By Edie Ramer
It’s a new world for writers now, and in many ways it’s a more hopeful world than the old one. Instead of toppling the publishing industry, e-books are revitalizing it. According to the Association of American Publishers, traditionally published book sales plummeted in September, but e-book sales jumped 158.1%. J.A. Konrath, who was a midlist author in print, now makes more than $120,000 a year, mostly through Kindle. Zoe Winters doesn’t make that much–yet. But with just three novellas, she was making more per month than a friend made total after selling two books to a New York publisher.
Unlike Konrath, Zoe wasn’t published in print before she self-published. I knew her before she published, and I’ve watched her journey. She and Konrath are two of the reasons I went indie. Zoe is one of the most open people I know and has given me a ton of advice. A week ago, she released her nonfiction e-book, Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author. (Available at Smashwords and Amazon.)
I actually hesitated buying it. After all, I’ve got one book up already, and I was busy on a project. Plus I have a life outside of writing. But the “onlies” got me. I’m only published in one book, and the price is only $2.99. And the reviews were great, and I’m so glad I did. Even if I’d been publishing longer, there are gems in it that make it worthwhile. I passed one on last night to a NY published friend.
This guide is part motivation, part how-to, and part personal experience of my first two years as an indie author. During that time I sold over 28,000 ebooks. If you’re an indie author who would like to do it better or sell more, or you’re an aspiring indie author, this book is for you. The guide covers: attitude, success predictors of indie authors, branding decisions, formatting information for the three primary formats (ebook, print, and audio), business and marketing planning, editing, cover art, formatting for print and E, registering your copyright, a publishing process that puts it all together for you, marketing tips, troubleshooting/mistakes I’ve made.
I ended up with 10 pages of bookmarks in my Kindle that I–a writer who’s already published–will be using. But it has so much more, including the basics that the newest writer should ask. I would recommend the book to my NY published friends for the section on marketing alone. My traditionally published friends have to market as much as my self pubbed friends.
Here are a few gems for writers considering self-publishing:
“I’m not going to make hard things seem simpler than they are, but I’m also not going to pander to the contingent for people who want to click one button and be done. If you’re lazy, being indie is not for you.”
“I chose to go indie partly because I didn’t feel the need to stand in line waiting for permission to play the publishing game. I’d rather get out there on my own, try, fail, try again, succeed, then wait in a line for someone else to tell me I’m worthy.”
“Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a short cut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that.”
I didn’t write this post as an advertisement for Zoe’s book. But this is a How To Write Shop, and this book should be on the must-have list of anyone interested in the How To of self-publishing. Read Smart Self-Publishing and, like me, you’ll feel smarter.