By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: indie publishing

Can You Publish Your Own Book?

 

by Jay Donnelly

 

For years, finding a publisher was the main thing holding back a lot of talented writers. You’d spent years crafting the perfect story, you had amazing characters, but it just didn’t fit what all the big publishers were after. As a result, your dream died before it truly began. 

However, in this modern age of technology and instant gratification, do you need to find a publisher anymore?  Continue reading

Five Reasons to Go Indie Instead of Traditional Publishing

Indie Publishing over Traditional

 

by Elaine R Snyder

 

For many years before I chose to publish as an indie author, I worked hard at learning the ropes for traditional publishing, seeking an agent, and expected fully to wait years to finally see my work in print. I had begun gaining ground in the publishing world as I saw a few articles published, had the honor of being published as a poet in a small arts journal, and received several hand-written notes from editors who ultimately rejected my work, but let me know they still liked it.

This was all a good sign, but then I started learning about the behind-the-scenes facts about traditional publishing. I read articles, blogs, and social media posts about how new authors were being treated by their publishing houses, with little support for marketing, little attention given to their careers, and then their books disappeared into the ether of “out of print” status.

Such an end to the hard work a writer puts into an entire novel is entirely too depressing. Perhaps not every novel is worthy of being available for all eternity, but certainly an author deserves the chance to build an audience before throwing in the towel after a matter of months, or even weeks. Certainly a publishing house has advantages like marketing teams, editing staff, and distribution, but if you can be a smart business-savvy writer, you can learn how to accommodate these issues and retain more freedom and control over your work. Regardless of what I share in this article, I encourage all authors to research widely on this subject to make a decision which best suits your publishing dreams. In today’s world, there are a lot of options, and this article will walk you through a few self-publishing advantages.

 

1. You retain all rights to your work.

What does this mean? It means you have full ownership of the book you publish as an author, but be careful. If you publish on Amazon’s Kindle platform, you do retain rights to your work, but there are a few provisos on the “Kindle Select” program. Amazon will try to sell you on the benefits of enrolling in the “Select” program, but you must first agree not to sell on any other platform. If you decline this option, you are still open to publish on any other platform available to indie publishers, like Smashwords, Nook, iBooks, Kobo…the list is getting longer all the time.

It’s a matter of what you really want to get out of the end result that should help you decide. Do you want to be able to toss your hat into a dozen rings, or just sell on the biggest platform of all? A list of pros and cons might go a long way to help you choose which is best, and I recommend reading about the benefits of “Kindle Select” before enrolling. Always read the fine print before enrolling in any online book publishing program to be absolutely certain you retain all rights to the work. If it says anything else, take time to do your research so you understand exactly what your rights are.

 

2. Your book can live forever on the internet.

No matter how few or how many sales you achieve, only you can decide whether or not your book can be taken out of print. If your work still makes you proud in twenty years, you can leave it up for purchase. It’s fairly simple. A publishing house, however, can yank your book anytime it feels you aren’t pulling in enough cash to make their investment worthwhile. So, even if your book is still selling, if the publisher doesn’t think it’s selling well enough, they can nix your novel in a snap. Why leave that decision up to a total stranger? This was one of the biggest factors which pushed me toward indie publishing.

 

No matter how few or how many sales you achieve, only you can decide whether or not your book can be taken out of print.Click To Tweet

 

3. You can release as many books as you want in a year.

Typically, we see only certain authors in the publishing world working hard to release as many as two, three, or four books in a year, and they are usually bestsellers. If you happen to be a prolific writer capable of churning out a book every month (granted, I don’t recommend this for most writers), do you think a traditional publisher would agree to pump out all those volumes of work on a monthly basis? And yet, if you can actually write that much, and have an audience devouring your work, why shouldn’t you be releasing your writing as often as you like?

What’s especially nice is that you aren’t limited to a specific number of pages, so you can write a short “How-To” book, a novella, or a collection of short stories—anything goes. Imagine dropping a book a month and having the opportunity of an income stream from so many bodies of work! On the other hand, if you want to take five years to write a novel in order to get it just right, you can do that, too. As an indie author, your time is your own, and you have no contracts or demands.

 

4. You can be as creative as your imagination allows.

If you’re a writer who doesn’t exactly fit into the neat little cubbies of traditional genres, this may be your ticket to freedom. When I write, I cross all kinds of boundaries with my novels, like mixing SciFi with fantasy, horror with mystery, or whatever else strikes my fancy. This type of creativity isn’t necessarily rewarded in the traditional publishing world, and if you’re the kind of author who likes writing outside of the lines, then you may want to go indie. The markets trend around what’s good, and what gets noticed (read: marketed well), not what follows the “norm.”

 

You decide what’s right for you as an indie author.Click To Tweet

 

I have often received unwanted advice from many writers about keeping myself limited to certain genres, or even just one, but my argument is to look at Nora Roberts or James Patterson. Those two bestselling authors have written in a variety of genres, and are successful at all of them. Why should indie authors be an exception? Rarely will a traditional publisher give a new author such a chance to be creative in this way, and for some writers this is a real loss. I know this advice goes against the grain of what many authors will say, but I see a lot of cross-genre work doing very well on the market. You decide what’s right for you as an indie author.

 

5. You don’t have to wait to start making money.

As soon as your book is ready to publish, you hit the button, and it’s available. No waiting for publishers to release it on a distant future date. When you’re ready to release, you can shout it from the rooftops and call every library to stock your book. If you know how to whip up a frenzy about your work being published, you can do it on your schedule, and then you can start booking readings, host events, or plan to hand out copies around the times that work for you. In the indie publishing world, the choice is yours to decide how you want your book to be received.

 

The advantages are far more widespread than I am sharing here, but this list at least offers a few highlights. There are always disadvantages, too, like having to market yourself, paying for your own editing, and being responsible for all the technology (like websites and email services) yourself. Take these into account as you consider your best option as an author. To query or not to query? You can decide tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. To your success, authors!

 

 

Elaine Snyder Author

About the AuthorWhen Elaine isn’t busily typing her latest novel or blog post, she’s probably on a trail in the middle of nowhere, or possibly singing and playing guitar with a bunch of crazy musicians…or she may even be making a mosaic art diorama out of magazines. It’s also possible Elaine is standing on a desk, wildly gesticulating to make a fervent point while teaching, usually handing out chocolate to bribe students into telling friends and family what fun they had learning to write. You may contact Elaine about teaching workshops, speaking about writing, utilize her as a writing coach, or hire her as a copywriter at www.elainersnyder.com. She might leave footprints on your desk, but she will also leave you chocolate.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

Only 40 Self-Published Authors Make Money

indie author

Image Courtesy of Tree City Media

I’m sure you’ve seen this news already. We’re not breaking a story here. The goal at Nothing Any Good is not to break news. Not in the least. The goal is to support indie authors. So since we’re not breaking news, let’s instead break down what does this news actually means. What does it mean when Amazon says that only 40 self-published authors are making money.

Well first, let’s go over what was revealed last week. In a New York Times article about Meredith Wild and the 1.4 million ebook copies she has sold of her self-published erotic novels, the article revealed that only 40 authors have managed to sell more than one million ebook copies in the last five years on Amazon.

So the first thing that we should note is that Amazon never actually said “only 40 self-published authors make money.” If they did say that, now that would be news. Amazon earns $5.25 billion (with a B) a year in book sales. At any given point, roughly 30% of that can be allocated to to ebooks. Why in the world would Amazon want to dissuade more and more authors from self-publishing on their platform? They wouldn’t.

Still, for some reason this news of 40 authors has sent some minor shock waves through the world of indie publishing, and I’m not entirely sure why.

It should be no secret to anyone that self-publishing is hard. As revealed by a study by New Guild from the end of last year, the majority of authors earn below the poverty line. For years authors have been struggling to make ends meet, even well before ebooks became a thing. Starving artist doesn’t just apply to painters and photographers.

So then the question in my mind becomes is self-publishing worth it knowing full well that it is difficult and that only 40 self-published authors sold over one million ebook copies in the last five years.

Let’s unpack that some more. The first thing to notice is that this number is strictly limited to ebook sales. This data doesn’t include print numbers at all. Despite projections a few years back that ebook sales would surpass print by 2015, ebook sales still only make up about 20% of the book market.

The second thing to notice is that this number of over “a million” copies is limited to those sold on Amazon. Yes, Amazon is a behemoth in the book market, but a not-so-miniscule number of sales are attained through a lot of other sales channels.

support indie authorsProbably most importantly, however, is that a million copies is A LOT OF COPIES. Yes, it would be wonderful if you sold a million copies of your book, but I’m not sure about your current financial status in life, but for most people that’s get rich money. Let’s say that I sell a million ebook copies of my book Pieces Like Pottery. (From my lips to God’s ears, right?) That would generate $4.99M in earnings. After Amazon takes its cut, I’m sitting with an estimated $3.49M in revenue from ebook sales.

Like I said, I’m not sure what you make each year, but that’s get rich money.

So the fact that only 40 authors have sold over a million ebook copies on Amazon in the last 5 years is not as significant as some have made it sound. Even if your goal is to be an author to make a good living, there is a lot of room to do that with less than a million copies sold.

But this brings us back full circle. Making a good living as an author is rare. The majority of authors earn less that $10,000 a year from their books. I’m not going to lie, making a lot of money from my writing would be great, but it’s not why I do it. I always have to remember why I write in the first place. And you should too. Don’t lose sight of why you wrote that book. Always remember why you started working on that series. If it was purely to make money, I wish you the best of luck, but the statistics are not in your favor.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

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