Hey! What’s that button for?Tweet
I loves me some coffee!
Some of you are probably seeing this new button on the side and thinking, “Why am I buying him coffee?” Well, this button is to help me with everything that has to do with writing, publishing, marketing, and everything in between that goes on in the writer’s world. I’m an Indie Publisher under the L. S. Quail brand (ya see that nifty logo up at the top of this website? That be my brand).
“What’s Indie Publishing?”
Indie Publishing, or Independendant Publishing, is the term to describe writers and authors who do not go the “taditional” route of publishing. I’ll let you know about “Traditonal Publishing” in a moment, but for now, know that Indie Publishing is becoming a more chosen and succesful route for authors to get their work out to the world (after a great deal of research that I didn’t do the first time around). It takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, time on the part of the author (me included), and it also takes money to do it all on our own. But, the rewards are extremely gratifying, pays the bills, connects with so many people, allows authors to have the job (or “get-a-real-job”) of their dreams… being an author, and so much more. This is a life that I long to have.
“What goes into Indie Publishing?”
A lot! That’s just an understatement. An author decides what to write. Well, paper and pen is no loger acceptable, and who the hell owns a typewriter nowadays? So, computer. Yeah. A writing platform is needed. PDF and MS Word are the most common formats used in the industry to create manuscripts today. So, naturally, the author must purchase a format of there chioce (legally). Then, some would argue to be the “hard part”, writing the rough draft. Most Indie Authors start out (or currently still have) that “real job” that pays the bills and continues life, so time is money they cannot afford to get the work done in a more desirable amount of time. Then comes editing (Holy shit! Editing!). Then comes editing (Holy shit! More editing!). Then comes editing (Do you see where this is going here?). Yeah, you wanna talk about time and patience? This is why you don’t see any hair on the top of my head! Then comes seperating and numbering chapter, making sure all of the fonts are correct, the pages are numbered properly, and… oh, gawd!… the manuscript is edited. OR Instead of relying on yourself, you could just hire a professional. (Oh, yeah. There goes a shit-ton of money for that.) Maybe. They are quite expensive. Then you must chose whether or not you want to have a copyright (more money and time!). Get a copyright! Don’t care what anyone else says! Own that shit!
Now that all of that is done (you wish!), then it’s time to figure out who’s your intended audience… the readers. So, what genre did you write? Who’s the intended audience? You can’t call it a “Fantasy” when it’s a “Thriller”. You can’t market it to “Teens” or “Young Adults” (YA) if it’s an “Adult Romance” novel. So, you appropriately assign it the correct genre. Then you sit and write you short synopsis of the book (Boooo! I hate writing synopsises or whatever the plural form is!). This takes a large amount of time because (candidly), yeah, we wrote the damn thing, but how do we describe it to you in just a few, short sentences without giving away the entire story? Ugh!
You got that done. Now, what else? Cover art! You can’t sell a book without a cover. So, research “book cover designers” So many to choose from, and so many are way too damn expensive. So, “Pre-made” or “Custom”. “Pre-made” covers mean, for a lot less money, you can choose an artist’s renedering that has already been done to fit into a specific genres, but nobody owns it yet. “Custom” means that for a lot more money, you could give the artist a general idea of what kind of cover you’re looking for, and they’ll create if for you. Again… time and money.
Now you’re all smiles and very proud. You have a manuscript and a beautiful cover to go with it. Now, how are you going to publish it to reach your audience? For an “Indie Author” there are so many avenues to get there. For the first timers, there are so many “traps” and scammers looking to steal it all from you. (ATTENTION: If you have to pay to have your manuscript read, JUST SAY NO!) There are so many “Free to Publish” avenues for the independent publisher. Examples: Amazon Kindle (or KDP) is the most common reaching a huge audience base, but KDP has certain limits on publishing including exclusivity rights. There’s even Ingram Sparks that will help you get into many other places, including Amazon, as long as you are willing to agree to their terms and you have to purchase an ISBN for print and another for epublishing where Amazon gives it freely.
Now that you’ve decided that… proper formatting! (Oh, shit. More work.) you can’t just take your manuscript from MS Word and go from there. No. When was the last time you read a paperback that was 8.5″x11″. Paperbacks are generally 5.5″x7.25″ up to 6″x9″, AND they are printed beautifully. So, now you have to download your manuscript into a format maker to make it right. Amazon and others helps you with this for free. Otherwise, you’re on your own to buy a program, cowboy (or cowgirl). Then, before you download and hit that “Publish Now” button, you have to make sure it is edited properly (What? AGAIN?) and it’s nice and pretty.
So, you’ve finally published your manuscript into a book. Now you’re an author. Hooray! Well, you are a published Indie Author, but who’s reading your book? Your mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, and your best friend (if you’re lucky and you haven’t given them any “free” material). That’s it. You didn’t tell the whole world about your book. It’s just sitting there waiting to be read by nobody. Marketing is key! Yup, more time, and more money. You can try to post on Facebook and hope your friends help out (yeah, right), or you could invest in generating a professional looking website (like mine 😁) that introduces yourself to the world as an author and begin many time consuming processes of linking yourself into advertising, keyword, email marketing, and so much more. Attention: Do a lot of research! You’ll be glad you did.
Finally, you’ve done all of this and now you are hoping that it has brought you a great deal of reward. Everything you’ve invested in, will help you as long as you continue to put in the time of continuous marketing and generating more books because, as an “Indie Published” author, you’re earnings are yours, and you’re not losing out waiting for someone to pay you a “commission”.
“But what about traditional publishing like the ‘real’ writers?”
Now it’s time for many of us “Indies” to laugh because we are “real” writers too. We just didn’t follow the route of Stephen King or Tolkien. Indie Publishing wasn’t really a thing back then because we didn’t have today’s technology to reach our audiences. It was either sign a publishing agreement, or pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to publish on your own AND hope you sold your few books you were able to print and sell to stores to put out in front of an audience. Also, some names are just so well known (Have you noticed Stephen King’s name being dropped a lot here? Yeah, well. Big name. Big fan!) Not only that, the big names don’t need all the marketing we need to become known. Just say, “Stephen King released a new book!” and watch the magic happen. He makes a ton off of his “commission” because he’s well known. Plus, he’s into so much more than books now (movies, productions, anime magazines, just to name a few). He may still have write querry letters to agents to get a contract from publishers, but he doesn’t have to querry 50 agents and hope for the best either.
Some of us do. That’s too much bullshit for me and many others. Warning: If you query an agent and they ask for a “reading fee”, JUST SAY NO! Too much time, and no-patience for me to worry about whether or not the queried agent is gonna even bother to read my querry letter or even let me know whether they trashed it or not. Then, if we’re lucky, we have to wait on that “special agent” to conjure up a publisher that wants to work with us. Then, you have to hope that this publishing company is willing to help market, and create the best brand you deserve, AND (I’ve heard this nightmare before) it’s not an agent or publisher that limits publishing at all (ebook only, online stores only, etc.). That is also a good indication that this agent is trying to screw you and take your earningsfrom your book. Warning: If the publishing company is asking you for any funds up front, they are NOT a “traditional” publishing company. They are promising a small publishing service for a fee and YOU must do everything else to ensure your own success. Some are only doing the job of printing the books that you have to store and hope to sell on your own.
There is so much that could go right with “tradtional” publishing, but most “Indie Publishers” want to feel that gratification felt when the final product begins turning our world into a better place.
So, why the button?
I need coffee! Okay, it’s because, how else do I fund my work? It’s not like authors can file for grants, loans, or other means just like other small business owners. They don’t exist. This is a business, and I’m a business owner under the brand “L. S. Quail -Writer/Author/Storyteller”. All “Indie Publishers” are running their own business brands. The “Buy me a coffee” button is just a way for us to raise funds. I’m not trying to get everyone to pay my light bill or fund my family vacation to visit the big mouse in Orlando. I am using the funds to create a book that will make you proud to enjoy. Besides, I’m not charging anyone to read my shorties on www.shortstories4u2share.com am I? Thank you very much to those of you that understand now.
Fun Quiz: Which book is the largest selling “Indie Published” book?
Answer: “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Kudos to E. L. James from all Indie Authors!