My Indie Publishing Story — Part Two
In 2011, I blogged repeatedly about my concerns about Amazon. I made an analogy that people quite likely never gave any credence to, assuming they gave a damn what I had to say.
But some authors flocked to the Internet giant. And others stayed staunchly indie, even though we would not get whatever incentive we might get by being Amazon-exclusive.
And, unfortunately, my fellow Americans seem to be addicted to or simply in the unthinking habit of buying stuff from Amazon. This includes, of course, books, because Amazon started out as an online bookstore. But it is much more than a bookstore, at this point. That is a fact. Not an opinion. And our default setting of buying from Amazon is especially applicable to ebooks.
Now, here’s where economics, standard publishing practices and advice, and the Internet come together to create either a huge opportunity for true innovation or a problem that seems insurmountable. However, I believe any problem can be solved, if enough people care enough about the issue to work toward a solution.
A lot of the solution depends, however, on taking steps that lead outside the box of seeking bestseller list status or a high ranking on Amazon. I suspect a lot of authors (both traditionally-published and indie) are uncomfortable with that idea. But then the indie author field is now jammed with newcomers, who don’t really understand what a publisher does. It’s a bit weird to self-publish your work and not come to grips with the notion that you are a publisher. As a publisher, you should understand your industry.
Too many writers come to traditional publishing with stars in their eyes about making the bestseller lists, winning awards, being sent on grand book tours, making appearances on radio and TV — the whole literary world rolling the red carpet out for them.
Too many writers come to traditional publishing with stars in their eyes about making the bestseller lists, winning awards, being sent on grand book tours, making appearances on radio and TV — the whole literary world rolling the red carpet out for them. Well, the reality is not like that at all, for most authors — particularly genre authors. Most crime authors get a paltry advance from publishers and, more often than not, never see a penny of royalties, which would be paid after the publisher has been reimbursed for the small advance.
That’s how traditional publishing works. Then, there’s the indie author path, which (in essence and with knowledge of what’s expected of a publisher) is best viewed as going from writer-only to project manager. What you need as a writer is a publishing team. You can go completely DIY, if you like, but remember the time you spend on one thing takes away from another (possibly more important) thing.
Then, there’s the indie author path, which (in essence and with knowledge of what’s expected of a publisher) is best viewed as going from writer-only to project manager. What you need as a writer is a publishing team.
The question is, do you know enough about publishing to feel you could truly be the CEO of your own publishing imprint? I spent years getting to know the publishing industry before I self-published my work. And when I did, I enlisted help from people that I’ve gotten to know through professional organizations like Sisters in Crime. And it does help that I have a law degree. I know what contracts are. I know what the word “exclusivity” means and the obligations it places on an author.
Because I’ve always been a person who puts the readers first, I am much less concerned with making a bestseller list and much more concerned with creating the best work I possibly can. Along with developing a readership of true fans of said work.
Next time, I’ll discuss the ways I hope to do this and the great opportunities available to us all, if we’re willing to do the work.
Watch the video to get started.
PS: Here’s 10 types of content you should be creating.
PPS: There’s a newish thing called Kindle Vella. If you feel like sharing your income with a company that may not particularly care how many books you sell, because it makes more than enough money from its Internet services, feel free to take advantage of it.
PPPS: Why print books are still important.
PPPPS: Right now, I have a special offer on Patreon. Become a patron and get your name in the acknowledgments to my next novel. Click this link to learn more!