I’ve been publishing independently (Indie) since 1981. Before that I kept trying to go the traditional route. I got a lot of rejection letters, probably enough to paper a room. In 1981, I decided to publish a recipe book of family dessert recipes. That is when I decided to just publish it!
Not long after that, I met a woman who asked me to collaborate on a book of stories. We wrote quite a few. She illustrated them. Then, we published them by photocopying and spiral binding. She also did most of the marketing and selling, because the books were geared toward a very small niche market for which she knew well and with whom she went to conferences.
Publishing options have certainly changed since then! But this blog is not about the mechanics of publishing. This is about why you would want to choose Indie (Independent) Publishing.
The key to choosing indie publishing over traditional publishing is in understanding how the traditional publishers work. Traditional publishers take on all the costs of editing, formatting, book design, and publishing. As a result, they are the ones investing in your creative endeavors. However, when it comes to one of the most important parts of getting your book sold – marketing – they don’t support that. You can almost count on zero dollars for marketing, which if you don’t market your book, you won’t sell it!
Here are some other truths. It costs traditional publishers a lot of money to employ copyeditors and content/development editors. Even if they use freelancers, there is a hefty cost. The traditional publishers have a lot of overhead to maintain. They are also in contract with union printers, which means that their printing costs are some of the highest. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of everyone making a living wage. But the bottom line is that traditional publisher’s costs are steep and they also keep most of the money from the sales of your book.
Here are my reasons for choosing indie publishing, especially in today’s technological world. On createspace.com, a 52-page color book would be $7.49 for your cost. You can set the price for $15 or $20, depending on your intended audience and what you assess is the best price point. You, of course, will either learn how to do everything up to the time you upload your file to the printer or you’ll have some out-of-pocket costs to hire them on your own.
Don’t panic! You are writing your book. You’ll need to make some decisions about how you want it to look, but all of these things can be done in your word processor software. Getting your manuscript edited is usually not a huge cash outlay. At the time of this writing, the average cost is $55 per hour. If you do your own first edit, you’ll probably catch a lot of typos on your own. If you are using a program like Microsoft™ Word, it usually underlines in green for sentence structure and red for spelling.
This article is too short to go through all of the processes that you need to know about writing, publishing, and marketing your book. However, I have two courses that are available. They are: 12 Easy Steps to Publishing – online; and 12 Easy Steps to Publishing – in person. The online program is learn in your own time frame, but the in person class meets once a month for 12 sessions.