Not The END. - Indie Pub It
I have been writing this indie column for four years now and in that time, the indie publishing scene has exploded.
For example, 2012 was the year that the UK newspaper, the Guardian, announced that indie authors earn less than $500, and that Forbes announced the world was drowning in indie crap. It was also the last year when an author could make a ****-ton of money from making a book free, climbing the charts, then switching to paid.
2012 was the year Amazon made its first big adjustment to their algorithms in an attempt to control how indies did business on their site.
Discoverability still wasn’t the buzz word it is today. Amanda Hocking had just made her multi-million-dollar deal, and everyone still thought traditional publishing was a viable business model.
Indie authors were still trying to figure out how to structure their business…if they thought of themselves as publishing entrepreneurs at all.
AuthorEarnings.com, who shed so much light on the mostly invisible indie sphere, were two years away from making their first report public.
Fast forward four years:
There are still indie authors making very serious money. There are also far, far more indie authors making comfortable livings from their writing.
Most of those authors don’t think of themselves as authors, anymore. They think of themselves as publishing entrepreneurs. They own corporations, hire contractors, and juggle responsibilities and projects. They curate bundles, coordinate cross-promotions, and manage email lists with multi-thousands of subscribers. They creative multiple income streams that include merchandising, repackaging, and slicing up copyright in ways that were never thought of, four years ago. Writing novels is just a tiny corner of their portfolio.
Indie authors now regularly hit the USA Today bestseller list and also the New York Times bestseller list. Indie authors have their books stocked in bookstores and discount chains like Walmart.
Spending cold hard cash on Facebook advertisements was something only big publishing corporations did, four years ago. Now, indie authors manage an array of paid advertising strategies, assessing click-throughs and ROI with calculating, clear-eyed gazes. Now, indie authors are the publishing corporations.
Indie publishing is here to stay, despite the cries of traditional publishers that ebook sales are diminishing. (Their sales are diminishing. However, their figures don’t include indie published titles, and besides, indies have moved far beyond just selling ebooks.)
The vast spectrum of responsibilities, strategies and business practices an indie author must employ these days has by-passed the scope of a single monthly column. For that reason, this will be the last post written by me in this series.
If you want to thrive in the indie publishing world, I would encourage you to broaden your scope of thinking and work:
Read blogs and sites that deal with business practices. Incorporate best practices into your own business.
Just like “real” entrepreneurs, work to make your business about relationships and contacts. Develop a network of movers and shakers you can reach out to and work with whenever you have another hot idea that could make money.
Build a business plan that will guide your efforts, and the efforts of those who work for you, in the direction you want to go. Your business plan should include an editorial calendar of releases for the next two years.
Learn the intricacies of copyright, trademark laws, and corporate structures in your country.
Learn contract law and how it applies to your business. Learn how even something as simple as a webhost’s Terms of Service can steal your copyright out from beneath you. Learn to protect your copyright!
Continue to learn your craft and aim to improve your writing with every book you publish.
Be prolific – as prolific as you can.
Aim to multiply your income streams in as many ways as you can. Release widely, and not just in ebook formats. Each new format is a huge learning curve, but adds to the bottom line.
Learn and understand how branding works for you. Use it to leverage your brand and increase sales.
Learn advertising principals. Adjust to the idea that paying for advertising is the new norm. Free promotion is worth what you pay for it. Make the mental shift away from traditional publishing practices.
Think of your writing career as a business, and your books as assets that have intrinsic value even after you die. Learn estate planning and how you can make things easier for your heirs once you’re gone.
Good luck in your future endeavours!
Tracy Cooper-Posey writes vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. After a decade of legacy publishing, she switched to indie publishing has released over 70 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Faring Soul was awarded a SFR Galaxy Award in 2015. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian Canadian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.