Is Indie Publishing a Piece of Cake?

That all depends on how far you will go for that slice of sweet goodness!

Firstly, let’s look at the reasons you may want to be an indie author.

  • You like to remain in CONTROL of EVERYTHING. I get this, I honestly do, when you go down the traditionally published route your begin to loose you say. For example, do you know when your book will be out, and how long you have to wait? If you want to be the boss of you, then stop aboard the indie train, your seat is waiting, I hope you have the skills to deal with the journey, otherwise you will have to find someone who does.
  • Which leads us nicely to the second point. Are you IMPATIENT and don’t want to wait for your novel to be published in somebody else’s timescale? Whatever your reason for not lingering, with indie publishing you set you own timescale and organise your own calendar. That also means you need to be highly organised!
  • Speaking of being ORGANISED, do you know EXACTLY what indie publishing entails? It’s not as simple as writing and sticking it on Amazon. For a start there are other options out there. Have you considered all the jobs that you will have to do besides finding the time to WRITE?
  • TIME. I assume if you are indie publishing you have a lot of spare time? What with the full-time job, the kids, the hobbies you do for research, looking after your home etc? I’m going to take a leap here, and say probably not. This is where being super organised and having skills comes in handy.

Okay, so this is not to scare you off but let’s list some of the jobs you have to do.

  • Write the book.
  • Edit the book -developmental and line
  • Find and Pass the book on to ARC readers
  • Sort out any final edits picked up by ARC readers
  • Have it proofread
  • Format the book to fit the paperback sized you want
  • Decide on the paperback size you want.
  • Design a cover
  • Design an ebook cover and a paperback cover that has space for your ISBN
  • Buy your ISBN
  • Register your ISBN
  • Design your author brand
  • Open up social media accounts as an author and use your branding.
  • Claim your author pages
  • Engage on social media,
  • Build up your audience
  • Start a newsletter
  • Book a book tour
  • Plan your launch marketing
  • Upload your book to a publisher and distributor
  • Market and Promote your book
  • Engage on social media with your audience
  • Talk with local newspapers, magazines and radio
  • Arrange competitions
  • Start on second book.

Phew! If you are not a writer and ‘just’ a reader going through this post, I hope you understand now the cost of the book is totally justified. So when you get your free book from a pirate book site, you are doing a disservice to the author. If you want a free book, go to your local library or become a Beta reader.

Don’t run away! While it may look like a scary list that you could never achieve, if you look at each point as a new skill to learn, that will get easier with each book you write and publish, you will go far and achieve more than you imagined possible.

Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself. There are skilled freelancers out there who are willing to help. Spend your money wisely on the skills you really don’t have, and also on editing. Even the most keen eye will miss mistakes in their own work. You read what you expect to see.

For covers look at sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Reedsy, google ‘ book cover designers’ or have a go yourself on Canva. Book cover prices vary considerably, so it very difficult to give a ballpark, it depends on the style, and how exclusive you want your photos and designs to be, timescale etc

Marketing is a skill in its own right, and with each point of this journey, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use friends and family (sparingly, you want to keep them on your side!) Visual sites like Instagram and TikTok are great for authors showing their books off. Twitter is a great place to meet fellow writers, and Facebook is good for having your readers groups, a place to share exclusive content and sneak previews.

The key to all the above is being organised. I have a planner AND a Kanban board, in fact I have two!

I plan out social media each week, I plot out stories and ideal daily word counts, targets and goals, Yes, some go clearly by the side, but if you don’t have a goal, you won’t move forward.

I also recommend having someone on your side, whether its a professional coach or mentor or your other half, a parent, a child or best friend. You need someone who is aware of what you are going through and what you need to do, to achieve your goal of indie publishing. Of course, having a professional is always better, but if you are not ready for that step, then belonging to a community of writers who can empathise with you is the next best thing. Check out the the community section on this site for more help.

A little secret. Have a photo, or a quote near to where to you are writing or as a screensaver, that shows the REASON WHY you wanted to write in the first place, and is your MOTIVATION to keep going. When things feel really tough, and you wish you hadn’t started, take a look and remember why you started in the first place.

Is indie publishing hard? Absolutely! But once you start, you won’t look back, and it does get easier as you go along and build your team of support.

That all depends on how far you will go for that slice of sweet goodness!

Firstly, let’s look at the reasons you may want to be an indie author.

  • You like to remain in CONTROL of EVERYTHING. I get this, I honestly do, when you go down the traditionally published route your begin to loose you say. For example, do you know when your book will be out, and how long you have to wait? If you want to be the boss of you, then stop aboard the indie train, your seat is waiting, I hope you have the skills to deal with the journey, otherwise you will have to find someone who does.
  • Which leads us nicely to the second point. Are you IMPATIENT and don’t want to wait for your novel to be published in somebody else’s timescale? Whatever your reason for not lingering, with indie publishing you set you own timescale and organise your own calendar. That also means you need to be highly organised!
  • Speaking of being ORGANISED, do you know EXACTLY what indie publishing entails? It’s not as simple as writing and sticking it on Amazon. For a start there are other options out there. Have you considered all the jobs that you will have to do besides finding the time to WRITE?
  • TIME. I assume if you are indie publishing you have a lot of spare time? What with the full-time job, the kids, the hobbies you do for research, looking after your home etc? I’m going to take a leap here, and say probably not. This is where being super organised and having skills comes in handy.

Okay, so this is not to scare you off but let’s list some of the jobs you have to do.

  • Write the book.
  • Edit the book -developmental and line
  • Find and Pass the book on to ARC readers
  • Sort out any final edits picked up by ARC readers
  • Have it proofread
  • Format the book to fit the paperback sized you want
  • Decide on the paperback size you want.
  • Design a cover
  • Design an ebook cover and a paperback cover that has space for your ISBN
  • Buy your ISBN
  • Register your ISBN
  • Design your author brand
  • Open up social media accounts as an author and use your branding.
  • Claim your author pages
  • Engage on social media,
  • Build up your audience
  • Start a newsletter
  • Book a book tour
  • Plan your launch marketing
  • Upload your book to a publisher and distributor
  • Market and Promote your book
  • Engage on social media with your audience
  • Talk with local newspapers, magazines and radio
  • Arrange competitions
  • Start on second book.

Phew! If you are not a writer and ‘just’ a reader going through this post, I hope you understand now the cost of the book is totally justified. So when you get your free book from a pirate book site, you are doing a disservice to the author. If you want a free book, go to your local library or become a Beta reader.

Don’t run away! While it may look like a scary list that you could never achieve, if you look at each point as a new skill to learn, that will get easier with each book you write and publish, you will go far and achieve more than you imagined possible.

Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself. There are skilled freelancers out there who are willing to help. Spend your money wisely on the skills you really don’t have, and also on editing. Even the most keen eye will miss mistakes in their own work. You read what you expect to see.

For covers look at sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Reedsy, google ‘ book cover designers’ or have a go yourself on Canva. Book cover prices vary considerably, so it very difficult to give a ballpark, it depends on the style, and how exclusive you want your photos and designs to be, timescale etc

Marketing is a skill in its own right, and with each point of this journey, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use friends and family (sparingly, you want to keep them on your side!) Visual sites like Instagram and TikTok are great for authors showing their books off. Twitter is a great place to meet fellow writers, and Facebook is good for having your readers groups, a place to share exclusive content and sneak previews.

The key to all the above is being organised. I have a planner AND a Kanban board, in fact I have two!

I plan out social media each week, I plot out stories and ideal daily word counts, targets and goals, Yes, some go clearly by the side, but if you don’t have a goal, you won’t move forward.

I also recommend having someone on your side, whether its a professional coach or mentor or your other half, a parent, a child or best friend. You need someone who is aware of what you are going through and what you need to do, to achieve your goal of indie publishing. Of course, having a professional is always better, but if you are not ready for that step, then belonging to a community of writers who can empathise with you is the next best thing. Check out the the community section on this site for more help.

A little secret. Have a photo, or a quote near to where to you are writing or as a screensaver, that shows the REASON WHY you wanted to write in the first place, and is your MOTIVATION to keep going. When things feel really tough, and you wish you hadn’t started, take a look and remember why you started in the first place.

Is indie publishing hard? Absolutely! But once you start, you won’t look back, and it does get easier as you go along and build your team of support.

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Published by The Coffeehouse Writer

Writer of screen, stage and book. Yoga pants addict (they are so comfy!), occasional rum drinker, always a mum.

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