Help me welcome the intensely talented Branli Caidryn to the platform. Branli is new to his Indie decision and I thought he would be an excellent encouragement to those who were debating on the road… and I was right! Enjoy!
A little about Branli:
Branli Caidryn lives in SoCal, where he’s been most of his life… except that year he lived in Idaho (where some say he joined a cult). When not writing he’s waiting for the Mothership to take him home, and often attempts to use Eisley as the distress beacon. He loves reading sci-fi, his favorite book is Ender’s Game. He has just finished his upcoming Indie trilogy PROJECT HORIZON.
Branli enjoys wine, hiking, but does not enjoy long walks on beaches (the sand gets in everything!). Like a mythical creature, few have seen him or captured his essence (no pictures!).
What Branli has to say: Going rogue! –err Indie
Guess it does sort of feel like I’m going rogue, against the current, nonconformist, and off the enlightened path. You say up– I say down! You say left– I say right! You say jump off a bridge, and I say… perhaps we’re going the wrong way.
Not too long ago I blogged about how I was wresting with the idea of indie/self pub/vanity press and staying traditional. My mind kept going back and forth, trying to figure out which path was right for me.
The nudge came when I read that Amazon sold more Kindle ebooks than print books. Then came the demise of Borders. We all knew the publishing business was changing, just how much remained to be seen. People like Bob Mayer have blogged about it several times. I attended one of his workshops two years ago and I remember him saying that traditional houses had to adapt to survive. Publishing houses need to offer authors more than their mass printing presses and market reach.
I admit, I was originally going traditional for one main reason: market reach. Publishers’ ability to offer the 55% trade discount entices many book stores. However, my target audience is mostly online. Also, depending on the route one can still offer the discount with some vanity/POD places. Then the work comes in your marketing skills, hoping a store takes a risk on an unknown author without backing from a traditional publishing house.
Indie has had such bad reputation.
The truth, pretty or otherwise, is that just about anyone can get published. Upload a PDF file on Amazon and SHAZAM you’re an author! “That’s right! I did it all by myself, mom.” That said, there’s quality to take into consideration. This is where indie has garnered those smirks or even grimaces. “Self-published? Ah, no one would take you?” I immediately have flashbacks of my 3rd grade Halloween costume. Parents wouldn’t get me the expensive dinosaur costume, instead trying to get me to settle for a cape and domino mask. “Fine! I’ll make it myself!” Three rolls of aluminum foil, two paper boxes, and one sad trip down the street in half costume certainly taught me a lesson.
I admit I’ve been the victim of one, two (gawd, maybe even four) poorly written indie books. The mistakes were simple: grammar errors, improper word usage, and even the occasional spelling error. Yikes! Someone was just too eager to hit ‘submit.’
Learning from this experience, I vowed to do everything to NOT let this happen to me. I’m not a large publishing house, but I am aware of the many duties involved. For one, I have my eyes set on a few established editors. Which one will I be using? All of them! Each one is already assigned a duty in my head, from manuscript critique, minor editing, and finally copyediting. I believe in keeping fresh eyes on my work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed the occasional spelling error or plot mistake. I get cross-eyed or my brain automatically fills in the blanks, knowing what is supposed to happen. Same goes with BETA readers. Once my MS has had those virgin eyes, it needs to move on to the next.
The same goes for other aspects of my self-publishing endeavor like book cover designers and illustrators. DeviantArt.Com is a major outlet for artists. If you search the individual profiles you’ll find many professional artists that have experience in book covers. (I even found artists from the recent movie THOR on there!)
There are many resources out there for self-publishers. One must sift through the masses. Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual holds a WEALTH of information on the subject. From tips like making sure your MS is polished, writing down a business plan, and even some marketing ideas, it has been referred to as the Bible of self-publishing. Granted, some of the marketing suggestions are outdated (e.g. no facebook or even mention of twitter! #Tragic), and some of the companies mentioned have changed location, but a quick search on the Internet fills in the gaps. For marketing, I’m mostly reading up on Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success by McCray, Carolyn; Scott, Amber; Thompson, Rachel. It’s on kindle for $2.99 as of this posting and has some very useful advice. Another helpful book is Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters.
Going Indie does not mean going at it alone. Take the responsibilities that come with all the roles, but not the burden. Hire help, (Yes, pay for an editor, pay for a book illustrator/designer) outsource the work that you simply cannot do well.
With Amazon ebooks going up, and the closing of book stores like Borders, I’m going indie. It’s not an easy bandwagon, but it’s the choice I’ve made. Deciding to go indie or traditional is a personal choice every writer must make. Just remember, it’s not just about seeing your name on the cover of a book. It’s also about what people will think of your name after they’ve finished your book.