You can do indie publishing, but should you?
There’s no clean-cut answer. As much as I think indie publishing is probably the better route financially, I tend to think everyone should make the effort and go through the process of querying agents, attending a conference to meet editors and to throw around your elevator pitch. Just remember publishing is a business.
You may have a brilliant book that no agent thinks they can sell in the current climate. You sell the manuscript to the agent, the agent sells it to an editor, the editor sells it to their team who eventually sell it to the marketing folks. There are lots of stages for your book to get shut down, and every one of them has to do with money. One tidbit I learned from the Editors’ Panel at conference was that even after all this selling, hundreds of books fail every year and don’t earn their author advance (which in many contracts mean you owe that money back).
On the other hand, for very little risk you can publish your work indie style which is not the same as publishing with a vanity press. What is a vanity press? It’s a one stop shop that does covers, editing, formatting, claims to do marketing and distribution, etc. and usually for an exorbitant fee. You are paying them (usually anywhere between $500 and several thousand) to produce your book. You only get a limited number of copies and probably don’t own the files to ever take elsewhere. Beware!
Here’s the short of what we (i.e. my husband and I) did as indie authors. Paid too much for manuscript copies (appx. $30 each) only to discover we could order from Createspace for less than $10. We learned from the smashwords.com guide (here) all the ends and outs of properly organizing the file for digital release. We used Createspace cover creator at first (free), graduated to better images, and are still shopping for the software that fits us the best. Discovered an amazing copy editor for less than $100. Started with free ISBN’s from Smashwords or Createspace. I hired an inexpensive graphic designer to do my novel covers, and even with that additional cost the most we’ve paid to publish a single title (digital and paperback) was $220.
That said, what can be done inexpensively does not mean it can be done easily or over night. Dean Wesley Smith says:
Indie (self) publishing can be done. Just as running a marathon can be done.
It’s not easy, but it is a ton of fun.
– See more at: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=12290#sthash.csmbuAWM.dpuf
Where should you start if you’ve decided to go indie? I would recommend Dean Wesley Smith’s Think Like A Publisher linked here. Once you indie (self) publish, you have a business and need to run it as such.
The good news is that your story, as could only be told by you, will be in the hands of readers for years to come.
Kristin King is an author and publisher. Her imprint Three Kings Publishing can be found here. Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).