your book is breaking copyright laws and you can be sued, but some see this as a matter of opinion and may argue the percentage of text used can be classed as fair use. Not always the case. Know your laws.
Neither pro nor con: You have to purchase your own ISBN, which can be done through Thorpe-Bowker (Aus)
or Bowker (US)
Pro: You decide the price, release date, title, cover, everything.
Now, I’ll talk a little about where you can go to get your work out there.
Start with Kindle Direct Publishing (or KDP)
Then go to Smashwords.com
(Once you sign up, there is a blue bar across the top of your page. Go to the word PUBLISH to upload your book and DASHBOARD for all other info).
These two places will see to it that your work appears at B & N, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and many other book retailers.
But, doesn’t publishing independently mean I’ll never have my books in paperback?
No! Simply go to a great place called Createspace
(my two favorites)
It really is that easy. After that, it’s up to the content to sell and how well you market and network.
Go see Bewitching Book Tours
to participate in a blog tour. My sales increased by over 20, 000 copies for the month of my tour (and again for a few moths after), and tour prices start from as little as $25. You can even pay through Paypal.
Come on. Really? Facebook, people. Facebook. Start your own “Page”. Not a ‘friends club’. Actually start a Page and post links to your page on your website (which you can create for free through Weebly
) and on your Author Central
profile that you’ll create when you’ve joined up with Kindle Direct Publishing for Amazon (KDP).
Lastly, and anyone who knows me through chatting on Facebook will know how much I hate this.....There is no such thing as an ‘aspiring writer’. Being a writer is a choice you make, and you do not need validation from a publisher. Put your work out there. Get validation from the people. If you get a lot of bad reviews, perhaps reassess and maybe rewrite and re-release, but, if you’ve done your research, worked hard, revised constantly and requested constructive criticism, then bad reviews will simply be a matter of one’s opinion, not a reflection of inferior writing.
And keep in mind, my books have heaps of bad reviews. When I felt bad about them, I simply went and read all the bad reviews on Twilight, because I loved those books, so it was good to see that some people just didn't ‘get it’.
I wish all of you the best of luck with your publishing dreams for 2013.