Welcome to Ron’s Tuesday’s Tip. Every Tuesday I will share a tip with you. This weeks blog is a followup to last Friday’s blog Do You Desire to be an Independent Author? This week it’s about:Indie Publishing.
These days the author has more responsibility than ever before – and more opportunities!
In days gone by the author wrote a novel, submitted it to a publisher, and once accepted, relaxed. But that is no longer true!
There are all kinds of publishers out there. But here I want to present you with a different perspective. There are three kinds of publishing: Traditional, Self, and Indie. You are about to see what I was talking about.
This is basically represented by the big publishing houses. It is a far cry from the publishers your mom and pop knew, although some have the same name. These publishers are in almost total control.
Nowadays many of them require you to have an agent before they’ll look at your manuscript. That’s a red flag to me. Nothing against agents, but the whole experience of searching for an agent, finding the right agent, being rejected or accepted by the agent, and then submitting my work to a publisher is time consuming, can be expensive, and does not guarantee being published.
As for the publishers themselves, they control just about everything from submission, to editing, and to publishing. They’ll help you with marketing, but you are ultimately responsible for that. Unless you already are well-known.
Traditional publishers do pay royalties which are usually based on reaching certain predetermined book sales goals.
Although the name suggests you are in charge it really means you pay up front to have your book published. Thus, some people refer to it as vanity publishing. It has come a long way, but they still have control over the most important aspects of the publishing experience.
And you still are responsible for the marketing.
This is the subject of today’s blog.
But first a brief history. I self-published my first novel in 2003. Since then I have written a number of books. The first four books were all published by self-publishers. But in 2013 I discovered Smashwords.com and published my first eBook. (My other books were also in eBook format, but the publisher did this because I paid for it.)
This discovery has changed my life and now I am about to reveal to you what I believe is a better way to publish.
That better way is simply: You as an Indie publisher!
At the time there was almost no information on the subject but today there’s considerable. It is called Indie Publishing which tells you right off the bat that as a publisher you are independent! This is an important distinction.
Indie Publishing is the author taking ultimate charge. Basically, it means selecting a printer or publisher to print your books. And there are publishers out there willing to be your printer and even your marketer.
The one I am most familiar with is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). CreateSpace whom I was with previously merged with KDP, so now all my print books are with KDP. Plus, I have eBooks with KDP. I also have used Smashwords for e-Books, but they are not my primary.
I will discuss KDP more in the example. I have also located at least one other printer called Best Value Copy. They are an online printing service that provides quality work at reasonable prices. However, I have not used them or any other publishing platform because KDP has proven to me that they are very capable and affordable.
In looking for a quality printer you can try your own neighborhood. For example, there is a Staples store not far from us that gives business discounts to authors using their printing services. That suggests the possibility that other office supply stores may offer the same services.
But assuming the role of publisher is more than just getting a printer. You literally take on the responsibilities of a publisher! You may have to seek your own ISBN, copyright, and other important items.
In our case, we listed ourselves with the State of Florida with a DBA (Doing Business As) name of T&R Independent Books. Because we use KDP we are able to use their ISBNs which are free, although they also sell other ISBNs for a modest price. Copyrights are free.
It is both exciting and scary. But the rewards can be awesome. For example, a self-publisher may give us anywhere from 8% to 40% royalty depending on volume of books sold. But as our own publisher the percentage jumps up to 60% and more (before costs and taxes). And no predetermined sales goals; you get the royalties from the start.
In addition to that, we have virtual control over every aspect. It is true that with Kindle Direct some control lies with them, but it is also true that such controls are limited.
In establishing our own publishing business we also took on the marketing of the books, which is another subject. But in short, we are now able to use the marketing tools that we used to buy from the publisher. Now we have the authority to market the books as we see fit without incurring exorbitant costs.
Tip #1: As an Indie publisher you pay for the ISBN (if necessary), the copyright, and other legal fees.
Tip #2: Indie publishers can get gross royalties of 60% and more. Even after taxes the profits are excellent.
I promised to discuss Kindle Direct Publishing and here we go.
When my wife first expressed the desire to start writing her own novels it fitted right in with the idea of T&R Independent Books. So, we immediately began researching what the costs would be to publish.
We searched the internet for both local and online printers. Eventually we settled on KDP because of three primary factors:
- We would retain ownership of all rights.
- Costs were reasonable.
- KDP would provide us worldwide marketing.
(At this time we were dealing with CreateSpace but in 2018 they merged with KDP. KDP is virtually the same as CreateSpace and both are owned by Amazon.)
These are career changing factors. Although we have and will do our own marketing, being in the KDP loop will expand our marketing a thousand times over!
While their imprint will be on our books, there will be no question of the identity of the real publisher which is T&R Independent Books.
In establishing T&R Independent Books we also took over what was formerly known as RFrederickRiddle’s Bookstore. But instead of marketing our books from our own website (an excellent marketing option) we closed down the store and opted to direct all potential buyers to Amazon and Kindle. We still have control over the marketing, including the tracking of sales but the customer has the familiarity of buying on Amazon. Plus, KDP has powerful tracking tools!
KDP enables us to exercise several marketing options, some being free. Does this guarantee sales? Of course not. But it does give us maximum control and flexibility.
Becoming your own publisher is no longer a new idea. And it has the potential to change the publishing landscape in years to come. You should seriously consider this avenue.
For information on TR Writing Services contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).
VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at email@example.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.