Most likely, if you’re a writer, or know one, you’ve heard of indie publishing. “Indie” has become the new term for self-publishing, a shortened version of independent publishing.
I remember listening to authors, early into the indie craze, who had published books that had the rights turned back to them from publisher to author. Their comments filled one of my writers group’s email loop with tales of acquiring their covers (some did them themselves), to getting their books out there at a low price. Indie is a game changer when book prices can be at the 99 cent level. It didn’t take these writers long to say they were on the top 10, 25 or 100 lists.
I noticed something different in the October 2012 Romance Writers Report (RWR). In the SOLD! section of the magazine, four out of ten new members were listed as self-published. According to the article, that means that they made enough money to qualify for Published Authors Network (PAN) status.
Am I ready for indie publishing? Well, I didn’t, and still don’t have any back lists to work from. My books are still available, so I figured that if I went indie it’d be sometime in the distant future. Yet, this summer I hit a slump in my writing, mostly because I’d lost my father and it seemed to affect the creative part of my brain. At that time, I took a second look at being an indie writer, for at least one book.
At a book signing, I noticed an author had not only put her back list into indie e-books, but her new writing, too. All, except for a three book series she had out in paperback. I started thinking about a manuscript I’d nearly forgotten about, one that I think I could now (after many years of writing) figure out how to fix it.
As I’m going through my editing process, I’m also reading articles on indie publishing. I’m learning that publishers are starting to jump in on the action, as it seems the way of the future to some degree. Just the other day, I read that Wild Rose Publishing has created a subsidiary to address the needs of those who wish to try self-publishing. They have a price list, with or without a cover, and e-book and print choices. My publisher said that she is considering doing something similar one day, perhaps separate from her RWA approved publishing house.
I’m hearing lately that there are many indie books out there that shouldn’t be. They are not ready to publish, some say. Yet, it sounds like an excellent deal for established authors whose work has already been edited and ready to go with few updates. Further, most publishing houses nowadays don’t even offer much in the way of marketing, wanting the author to do all or more than their fair share. So, if the author is already doing the marketing there’s not much to lose and a few dollars to gain without the middleman.
What about a new writer, you say? Well, us old timers learned to write better by getting rejection letters, and then reworking the book, time and time again. We learned that sometimes we have to set that work down and start something else. Then come back later and see it with fresh eyes.
One very important thing stands out to me and that is to make sure your book is ready. Many times it’s hard for a beginning writer to know just when that manuscript is good enough to go. I know that after finishing my first manuscript, I was so in love with it that I didn’t want to change it. All these years later, I’ll change just about anything and not even flinch. I’ve learned that if you want to be published, you’ll have to make changes.
The way to find out if your manuscript is ready is by utilizing critique partners. When I first started out, I needed a handful of critique pals. You can find your critique partners within a writers group, or an online writers group. Yes, you can forego a writers group and spend money to pay an editor to help you get ready for publication, but you don’t have to do that if you can find someone with the same goals as your own.
Are you ready to go indie?