Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Indie Publishing: Lessons Learned

Unlike this photograph, knowledge doesn't spring from trees. In my opinion, the best knowledge comes from experience, and in particular, the things we often do wrong, rather than what we do right. I asked Gemi, Michelle, Peter and Kristina to sum up their experiences, and the one thing they would have each done differently when pursuing self-publishing.

Gemi: "I’d have to say write all the steps out in advance and time it better. I had read a lot about the process beforehand and then went step by step, but it all did eventually fall into place. One thing you’ll realize as an indie author is that for awhile you have to set aside writing as you learn the ropes. It can seem overwhelming at times, because with control comes responsibility, but it’s really not worth freaking out over. As it is, I’m still so fresh to the world of self-publishing that I don’t have enough perspective yet to answer that. Probably, a year from now, I’ll suddenly get it and go, “Oh yeah, I should’ve…”

Michelle: I would have had a book signing party, but I was shy about asking people to buy it, and instead, I referred them to Amazon. Later, I started ordering 10 copies at a time, at cost, and sold them little by little. It would have been more cost efficient to order 100 at a time. I’ve sold or given away at least that many since it first became available.

Peter: I would have preferred the book to be published by a traditional publisher, but that’s not really something I could have done differently (I sure tried). Nothing else I can think of.

Wouldn't we all have loved to be published traditionally? Thanks, Peter.

Kristina: "If I’d had the money to spend I would have used a professional editor. Instead I had the manuscript read through by a few competent non-professional editors. I also would not have offered three versions (two paperback versions in different sizes and a hardcover), but that happened because of a mistake I’d made in the first place with sizing. The worse regret is not using a certain friend for the cover design, who later told me she would have done it for free!"

Hmm, what would I have done differently? That's easy. The one thing would have been buying my own ISBN. Remember when I mentioned that CreateSpace's setup included a free ISBN number, and that On Falcon's Wings is exclusively available on Amazon? There's a not-so-good aspect of that: for all intents and purposes, not only is CreateSpace the publisher of record, but my book is only available through Amazon and its subsidiaries. Yeah, they are the online, bookselling giant, but trust me. Do what Kristina said in her initial thoughts on DIY and what I'm suggesting now: if you do decide to go the non-traditional route, buy your own ISBN.

Thanks again to Gemi, Michelle, Peter and Kristina for discussing some of the issues facing indie authors, and I wish each of you great success in your writing careers. I also want to thank all the readers who stopped by today and left comments. I hope you found these posts informative and helpful.

Learn more about each of our indie authors featured today, when they'll be back with guest posts at The Brooklyn Scribbler, July 19 - 23.

1 comment:

Anita Davison said...

Interesting, and what is more so is that none of your group appear to regret having gone this route. I didn't know that about the ISBN number either.

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