This is the second and last part of the article on indie publishing by noted author Lynn Emery who has been a writer for Harper Collins. She is now the very happy indie publisher of several successful — and beautiful — books that I have richly enjoyed. Also, a number of her print books have been turned into e-books. Lynn is truly a helpful author, and I am so grateful to call her my friend. She tells a smashing, romantic tale of suspense that is sharp, witty and oh, so wise.
If you decide to go the indie author route, then make sure you do it right. The world of being an indie author is now in the 2.0 version. You must decide, and be truly honest here, if you can do your own covers and editing. Creating an attractive book cover requires serious design skills. It’s not just finding great stock photos or art that you like and arranging fonts around them. The fonts should be right for a book cover, not regular fonts you’d choose in a word processng program. The arrangement of the cover art, be it a photo or drawings, is more than just knowing how to stick them on the right size background using a photo editing application. Self-published books are held to the same standard as any book, and now your book will be seen around the globe. You want to have the best looking product possible. Same goes for the content. Few of us can successfully edit, copyedit and proofread our own work. Why? We miss a lot because we know what we meant to say and we see it even if it is not there or wrong. You need someone to set fresh eyes on what you’ve written to catch those glaring, and sometimes embarrassing boo-boos. Readers will certainly see them, and won’t cut you any slack. Trust me, I’ve got the t-shirt.
Next, decide where you want to indie publish. Some authors are using Amazon exclusiely because they’re not just the major player in the indie book biz, Amazon is THE major player in indie publishing. These authors want to leverage the power of KDP Select and the Amazon algorithms. Some think this is a mistake, because although Amazon is the ultimate Big Dog in the game, a lot of people have Nooks, Kobo’s, e-readers and other devices other than a Kindle. They argue that you’re snubbing these potential buyers. I opt to make my eBooks available to multiple formats for that reason. Also decide if you want to do print versions of your books and if so, which company you will use. The major companies are Create Space (owned by Amazon) and Lightning Source. Go to their websites to compare terms of conditions and services to help you decide. Therre are others like Lulu that writers use, so check them out.
Now here is an example of how much has changed in the last eighteen months. You don’t have to choose between being an indie author and traditional publishing. The stigma attached to “self-publishing” has crumbled. It used to be that publishers wouldn’t touch a self-published title with a ten-foot pole (pardon the old cliche). Slowly some successful SP titles were bought. These days the term “hybrid author” is used to describe authors who do both, and earn good money doing so. Even if you don’t have a contract with a publisher, trust me their editors are trolling for indie titles and sending indie writers offers. You don’t have to wait. You can submit your work to traditional publishers and indie publish while waiting to hear from them.
My final advice is to network with authors at every stage in indie publishing. There are a lot of author groups online with resources on all kinds of sercvice and opportunities for indie authors. Networking with other authors is the best way to get quality information and stay current on changes. Did I mention the landscape of publishing is changing as I type this? Good luck and feel free to ask any questions.
* * * * * *
So there you have this excellent advice from Ms. Emery. Save, study and savor it, because it will help you with your books. Thanks so much, Lynn. I know you really didn’t have the time, but you’re one of the dedicated authors who always lend a helping hand.
Readers, please continue to watch this space for other articles and know that I’ve decided to use the term Indie Publishing exclusively because I feel strongly that it’s the best and most apt term. Here’s hoping you’ll let me know what you think.
Love and blessings,