Every month I speak to authors who are on the fence about abandoning their search for a traditional publisher in favor of going indie. Their concerns vary, but their top two reasons not to independently publish are fronting the money and their deep-seated desire to be legitimized by outside forces within the publishing industry otherwise known as traditional publishing houses.
Family. Friends. Food. What more is there to love about November? Oh yeah! Thousands of people across the world coming together in a celebration of creativity and the written word. That is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and here is why you should join in.
Four in ten people suffer some form of visual stress when they try to read print. They may hold the book at arm’s length, squint and look away from the page frequently; they may develop a headache; suffer nausea; or even have a migraine. And chances are that one of those four people will be dyslexic. Visual stress and dyslexia are ever-present issues for a lot of people, and are not usually addressed in book production, but as an indie author, I realized they can be.
Back in 2005, I had written my first book manuscript for a business startup guide, and I attended a writer’s conference where I had the opportunity to pitch agents. Many requested proposals, and in the months that followed, my mailbox filled with rejection letters. Eventually, one of the agents took the time to call me and he said, “I like what you’re doing, but nobody knows who you are. You need to build an author platform. You need to be out speaking to thousands of people each year.”
I was prepared for the effort of taking my manuscript and creating a book from it, but despite all the help I had getting books produced and the ease of which they magically appear on my doorstep, it still fell to me, as a first time indie author, to get the shops to carry them. It wasn't easy, but here are some of the things that worked for me.
I recently performed an editorial review on a book that came to me through IngramSpark, and when the author, Dave, decided to move forward with editing services, I cherry-picked it. Our schedule was tight, and a week or so later, I recommended 2,523 total edits and offered 78 comments . . . only some of which he decided to accept.
Nothing makes me happier than to see an author successfully publish their first book. It is one thing to say you want to publish a book and become a published author but another to actually do it. It takes incredible focus for some to just sit still long enough to put words on a page. Not to mention that natural storytelling is a talent that few possess. There’s a story inside of all of us, but the craft of writing is one that takes discipline and practice to do well. So when someone reaches the point where they have a manuscript ready to publish, it is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Taking that one step further is to turn their publishing skill into a business.
Becoming an award-winning independently published author took a lot more work than I had ever imagined. I'm no marketing mastermind . . . or at least I wasn't when I started this whole self-publishing adventure. Some of it was pure luck in the beginning, but now I know the ropes. And I hope my advice helps you on your journey to doing the same!
On this day, internationally recognized as a day dedicated to expressing our love for one another, we on the IngramSpark team would like to write a little love note to our first love: books. And you can't have books without authors, so this one's for you too, authors! We love books so much that we decided to make careers out of helping authors create them and share them with the world. We believe in the power and value of books (above all) and the magic that authors create every time they publish one, but on a more personal level, this is why we love books and authors:
Independent publishing has been around for hundreds of years. Whether it’s a small indie press that sees value in an author’s work or an author using a contemporary platform to self-publish, it takes a truly entrepreneurial spirit to achieve successful independent publishing.