I’ve been my own boss since 1999, after creating my freelance writing and editing firm Graceful Publications. I was still Heather Grace at the time, and I knew way back then that my dream was to self publish and distribute my own fiction works around the world. The best means to do that just didn’t exist yet (thanks, Kindle Direct Publishing, and a happy 10-year birthday!). It took many years before I would became a full-time indie novelist.
I’ve always been independent, like a cat. Alright, maybe I don’t go off on my own and come back with squirrels with half their heads eaten off, but I do like working alone. Yet every report card I ever got said I was a good team player. I don’t think the two are contradictory. I can have a good idea, but need others to help me implement it, so that the idea reaches its best potential.
That’s why I tell anyone looking to self-publish that they cannot do it alone. You may think it will save you money up front, but in the end, you’ll lose money, and not succeed nearly as well as you would with a team of experts working alongside you.
If you’ve been following my YouTube series, The Wealthy Writer, perhaps you’ve started a novel, and you’re thinking you can edit it yourself, and slap it up on Kindle by Christmas. Big no-no. I’ll put a coal in your stocking if you do that.
The only self in self-publishing should be the self that does the writing, and the self that makes the big decisions about your business. Everything else should be a team effort. I’ve worked with at least 50 people or services in the past four years; people and companies that have helped me get to where I am today. I try to thank them all in my books, I’ve hired them again, and I’ll hire most of them in the future. I’ve been fortunate to find the right people/ tools/apps for each project, and be able to work with them more than once.
Do not be stingy spending money on these four items:
Good chocolate and coffee: This is a no-brainer, right?
Hire a final content editor, and possibly a developmental editor before that. You should hire the editor you need, depending on where you are at in your writing career, but do not edit the book yourself! There are many good ones out there; just look for recommendations from other authors.
Hire a professional cover designer. One of the biggest mistakes I made early in my self-publishing career was thinking I’d learned enough from watching my traditional publishers design covers, and now I could do the same on my own. I had a lot of fun designing my covers, but they weren’t covers that sold very well on Kindle. They didn’t work together as a series, and they didn’t work as a brand. When I finally hired someone to “brand” me, I started selling or getting KU reads and borrows for each of my novels, on three different continents, on a daily basis! People DO judge a book by its cover. Accept this fact, save up, and hire a good designer who keeps up with current book-selling trends.
Pay to advertise free or discount promotions: It seems counter-intuitive right? You decide to put your Kindle book up for free or as a Kindle Countdown deal, surely you can just do that and make money off the traffic you pull in? You shouldn’t have to promote the freebie or deal, should you? Wrong! That was another big mistake I made early on. I’d put my first poetry book free on Kindle, and assume people would scoop it up. Very few people did, and then I’d wasted my promotional days. You really have to pay for great services that tell readers your books are free/discounted, such as Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy, Booksends, Fussy Librarian, Book Hippo in the UK, and then, once you start making a name for yourself and have generated an advertising budget, use Amazon Marketing Services and promote your books on a daily basis to Amazon readers already looking for books like yours.
These are just a few ways you can up your A-game and become a successful indie author. I’ll be sharing more tips with you in the coming months, so be sure to follow me here, on Facebook where I chat live every Thursday @330 EST, and to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Writing as a career starts with the self; with a passion, a drive, and a willingness to set aside some time every every day to work on your writing goals, but good end results? Those are always a team effort.