What is Indie Publishing?

As a brand new writer, how would I ever get my book published by a major publishing house?  I probably wouldn’t, or if I did, it would take a lot of time and effort sending out all those letters and collecting all those rejection slips.

So, what does a novice writer like me do?  I turned to the ever growing arena of self-publishing, or indie publishing.  There are a lot of options and companies to help you self-publish.  After much research I decided to go with Amazon, as the Kindle eReader seems to be so popular.  Plus, you can get a free Kindle app for other devices.  Amazon has Kindle Direct Publishing for the eBook and CreateSpace for the printed version.  CreateSpace is print-on-demand which means books are printed only when someone orders a copy so you don’t have to buy hundreds or thousands of copies hoping to sell them.
 
The Royalties are better than going with a regular publishing house but the downside is you are responsible for all the promotion and marketing.  The success of your book depends not only on how good it is, but also on how good you are at getting the word out.  One thing not a lot of people know is that most new authors, even if they are accepted by a publishing house, are now being required to take a major role in marketing their books.
 
The upside to self-publishing is that you can write and publish just about anything you wish and with little or no cost involved.  I ended up writing my first book and, after a small learning curve, published it in January of this year.  The only cost was what I paid to have a proof paperback sent to me for review before putting the book up for sale.
 
My wife and I designed the cover, which was fun and exciting to do.  When we received the proof book, I have to admit it exceeded my expectations.  The cover was vibrant and glossy and the entire book looked very professional.  I was proud to have my name on it and to share with everyone.
 
Self-publishing is a double-edged sword.  One of the drawbacks is now it seems everybody has become an author so the competition is stiff.  Plus, you don’t know the good books from the bad.  True, you can read the reviews but how many of the reviews were actually written by an unbiased reader?  They say that less than 5 percent of the self-published books are decent and less than 1 percent are really good.
 
Here are a few things to consider if you decide you want to try your hand at self-publishing:
 
1.     Either create or have someone design a professional looking cover – books really are judged by their cover
2.     Come up with a unique title for your book.  Don’t make the mistake of using a title associated with other products or that is similar to other     books, it could get buried in search results.
3.     Don’t edit your book yourself.  Either hire someone or have several people who will be totally honest in their editing.
4.     Decide how you are going to market your book.  It isn’t going to magically sell itself. 
5.     Research how to best price your book as eBooks have changed the way books are priced.
 
Be persistent.  You won’t become rich overnight but if you keep at it and learn the ropes, particularly if you keep turning out more books, writing can become a lucrative way to enhance your financial status.
 
Now go out there and write and publish that book you have stuffed in a drawer or tucked away in the crevices of your brain.  It will feel good to cross an item off your bucket list.
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