Guest post by Stephen Lomer
So, you wanna be an independent author, do ya? Good for you. You’ve chosen a hard but potentially very rewarding path. But let’s take a good, hard look at the 500-pound gorilla in the room before we get ahead of ourselves.
If you’re going to be an indie author, you’re moving forward without a publishing house. That means all the stuff a publishing house would normally do for you – from small things like proofreading and line editing to bigger things like design, publicity, promotion, and getting your book on the shelves in brick-and-mortar stores – that’s all gonna be on you.
That’s not meant to scare you off, or to drive you toward traditional publishing. No indeed. But it is meant to prepare you for the reality of your undertaking.
So first things first – can you write? It may seem academic, but it’s a fair question. See, when you go the traditional publishing route, you have a legion of professional editors to review your work and tell you where it needs strengthening, shortening, lengthening, explaining, and so forth. As an indie author, you’re going to need to find an editor like that on your own, and pay them out of pocket.
Of course, if you’re good and you know it, you can just forge ahead with what you’ve got.
Now how about cover design? Are you a cover designer? If so, you’re going to save yourself a ton of time and money. If you’re not, you’d better have some time and money handy. You can pay a modest amount and use an online cover creator, or you can lay down some significant dough and have a pro design it for you. Up to you.
Next up, marketing and advertising. Big publishing houses have big marketing and advertising departments. You have you. And while there are free and simple ways to get the word out about your book (posting on Facebook and Twitter, sending a note to grandma asking her to buy a copy, et cetera), in the greatest likelihood you’re going to have to lay down some green for some legitimate advertising. How much is up to you, but remember that the more people who know about your book, the more people will buy it.
And of course, there’s the write – publish – repeat principle, which dictates that you’re not going to be able to rest on your laurels once your book is published. You’re going to have to dive headfirst into the next one to keep your fans interested and engaged. And unless you’re Stephen King or JK Rowling, you’re not going to have the luxury of taking two or three years to get your next work out there. Start thinking in terms of months.
So is it worth it, being an indie author? Well of course it is! Remember that everything you put out there is yours, 100% yours, and you don’t have to compromise for anyone. Just manage your expectations, be prepared to work hard, and believe in your ability as an author. Success will follow!
by Stephen Lomer
Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is a collection of short stories that has a little something for everyone. See what life is like for the poor mother of an insufferable perfectionist in the title story. Find out what’s to be done to save the hipsters in “So Ten Minutes Ago.” Enjoy an updated take on the Goldilocks story in “Trouble Bruin.” Ponder how our choices define our lives in “The Haunting of Flattop Harris.” Stand in the shoes of a young nurse trying to save the tiniest of lives from a city’s destruction in “Wallflower and Casanova.” PLUS! “Royally Screwed,” the story that serves as a prequel to the upcoming novel Typo Squad.