Not that long ago, self-publishing your book was considered equal to sporting a scarlet letter on your chest. It was embarrassing because it meant you weren’t ‘good enough’ to be considered by traditional publishing houses. Now, with Amazon and the array of affordable tablets on the market, that tarnished letter has become much more respected, to the point that publishers are encouraging their authors to jump into the fray. Indie publishing gives writers control over their careers as well as a freedom to write on subjects some publishing houses feel uncomfortable with.
So how do you get started? Here are four things I think every author considering going indie should know:
- Produce material.
The more full-length novels or novellas that you put out, the more you’re going to sale thus increasing your take home pay. When I published my first story, Christmas Lessons, I did okay. It sold about 2000 copies in those first six months, but after that, sales just dried up. Then I published several more novellas and a full-length novel, and a friend of mine asked if she could use some of my novellas for collections. Before I knew it, sales took off and haven’t slowed down. My little check from my first novella increased each time I put out new material. Now I bring in between $200-$500 a month from my indie books.
- Cultivate a support system.
I’m extraordinarily blessed to be a part of a group of writing friends who not only encourage me but answer questions about indie publishing. Need to know how much to space out the lines when you’re publishing with Amazon? Looking for someone to do the cover art for your next novella? That’s what these friends do, as well as love and pray for me. But it didn’t happen overnight. It takes time. A few good places to look for your people is on Facebook. There are several indie author’s groups like ACFW Indie Authors, Christian Indie Authors, Clean Indie Authors and IndieGypsy.
- Hire an editor.
There is nothing more embarrassing than getting a review on Amazon that reads something like this: Great story and characters but the author wouldn’t know the King’s English if it bit her in the backside. Ouch! With so many people throwing stuff out there these days, you have to make yours stand out above the rest, and a good edit can do that for you. A good rule of thumb—treat every manuscript as if you’re sending it to Harper Collins or Random House. Make it as clean and the content as clear as possible. We owe it to our readers.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in my journey to publication was to have at least three avenues of revenue coming in, or three legs of the stool that is your writing career. Don’t just depend on what you’re going to make off of your indie/traditional books—look at ways to use your expertise to bring in money. Editing and cover design are two ways to do this. Or, you can be like me and write articles and devotions for different magazines. Whatever it is, share what you’ve learned in your writing journey.
Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour. She currently lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her new release, Mistletoe Courtship is available on Amazon.