Grow Your Business - Indie Pub It
What’s In Store for Indie Authors This Year?
It’s January, so everyone is suddenly in the prognostication business. Just last week, Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, came out with his own extended 21 predictions for 2013, that included doom and gloom for Amazon.
While I’ve been called an industry commentator by a number of people, I don’t consider myself the sort of studied expert who can call the future, the way Coker and Jeff Bezos might dare to try.
Instead, my version of futurising is a list of suggested strategies for indie authors to adopt for 2013 that will help grow your business given the current trends and predictions hold true. These are a step beyond the basics.
Build Your Brand
Stop thinking of the type of books you write as belonging primarily to a genre and sub-genre. Genres and sub-genres will become like tags and categories: convenient ways to electronically shelve and discover books. Readers are already learning to shop by author. You are your own genre and each book you publish adds to your brand…or diminishes it. Make 2013 the year you really solidify your brand.
Perfect Your Product
If the raging torrent of books we’ve already seen published is just the first warning trickle of the flood to come, then you need every competitive tool in the box to maintain reader interest. That means raising the bar of quality higher and higher. Strive to continuously improve the product you publish: hire better editors, get better covers done, repackage books, re-write cover copy, redesign interiors, have eBooks professionally formatted…return a percentage of your indie revenue back into constantly improving the quality of the books you produce.
Make them not simply just as good as what legacy publishers print, because some publishers turn out terrible books.
Instead, choose to be better than anything out there. Aim for perfection, which is impossible, and when you fall short you’ll still end up with a far superior book than you might have settled for prior to 2013.
Diversify Your Distribution
This is going to be one of the big keys for indie publishing in 2013, if Mark Coker proves right. Don’t rely just on one or two retail platforms for the majority of your revenue. Diversify your production distribution as much as possible.
There are a wealth of retail platforms out there, and more popping up each day. Many of them will deal directly with indie publishers (Kobo, Barnes & Noble – for US-based authors only, Apple, All Romance eBooks/OmniLit). Smashwords allows authors to deal with distributors like Sony.
But don’t stop your diversification with simple retail platforms.
Also think about foreign language editions of your books.
And then there are different media editions of your books, such as large print and audio.
Build Your Readership – Directly
Promoting yourself via the social networks is pretty much dead and gone. 2013 will prove the uselessness of that form of time-wasting…and that is my one prediction for the year. Authors blow hundreds of calories marketing assiduously via Facebook and Twitter…to other authors.
The best form of marketing you can do is to keep releasing new books and let readers find you. When they do, talk to them like a real person and let them get to know you. When they’re ready, they’ll sign up for your newsletter, your blog and interact with all the other you-things you have passively waiting for them.
Your books will be your best promotion vehicles, especially if you’re working to have them available everywhere.
Build Your Professional Network
Indie publishing is losing its taint so fast that 2013 may well be the Year of the Author. Test the theory for yourself – or make it happen by connecting with industry peers, unapologetically and straight-forwardly. You’re a writer who publishes and an industry professional.
Indie publishing is a business, just like any other, and business people network with peers and colleagues and useful potential connections. Start building your own portfolio of business connections on-line and in your local community.
Don’t Stop Writing and Shipping Product
This is both a dead-basic “d’uh” observation, and a prediction for 2013. If you have been indie publishing in 2012, you already have a small advantage over the barrage of new indie authors that Coker warns is coming in 2013 – you have a backlist.
There are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of new indie authors start up in 2013…and I suspect there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of indie authors – both new and somewhat established—that throw in the towel and call it quits because of a wide range of reasons.
As long as you keep writing books and keep publishing those books, you will outlast those writers.
As long as you keep writing and releasing new books, readers will adore you and buy your books – more of them with each new release.
As long as you keep writing and releasing new books, your backlist will keep growing and your readership with it. It builds your brand, helps gives your longevity and financial security, and keeps your creative muscle primed.
Keep on writing!
Columnist: Tracy Cooper-Posey writes erotic vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She published 35 titles via legacy publishers before switching to indie publishing in March 2011. She has published 21 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated three times for Book Of The Year. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a retired professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com