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INDIE PUBLISHING

The Riddle Report 05 17 2021

These days the author has more responsibility than ever before and more opportunities! Indie Publishing plays a big role.

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. In a previous blog I have mentioned that there is a better way than self-publishing. You are about to see what I was talking about.

First a brief history. I 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 are also in the 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 are the 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.

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Indie Publishing is the author taking ultimate charge. Basically, it means selecting a printer or publisher to print our books. And there are publishers out there willing to be our printer and even our marketer.

The one I am most familiar with is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). CreateSpace, whom I was with, merged with KDP so now all my print books are with KDP. Plus, I have eBooks with KDP and a few with Smashwords.

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).

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 I may discuss in a future blog.  But in short, we will now be able to use the marketing tools that we used to buy from the publisher. Now we will have the authority to market the books as we see fit without incurring exorbitant costs.

Tip: As a publisher you pay the ISBN, the copyright, and other legal fees.                
Tip #2: Indie Publishers can get gross royalties of 60% or more. Even after taxes the profit is excellent.                

Example

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:

  1. We would retain ownership of all rights.
  2. Costs were reasonable.
  3. 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 expanded local marketing, being in the KDP loop will expand our marketing a thousand times over!

While the KDP name will be on our books, there will be no question of the identity of the real publisher which is T&R Independent Books.

Application

In establishing T&R Independent Books we also took over what was formerly known as RFrederickRiddle’s Bookstore. Initially, we closed down the store and opted to direct all potential buyers to Amazon and Kindle. However, in 2021 we opened a new store called T&R Independent Bookstore. In both cases, we have control over the marketing, including tracking of sales. Our initial relation with Amazon was the familiarity of Amazon for customers and KDP’s powerful tracking tools.

But our association with WordPress and Woo eCommerce has enabled us to set up our store using WordPress’s Storefront theme. It is another game changer and fits right into our Indie persona.

When using KDP, it enabled us to exercise several marketing options, some being free. Does this guarantee sales? Of course not. But it did give us, a relative newcomer maximum control and flexibility. And we still have them by our side with the primary difference that the controls, tools, and products (books) reside in our store while the eBooks are on Amazon.

When we started out in 2014 Indie Publishing was rather new and unknown, at least to us. But now becoming your own publisher is no longer a new idea. It has the potential to change the publishing landscape in years to come.

Not only the publishing landscape, but our future and yours. You should seriously consider this avenue. I can almost guarantee you that your book will be published sooner than traditionally, and it will cost you dramatically less. Quality is another story as it will be up to you to either do the editing or hire a professional.

Getting published doesn’t guarantee sales. But once again being an Indie Publisher involves great responsibility and great rewards. Being an Indie Publisher has great potential! If you are listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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TR Bookstore Opening Soon

The Riddle Report 04 9 2021

In my last blog I talked about brick and mortar bookstores and the fact that brick and mortar stores, bookstores in particular, are making a comeback. While that is true, Teresa and I are excited to announce that we are opening an internet store where book lovers can purchase our books at a discounted price.

While it is true that we’ve had a catalog allowing customers to purchase their book through links in our catalog, we thought our customers deserved better. Thus, we made the decision to offer our books, which are growing in number, to our customers at discounted prices and right on our website.

We have a grand opening tentatively scheduled for May 3, 2021, but TR Bookstore is ready now. There may be some tweaks needed here or there which is why we are going for a “soft” opening right now.

I thought it would be nice to let you in on our journey. I do not have affiliate accounts with any of the products I will discuss nor am I reimbursed or paid for my comments. I will tell the story in Steps.

Step #1 – PayPal

I mention this first because we have had a PayPal account for several years. While there are other vendors out similar to PayPal, we prefer PayPal. You need a method for your customers to pay for your products. One of the things I like about PayPal is that customers do not have to have a PayPal account. If they have one, then great.

But if they don’t have an PayPal account, they can still purchase their book(s) using their credit card. We accept most major credit cards.

Step #2 – Hosting Website

We currently use WordPress and we are very happy with it. Previously I have used Godaddy. And, yes, there are many good website hosts out there. Get one of them.

With WordPress I upgraded to Business. To have a storefront you must have either the Business Plan or the eCommerce Plan. We chose Business because it provides what we need and costs less than the eCommerce Plan.

Step #3 – WooCommerce

This is a plugin for WordPress that really makes a difference. It gives the look and feel of a bookstore. I have only recently installed it and started working with it, and I can tell you I am very pleased!

The fact that it is “free” is always a blessing. Along with that it is a powerful program that works well  in the Storefront Theme.

Step #4 – Appearance

Don’t feel obligated to follow the same steps I took, but I choose to have Step #4 be appearance. I started working on the appearance as soon as I could. And I have tweaked several times and maybe I will do more in the near future. The more I learn the better the appearance gets.

Step #5 – Add Products

I expected this to take days, maybe weeks. But the Add Products (WooCommerce) aspect has been very easy. You can assign your product ID (default is ISBN) according to your needs or desires. You can determine currency, retail price, sale price, inventory, and more

Step #6 – Product Pictures

At the moment I have continued to use the product pictures that I have also used in the catalog. I may choose to update the pictures to a more unified look and feel. That will be looked into for sure.

Step #7 – Cart

I have chosen to use the default Cart which is tied to my PayPal account. It is plain and simple which is what I want. More important, it is quick and easy for customers, and that is very important.

Step #8 – Testing

Technically, the store is operational right now. Customers can access and use the site. However, it is always as good idea to test the site. So, we are doing a “soft” opening which allows us to test the site and make any improvements necessary. If customers use us during this time they become part of the testing, but we are hoping that everyone will be happy and experience “zero” problems.

Step #9 – Grand Opening

The Grand Opening is scheduled for May 3, 2021. By that time all “bugs” should have been found and removed. It is also possible that at least one more book will be added to our inventory. We are starting out small, but intend to continue adding more of our own books to the bookstore.

It is also possible that other authors’ books might be sold sometime in the future, but these are unlikely to be discounted. There are a lot of decisions that we will have to make, but we anticipate are own published works will continue to grow.

Step #10 – Directions

I like to say that we are located on Internet Hwy at tr-writingservices.com. When people come there they will find our bookstore and our writing services where we edit, proof, and publish the book within.

I am seriously thinking of providing directions right on the site as a separate page.

Perhaps you want to build your own publishing business or bookstore. If so, I hope this blog gave you some encouragement and some constructive ideas.

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For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.