I spent last week sitting down and plotting ideas for my books. I get various emails, on a daily basis, from upcoming writers who want to become indie authors and I’ll be honest with you being an indie author can be challenging while there are many disadvantages to being an independent author they're also a lot of advantages. I’m free to work with freelancers of my choice and can select the ultimate look for my books compared to traditional authors who don’t really have control over their books. Many of them need to write books that will sell, but for me, it is both a privilege and a blessing to be able to write stories that come from the heart, without any expectation of it selling. I’m very grateful for this. So I want to write this article for you guys, here are some of my experiences as an indie author.
Us indie author can get a 70 percent royalty by pricing our books between $2.99 and $9.99. Anything below 2.99 is only a 35 percent royalty. I usually price my books at 0.99 cents during their first launch, and that means I usually make 0.30 cents per book sold. I sometimes laugh at how some people believe indie authors make so much money! Ha ha, we are broke.
Royalty rates for traditional writers typically fit in the 7 to 25 percent bracket, and there is no guarantee that you will get money from traditional publishers. Indie authors can enjoy selling in global markets and retain rights to our books. Indie authors can sell their books in 190 countries. There is no doubt that indie authors can enjoy numerous benefits, but there are a few challenges that I personally face as an indie author.
DIY or Find Suitable Professional for Help?
As a new indie author, it will be difficult for you to manage the learning curves. You are responsible for both writing and marketing and, sometimes, you have to take on the responsibility of publishing as well. You have to search for an editor and a designer for your books covers. It can be difficult for you to decide the title and complete the formatting of your book. It is essential to find suitable professionals to work with you. It can be a challenge to find professionals, but I am lucky enough because I have a reliable companion to work with me. There are various online platforms that can make it easier for you to find the right people, but I usually go by word of mouth.
No Kudos, Prestige, and Validation by Writing Industry
If you want validation and the prestige of your work, indie would not be a good choice for you. The name of the publisher doesn’t matter because people focus on the name of the author. You will need to work with an editor and publisher to get a professional look for your book, but the comments of other people will decide how good your book is. You got to be courageous enough to believe in your work but humble enough to know your work sucks. Lol.
Upfront Budget for Professional Results
While working as an indie author, you will be responsible for all the expenses for the book. You have to arrange upfront budget in order to give a professional look to your book. If writing is your hobby, you can publish without being bothered about looks and cover. If you want to make your livelihood in this profession, you should invest money to create goodwill. Your work should look professional to quickly grab the attention of major people. I would recommend you hire a professional editor and designers… Yes, people do judge a book by its cover.
Difficult to Get Print Distribution in the Bookstores
It can be difficult for you to get reliable print distribution in the bookstore, but it is not impossible. Check the opening of the indie author’s campaign or discuss with Debbie Young for distribution. Try to get bookstore distribution with traditional publishers because they are experts in printing and distribution of physical products. I personally like “Createspace”, and my books are easily available on all online stores.
Due to various changes in the industry, various authors are forced to use a hybrid approach to publishing their work. They will decide, by particular rights and book, and use the indie model for some things and the traditional deals for other things. This situation can be favorable for the indie author because he can make a particular decision and select the best possible route for his books. For instance, Huge Howey traded his print rights against Wool and did a few deals with foreign rights. AG Riddle also sold the rights of his film and kept the rights to his English book (like an indie author).
Full Responsibility of Success and Failure
An indie author you're completely responsible for your success and failure. The author can’t blame the editor or publisher; therefore, you are solely responsible for your work. It is essential to pay attention to your work to make it perfect. With lots of hard work and a little bit of luck, you will be able to find success in your work.
Reliable Platform is Essential
As an indie author, you will always need a reliable platform to sell books. I personally maintain a Twitter account, blog, Facebook account and have created an email subscriber list. All these things are helpful for me to promote my work. You have to stay in touch with readers without soliciting or spamming them. You will need a solid marketing base to live like an indie author. Unlike indie authors, traditional publishers have a particular distribution system to print books and get them in particular schools, bookstores, and libraries.
Indie authors have to spend more time at work and have to work harder than other authors. The indie community is supportive of each other; therefore, it is important to become a part of an indie community.
I wish you luck on your journey!