Going it alone

You gleefully inform your friends, family, significant other “I am going to publish my own damn book.” They are super excited for you, but eventually someone will ask “just what does that mean anyway?” You smile and tell them you have it all under control.

So lets check list it, courtesy of the “level up your indie skill set” panel at norwescon, so you can have it all under control.

Editing: (got to have a stellar finished product)

if you go it alone, all editing will fall on your own shoulders. This can be problematic because you wrote this perfect opus, it doesn’t need editing, right? shaking head with a smile. Get beta readers. Trust your beta readers. There is a famous quote about readers, they’re almost always right when they don’t like something, and almost always wrong about how to fix it. Think about why your betas don’t like something, then think about the right way for you to fix it and remain authentic in your voice and story.

Find a friend who loves to point out grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Buy them lots of drinks, dinner, or clean their house, whatever it takes to keep them reading your books for mistakes. Read your whole book out loud at some point, to another person if they will let you, or just to yourself to catch those little mistakes, that sometimes change the manning of your sentence. Oops, I meant meaning. Good think I read this out loud, huh?

You can of course hire an editor if you have money to spare.

It will never be perfect. But with e-book and print on demand you can fix mistakes as they get pointed out to you along the way. Which brings us to…

Book Formatting:

Code your own e-book, it’s easy to follow the instructions. If you need it, David Gaughran has a book Let’s Get Digital. You can check his word press site here https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/.

Create Space has the best prices for publish on demand, they also e-book. This gets you on Amazon.

The panelists all thought e-book was the way to go but that having some copies for trade shows and events was also critical. Which brings us to sales:

Cha-Ching:

So you have a book, which you are selling. How much do you sell that for? Almost unanimously the panelists recommended cheaper is better, especially for an e-book. One mentioned how dropping her price just a dollar upped her sales tremendously. You can also look at what others in your genre and length are pricing their books at for physical sales.

Did you know you have to pay taxes on that? Yeah. Consider getting a business license. It will save you on those physical books you buy to sell. Without a business license you have to pay tax when you order them and then charge people tax when you sell them. A nice tax double dip, if only you got the money on that.

You might also consider making a publishing company, an imprint, if you will. Some readers still judge a personally published book. The imprint avoids that and ties in nicely with your business license.

Art:

Your book is naked without a cover. Now naked might be a good thing depending on what genre you are publishing in but never for your bottom line. Use a professional artist for your cover design. Or if you are visually savvy you can do your own cover design and simply buy the art to plug in. Did I already lose you? The cover design refers to the way the cover is laid out. The title, author name, art, spine, blurb placement, etc.

When hiring an artist, do not negotiate on price. Expect to pay 180-3000 dollars for the art depending on the level of work and how well known the artist is. The price can also depending on whether you are buying the work outright, known as work for hire, or licensing the image. It’s important to clarify usage rights. Can you use the image in promotional materials? Can the artist sell the same piece to another author? Ouch. When in doubt get an IP lawyer to look over the contract.

So you’ve edited, you’ve published, and your book is no longer naked….how well is it going sell?

1500 total sales is considered excellent numbers for a non-established author.

the average book sells 200 copies.

What makes the difference? Well at the end of this panel someone asked “What about marketing?” To which the moderator laughed and said “I think that needs a panel all of it’s own.”

Actually, it had a panel all of it’s own. Luckily, I went to that one too. I’ll cover that one tomorrow.

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