Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Indie Publishing and Me

(Note from the Editor: With so many submissions from PPWC attendees, you are seeing a lag between conference time and the time we can schedule out the posts. But it's never too early to start applying our writers' insights into next year's conference!)

By Fatma Alici

I’d been considering indie publishing for a while. As is my nature, I started to read every online article, every book, and look into every resource I could find. What I got in return in was a lot of conflicting information. Some sources talked about how horrible most eBooks were. Others claimed the only real way to get your books to the public was to go to big publishers. Even more warned of the horrors of traditional publishing and how it would eat your soul.

None of it really offered any truly practical advice. I wanted charts, graphs, and evidence. And failing that, I’d like some down to earth advice. From what I already knew, this wasn’t going to make me a millionaire. But I wanted to be a writer. I never thought I’d be a millionaire anyway. What did it really take to be a successful indie publisher? How did one market? How did I even know where to start? Which products or services did it make sense to pay for and which didn't? What should I be aiming for?

Becky Clark and Deanna Knippling aren’t really that much alike when it comes to the ways they set up their publishing. That ended up being an asset for their workshop. They each do it their own way. That was the first thing I learned. When you enter indie publishing, you need to figure out what you want out of it. What are you trying to accomplish? What your goals are will determine everything else.

Together, they had great marketing tips. Marketing is the key to getting yourself, and your book, out there. And it’s definitely not tweeting the same book blurb over and over. Instead, you have to look at everything you’re doing to see what you can apply to marketing. Your author bio doesn’t help you if it is only about you. Instead, what about you makes your books unique? You might write a certain genre, but what makes your vision, your words so different from everyone else’s? It is the small changes to things you already do that are the start of marketing. The rest is realizing you are marketing director, your boss, your editor, and so forth. You have to know your strengths and your weakness.

There is a community of independent publishers around you. Connect with them. They can help you keep up with the latest new developments. They can give you reviews on services you might need. Let’s face it; none of us can do everything we need to be published.

The most important thing I learned was the hardest one for me and they mentioned it a few times. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to do it all wrong. Don’t be afraid of not being perfect. You will mess up. You will get things wrong. You will not be perfect. In the end, you have to accept those blows, dust yourself off and get right back up. That’s what indie publishing has in common with writing -- at first we were all terrible, and with time we found our stride. If I can make it through critique groups and rejection letters, I can take on indie publishing.

About the Author:  Fatma Alici is gamer geek turned writer who blogs about neglectful gods, magic gone crazy, tech that can save you or kill you, and of course aliens, lots of aliens. Each week I take a slice off these realities and put it up at http://www.fatmaalici.com.

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