Indie Authors Handbook

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In essence, an author needs to view publishing on the big scale. Image via Pixabay 3. Know your audience and categories One of the mistakes I see made by traditional publishers and indie authors alike is flinging their books out into the void and expecting them to sell. It's more complicated than writing fantasy for young adults.

2. Treat books as business

You need to dig deeper. What fantasy subgenres does your novel fit into? What niche categories could it be classed under? Once you know these things, and know them well, you'll be able to target the most appropriate reviewers and book marketing services. Image via Pexels 4. Publish a series if you can If you check out the bestselling indie authors, you'll notice they have at least one thing in common: they mostly publish series. There's a reason for that. There are numerous benefits to writing a series as opposed to a standalone novel : Series boost backlist sales Series help build an audience by making readers familiar with an author brand Series help to provide you with a clear structure and goals to work towards in your publishing career A well-developed series can give you opportunities for expanding into spin-offs etc.

If you build a readership with a novel, the best thing you can possibly do is continue that story or that world in another book, and another. In the age of binge-watching, people are devouring books as well — there's something addictive about a really well-written series , and the most successful authors are taking full advantage of that. Image via lum3n.

Price competitively I've talked in depth about pricing in a previous post , but the importance of competitive pricing must be stressed here as well. The beauty of indie publishing is that the pricing of your book is entirely in your control. You can change it as often as you like; you can experiment with what works and what looks good alongside competing titles; you can change it to run special deals. The most successful indie authors are constantly assessing their pricing. Is it competitive enough? Is if fair? Does it enable you to partake in particular services? These are the things six-figure income authors are assessing regularly.

Image via Pexels 6. Build a mailing list There has been so much talk lately about over-saturating people's inboxes, and how email lists aren't as valuable as they once were The thing is, if you treat your email list and your email marketing right, this is simply not true. An email list can be one of the most valuable assets an author has.

The Internet Marketing Formula

If you build a list that's relevant to your niche, and treat your subscribers with consideration and respect, it can help you not only stay connected to readers, but also sell more books in the long run. Image via Pexels 7. Prioritise your ebooks I know we all have this romantic notion about being published in print, and that's fine — more than fine, even. I'm not saying you shouldn't do print books. Ebooks have a lower production and logistic cost to you.

There's no printing or shipping involved whatsoever, which means that your ROI is much higher. However, the point remains the same: print books have a high production cost. You also need to factor in the time and energy it takes if you're doing your own postage and handling, invoicing, warehousing, e-store management and customer service. Ebooks provide no such complications or extensive management. Generally, an ebook file is uploaded to an e-retailer like Amazon, and they distribute the book for you as people purchase it. While the RRP of the product is usually lower than a paperback, and the retailer still takes a cut, ebooks have proven to be far more profitable than their print counterparts.


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For this reason, it makes business sense to prioritise this format when paying for advertising and marketing services. You're far more likely to get a higher ROI than you would if you poured the same money into advertising your print books. Image via picjumbo. Experiment with publishing exclusively AND widely In case you're not familiar with this terminology, here's a quick explanation: Exclusive: Publishing and distributing through one single platform.

Life as an Indie Author in 5 Words or Less

Usually this is in reference to Amazon. Wide: Publishing and distributing across a variety of platforms, such as: Amazon, iBooks, Nook etc. There are benefits to both of these distribution options. For example, being exclusive to Amazon allows you to run various promotions such as Kindle Countdown Deals and free days.

Publishing widely, on the other hand, means that your income stream is diversified you're not putting all your eggs in one basket , and you'll be able to reach readers who don't have Kindles. Best practice is to experiment with what works for each individual book, and continue to experiment long after the book's release. You may decide to distribute exclusively through Amazon for the first six months, then after the initial release period, go wide. The point is that the authors who are doing well are constantly analysing where their sales are coming from, and how to utilise the platforms available to them.

Image via Pixabay 9. Stay immersed in the industry Like anyone who's good at their job, an author should always be aware of the ongoing changes and developments in their industry. This goes for the indie and traditional publishing industries alike. You should always stay on top of the latest news, bestseller charts, new tools and services. This will mean that you're never caught off-guard when there are changes to platforms and services you use. Most importantly, you'll know how these will affect your sales, and how you can either take advantage of developments, or adapt your current tactics to avoid a dip.

Staying immersed in the industry also means that you can connect with like-minded people and potentially learn from them. Image via Kaboompics Be smart about purchasing services If you're doing self-publishing right, you'll have a budget dedicated entirely to book promotion. The main tax savings of being an S corporation is the ability to minimize the Medicare tax.

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Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Indie Author?

In recent years, the Medicare tax was increased by the Affordable Care Act, which can make the S corporation a worthwhile option in some cases. All wage earners and self-employed people pay Medicare tax, which is withheld from paychecks and equates to about 1. LLCs, while also popular, do not afford the same benefit, because their income is subject to the Medicare tax.

With the Subchapter S corporation, there are no corporate-level taxes. I wanted the traditional protection of a corporation—and wanted to avoid paying taxes at both the corporate and individual level. Simple is better. The benefits of setting up a business are less pronounced than they once were, however. For many indie authors, the advantages of operating as a business go beyond tax savings. Patrice Tartt, a writing coach and self-published author of several novels and how-to books, set up Patrice Tartt Publishing LLC because it would it allow her to register the ISBNs of her books under her own LLC, rather than through the printer, and she thought it gave her greater control over her publishing decisions.

Davis says the added legitimacy of a business entity makes for an attractive option. This is important, especially when pitching stories to editors or submitting books for reviews. An LLC or S corp can also allow writers anonymity—say, an executive who writes mystery novels in her free time and worries that it might not go over well with the CEO of her company.

For some people, it is money well spent. An S corp or LLC can also mean protection from lawsuits. A business entity serves a similar purpose for a self-published author. This prevents parties from naming you individually in any litigation. It also prevents parties awarded damages in any litigation from coming after your personal assets. One of the biggest drawbacks to upgrading from a sole proprietorship is that operating as an entity can present significantly more paperwork, including additional tax forms and annual state filings along with filing fees.

Considering how perplexing many government and tax forms can be, and the time and money required in keeping them straight, Sedwick recommends that authors avoid setting their businesses up as entities until they are operating at a consistent profit. There are three main types of business entities that self-published authors can consider:. Sole proprietorship: The simplest option for a self-published author, this involves no paperwork, corporate charters, filings, or filing fees. But on the flip side, it does not protect an author from liability, so he or she can be sued personally, whether for copyright infringement, a contract dispute, or anything else.

Publishing: Can Indie Authors Dispense with The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook?

Limited liability company: As its name implies, an LLC offers protection from liability for an author—though less protection than would be provided by full incorporation. LLCs allow authors to set up a separate legal entity, protecting their personal assets in the case of lawsuits. It also requires less paperwork than full incorporation. But it also requires the appointment of a board of directors and annual shareholder meetings.