Indie Life is a monthly blog post where we as Indie Authors share a little of our life.
So you want to be an INDIE AUTHOR?
When I typed the very last sentence of my book, I jumped from my computer chair and did a little dance. Yesssss! But now what? I studied the market, found my dream list of agents, wrote personalized query letters for each of them and sat and waited. I queried for a very long time on my first book The Iron Butterfly, but the agents weren't big into YA Epic Fantasy. I never even dreamed of self publishing until UnEnchanted.
After I wrote UnEnchanted (which was the third book I wrote total) I was querying to agents and getting manuscript requests. Yesss (Fist pump) but then nothing. Then I noticed there were tv shows that were coming out that were super similar to my idea. Fairy Tales were becoming big. So I self-published just to preserve my copyright. Not to actually become an indie author permanently, but just so I had the copyright. It was cheap and easy. I still had dreams of getting a publishing deal somewhere. But there was one problem, my book was becoming a success! It was hard after I became Indie to go traditional. I've had agents call me, worked with one even, but by then I was making to much money as an Indie author and the traditional publishing route began to loose it's shine. So now what? Now I have to forge ahead on the route of what it means to be an Indie Author and how it would effect my life.
So how do I become an Indie author and live this glorious Indie life? I'll try to tell you, I'm not going to tell you how a get rich, become a best selling Indie author overnight, because I can't. Even if you follow every one of the steps below, if you don't have a great book, then you won't sell. If your book sucks? Well not much I can help you with but if your book has a story, has a voice and has an audience, then I can help you. But for those that just typed "The End" onto the last page of their book. I may be able to direct you in what steps you need to take.
I will also encourage any of my fellow Indelibles to open and edit this post and insert their own resources. I don't mind really!
1. Write a GREAT BOOK! Figure that is kinda the point and self explanatory. If your reading this far along in the blog than you probably already wrote one.
2. Edit your own book. Read your book out load to yourself and try the best you can to catch your own mistakes. Thanks to author Lisa Nowak, I suggest using WORDTALK if you have a PC. And GHOSTREADER if you have a MAC. These program will read your book out loud to you. So you can take notes and make changes on pacing. I tend to skip over my own writing when reading and miss a lot of mistakes.
3. Beta readers- You are not ready for anything until you find beta readers (beta readers are test readers that will read your book and give you their opinion and even help with basic editing). Family and close friends don't count. You can find Beta readers from library groups, writing groups or even a few online. I found my very first Beta Reader Jane Hawkey from Australia. She helped me, a newbie, that had been out of college for 8 years reconnect with basic story telling and editing.
***(Always research each site yourself before choosing. Some may charge money, some maybe free, some change hands and policies)
Places to find Beta Readers:
PERFECT IMAGINATION (This site keeps going under new management, but I use it)
4. Repeat step 2 & 3.
5. Hire an editor. I've been burned by having volunteers/friends edit my book. I've even had fans email volunteering to edit and it doesn't work out. HIRE SOMEONE! (These are editors we've worked with, find the one that works best for you.) It usually runs me around 300-500 to edit my books.
6. Hire a graphic designer to make your cover. A cover sells your book. Don't make it yourself. Believe me the readers can always tell. Here are some fab cover artists...in no particular order.
7. Format your ebook, and upload to a publishing platform. Find the one that is right for you. Each publishing site has different ebook formatting rules and you will have to format your document for each site. They are all listed on the site.
KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING a.k.a. KDP (Amazon)
PUBIT soon to be NOOK PRESS (Barnes & Noble)
KOBO This is the BIG Ereader for Canada
ITUNES (Apple) Kind of a pain to upload to, you need a mac.
SMASHWORDS If you upload to smashwords and get into the premium catalog, they will distribute to Itunes, BN and KOBO for you.
8. Wait, I'm stuck on formatting my ebook? Hire an Ebook Formatter.
ALI CROSS (Yes our very own Indelible)
9. Upload your ebook if you haven't already.
10. Format your book for paperback.
You can use an independent print publishing to make your books into paperbacks. Using Print On Demand. It's cheaper than other paperback distributers.
10. Promote Your work doesn't stop. You need to blog, tweet, facebook and promote your own book. Because you are your own agent. You can do BLOG TOURS. BLOG HOPS and do give aways on your own blog using RAFFLECOPTER But I think going into promoting your book is for a different day and post. We could fill up pages and pages on what to do after you publish. But this is what it takes to become an Indie.
So this is what it takes and all the hard work we do for each and every single book we write. This is the true life of an Indie Author.
Chanda Hahn is the author of the popular Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series which includes UnEnchanted and Fairest which have topped the ebook charts in 5 countries. She also has a passion for writing YA epic fantasy. She's been a children's librarian, children's pastor and costume mascot. She lives in the beautiful but rainy northwest that is Portland Oregon with her husband and twin childre