The Book Business for Indie Publishers

When you decided to write a book, you might have envisioned selling your work to a traditional publisher and sitting back while the adulation and royalty checks rolled in.

But wait! The market changed, and writers have the option of publishing their own work through various portals, including Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook Press, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes, and Createspace.

There are many advantages to being an indie publisher:

  • Complete freedom to write the story you want to tell
  • Ability to choose when to release books and at what pace
  • Better royalty rates (Compare 25 percent of net sales receipts on a traditionally published ebook to 70 percent on list price for indie books.)
  • Ability to choose price and change it at will
  • Control over all aspects of book design and marketing
  • The chance to make a living writing and not just be a starving artist

Writing is an art; publishing is a business. Many new writers might not realize that the decision to publish independently comes with all the business responsibilities normally handled by a traditional publishing company. You are not only the writer, but you must deal with all the duties of your very own small business. You assume all the financial risk usually taken on by the publishing company, and you have to pay for it all before even knowing if your book will take off.

Plus, as an indie publisher, you are the head of every department you would find in a traditional publishing house:

  • Manuscript Creation and/or Selection
  • Editorial
  • Graphic Design and Typesetting
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Payroll
  • Legal
  • Customer Service
Your indie publishing office might be your living room, but it’s still a business.

Book publishing is a business, and if you want the best chance of maximizing your success, you have to do more than write a good book. (And that’s hard enough already.) You also have to take the business aspects of publishing seriously.

In my upcoming blog series, I’m going to share my experiences as an editor in a traditional publishing company, as a self-publisher, and as the publisher of other writers.  I’ll offer an overview of each department and discuss tips for handling their tasks as an indie. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

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