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View Full Version : What Do You Need to Indie Publish? Post #3



Terry Odell
February 8th, 2013, 09:39 AM
Last time I talked about the two sides of most aspects of indie publishing. One thing I didn't mention, because it really doesn't have a true 'con' is that you can set your own career path as an indie published author. If you're with a traditional publisher, they're going to set things like release frequency, print runs, and how many books they want you to write for them. Their goals and visions might not match yours. With indie publishing, you can decide and have (some) control. Is your goal to have a vacation home in the south of France with your indie income? Buy a new car? Or is it to go out to a nice restaurant once a month? While you may not meet all your goals, at least you have the control over what it will take to achieve them.

But before you can begin meeting those goals, you have to publish your book. Today we'll look at what you need before you indie publish:

You wouldn't send a half-finished, unedited manuscript to an agent would you? Or even enter it in a writing contest. What do you need to have before you think about e-publishing?

You need a quality product. That means you have:

1. A good story.
Readers tend to be forgiving of a lot if you can draw them into your story. Do you understand story structure? Pacing? Characterization? Dialogue? Narrative? All of these will add to the richness of the reader experience.

2. A technically correct product.
Reader might not notice the same things other writers will, but even though they can be forgiving, they'll notice mistakes. And they'll tell people (you included) about them. Of course, with indie publishing, you can always fix them and upload another version, but why risk turning off readers?

3. A good cover.
(We'll talk about this next time). For now, pop over to the major bookstores, or wherever you go to buy books. Look at the covers on the entry pages.

4. A good blurb.
If your cover draws a reader's eye, the next thing they'll look at is your blurb and/or book description. With indie publishing, if your sales aren't what you expected, your blurb might be at fault. Were you getting form rejections on your query letters? Perhaps it was because your query letter, which is the equivalent of a blurb, didn't excite them. Your book description has to make the readers click to the next step.

5. Discoverability. (We'll talk about this more next time, too.)
Word of mouth is still the best advertising. Per Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords, most people find books when they're looking for something else. Your book should be classified and tagged so people looking for similar genres will find yours. One of the best things that can happen (and I'm not aware of any way to make it happen, or even to track it) is becoming one of those "also-boughts." You know, when you buy a book or browse a book's page, you see a row of "people who bought this also bought that." Or, "If you like this, you might like that." I didn't understand why Finding Sarah (http://terryodell.com/blog1/finding-sarah/) was outselling all my other titles at Barnes & Noble one month. I hadn't done any advertising, wasn't blogging anywhere about it, yet it was doing well. I checked it's position in the overall rankings, and it was somewhere in the 3-5,000 mark, and in the top 100 for romantic suspense. I clicked on a couple of the top 10 romantic suspense to see what their rankings were overall. And that's where I discovered that Finding Sarah was an "also-bought" for one of the top 5 romantic suspense books (and her book had an overall ranking of somewhere in the 100s, as I recall).

I'll be back on Monday, and we'll look at some things you can do to optimize your success. I'll respond to questions, so feel free to ask. Meanwhile, I'm part of a new venture called "Booklover's Bench. (http://bookloversbench.com)" To launch our site, we're giving away a Nook Simple Touch and a book from each of the participating authors. Click over to see more and enter.

Ashlyn
February 9th, 2013, 02:28 PM
Last time I talked about the two sides of most aspects of indie publishing. One thing I didn't mention, because it really doesn't have a true 'con' is that you can set your own career path as an indie published author. If you're with a traditional publisher, they're going to set things like release frequency, print runs, and how many books they want you to write for them. Their goals and visions might not match yours.

I've been toying with the idea of Indie publishing, but I'm scared. I want professional editing, free cover art, marketing and distribution without lifting a finger. It seems like so much work and what if my book bombs? I have no one to blame but myself. Fellow author Marie Force tells me to get out of my own way.

I do like the idea of calling the shots. I've had differences of opinion on many of my pubbed books. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. I figure, that's the way it goes when you give up your rights.

Have you ever wished you'd published some work traditionally after you self-published? Do you shop self-pubbed books after the fact?

Terry Odell
February 9th, 2013, 03:05 PM
Definitely valid concerns. Yes, the burden lies on your shoulders, and that, as I pointed out, is a good and a bad thing. The thing to remember is that it's indie PUBLISHING which means you have to take on all the tasks and responsibilities of a publisher. If you can't do it yourself, you can hire out. But the burden still lies on your shoulders.

If someone offered me a lucrative contract and a multi-book deal, I wouldn't say no. I almost reached the point of contracting a traditional mystery series, but the editor changed her mind. I took the partial I'd submitted, revamped it and published it as part of one of my own series.

Would I put everything on hold to go the traditional route? Queries, agents, rejections? I doubt it. If I wanted to try, I'd keep writing and publishing while I waited to see what happened. And having that 'fallback' position takes a lot of the stress out of the submission process. Authors now have another card to play, because if agents or publishers don't want the book, you CAN get it out there. I haven't tried shopping an already published book, though. I don't think I have the numbers--I'm not shooting for 'best selling author' -- just have a craft I can't give up, and a way to make some money while I'm doing what I love to do. But that's my path ... everyone's will vary.


I've been toying with the idea of Indie publishing, but I'm scared. I want professional editing, free cover art, marketing and distribution without lifting a finger. It seems like so much work and what if my book bombs? I have no one to blame but myself. Fellow author Marie Force tells me to get out of my own way.

I do like the idea of calling the shots. I've had differences of opinion on many of my pubbed books. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. I figure, that's the way it goes when you give up your rights.

Have you ever wished you'd published some work traditionally after you self-published? Do you shop self-pubbed books after the fact?

Jennifer France
February 9th, 2013, 03:39 PM
This is great - sorry I missed the first two posts!

Terry Odell
February 9th, 2013, 04:26 PM
Jennifer -- they're still up. You didn't miss anything. They'll be here for all of February, so feel free to go back and read them.


This is great - sorry I missed the first two posts!

Jennifer France
February 9th, 2013, 06:53 PM
I found them - and this IS terrific!!! I loved the pros and cons.
Will you be getting into the differences between social media and prices for producing a ebook/paperback when it comes to traditional or indie?

Terry Odell
February 9th, 2013, 07:18 PM
Jennifer, I'll be bringing up what it takes to get a book indie published. I'm not sure what you mean about the difference between social media and pricing, or am I reading your question wrong?


I found them - and this IS terrific!!! I loved the pros and cons.
Will you be getting into the differences between social media and prices for producing a ebook/paperback when it comes to traditional or indie?

Jennifer France
February 9th, 2013, 08:18 PM
Is there a difference between using social media if you go traditional or indie?
And what, if any, are the costs for either.
I know costs are minimal when going traditional, but is there enough to make traditional/indie something one would consider leaning towards more than the other?

Terry Odell
February 9th, 2013, 08:31 PM
Most social media are free; it's a matter of learning how to use them without becoming off-putting. The emphasis should be on the 'social' and not on promoting. I think all publishers expect you to have a presence; it comes down to time rather than money. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but my money from indie publishing far outweighs what I ever made with "traditional" publishers, but they were small press and e-publishers, so it's not quite the same as being with a NY house.


Is there a difference between using social media if you go traditional or indie?
And what, if any, are the costs for either.
I know costs are minimal when going traditional, but is there enough to make traditional/indie something one would consider leaning towards more than the other?

M.T.Miles
February 10th, 2013, 01:55 AM
As a new author I am enjoying this thread, Good luck with the new venture

Terry Odell
February 10th, 2013, 09:23 AM
Thanks -- everything's an adventure these days.

As a new author I am enjoying this thread, Good luck with the new venture