10 Reasons Why You Should Become An Indie Author!
You always wanted to be a writer. You probably have that first novel written and waiting to be published. You spent a year getting it ready. You reread, revised, edited and polished the story a dozen times. You’re ready to send it out into the world and get some feedback; hopefully positive reviews. What are you waiting for? Ah—the acceptance letter by a literary agent.
Now that may be a problem. Literary agents are very selective on whom they want to represent. They only want the best, whether that is a talented newcomer, a known author, or a proven market seller of their preferred genre of stories. It’s very hard to meet all the requirements agents are looking for in an author or story. As I have said; they only want the best and the promise of a successful outcome. After all, this is a business and everyone wants to make a profit.
For those of you who made the case and found a literary agent to represent you, this article is probably not for you. I hope your story is successful and you sell enough paper copies to make the publisher proud. You are on your way and are now hard at work on your next novel.
The rest of you are still trying to figure out how to accomplish what every published author has already achieved. You have sent out dozens of query letters and sample pages to every literary agent you could find. In response, you have received a large number of rejection letters, some of which included helpful suggestions on how to improve your story and achieve success. Many may have offered the only thing they could—HOPE.
I feel for you. Never give up; that’s my motto too. Only, there comes a time when you have to accept the inevitable and try a new approach to get your story published. That is what it takes to become an Author. No matter the reason why you could not convince a literary agent or traditional publisher to accept your story, now is not the time to give up. If you believe in what you wrote, then I urge you to self-publish your story on your own. Become an Indie Author! What have you got to lose?
Some Background Information:
Let me give you some background information on why I am suggesting you should consider become an Indie Author. I seriously started writing science fiction stories in 2001. I figured it was then or never, so I started writing my first story called Alien Storm. I was working full-time then and could only write part-time. I finished the story eight months later in 2002 and began the long process of finding a literary agent. In the end I could not find one, but I did receive some good advice from one agent. He suggested I read other science fiction stories to fully understand the genre and to see what was currently selling. Over the falling years I read numerous stories and have written over 180 science fiction book reviews now available on Goodreads.com. Just find a Four or Five Star book review and start reading if you are a fan of the genre.
After many rejection letters, I decided to publish my first story through a Print On Demand or POD publisher. I sold a few copies and started writing my second story called The Formula. I used the same POD house and tried to improve my writing and marketing efforts. I was still writing part-time and learning the business. Although the costs for using a POD publisher at the time were reasonable, around $300, I found the price assigned for a paper copy of the book was uncompetitive in the market place. The royalties per book were also marginal. And digital copies were not selling well at the time. There had to be a better way.
How Times Have Changed:
Starting around 2010, digital publishing or ebooks became the newest way to sell and read books. E-readers in various shapes, sizes and prices are now available by several manufacturers that can read ebooks. Formats vary for each e-reader, but the most common formats are Mobi for Kindle and Epub for Barnes & Noble Press (Nook). Today, digital ebooks account for approximately 25% of all books sold on the marketplace; a 20+ billion dollar U.S. industry.
Several major players selling ebooks online dominate the market today; Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords to mention a few. There are many others that can publish and distribute digital ebooks in any format and genre. Some even offer free ebooks, which serve more as a marketing tool to generate future sales and name recognition for the authors.
What I am proposing for the beginning author today who has a book worth reading and no literary agent is to publish a digital ebook as soon as you are ready. Do not be afraid to give it a try. You will finally become an Author and learn a few things in the process. To encourage you further, I give the following ten (10) reasons why you should consider doing this and become an Indie Author:
1. You will have complete control of every step in the process.
The easiest and most effective ebook publisher on the market today is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) through Amazon. They will accept a Microsoft Word document and convert it directly to the required Kindle ebook Mobi format. You add a professional Book Cover page, fill in the required Book Details and you are ready to publish. They also offer a KDP Select program that offers special pricing and free ebook promotions during the 90 day exclusive period, but you cannot offer your ebook through any other publishers during this time.
Another good publisher is Barnes & Noble Press for Nook ebooks, which use the Epub format. They also are very easy to use and set up your ebook for self-publishing.
Smashwords offers Epub and several other ebook formats and 16 distribution channels including Libraries. Their How To Publish On Smashwords information is easy to understand and fill out. By uploading a MS Word document only, Smashwords offers the following seven ebook formats for most E-readers:
You can use other ebook publishers as well. There are many and each has a different method of uploading your stories and rules for publishing. Remember to pick a self-publisher that fits your level of expertise and willingness to help you get your ebook published.
2, You can publish immediately.
There is no waiting for your ebook to be published. It can happen within hours or overnight and the ebook is ready for sale. Working through a literary agent and book publisher or Print On Demand (POD) house could take months or longer before your story is told. You have probably waited long enough as it is. Just make sure the final document is as good as you can make it. Spend extra time reviewing and editing if you do not use a copy editor before self-publishing.
3. You set the suggested retail price.
I cannot tell you how important it is to be able to set your suggested retail or selling price and change it as often as needed. You can offer your ebook for whatever you think it is worth. Market sales will determine if you chose wisely. I recommend you introduce your ebook at a low enough price to encourage early sales. You can even offer your ebook for free for a limited time to create market demand. Just make sure your “product” is as good as it can be so as not to disappoint your readers.
4. You pick the countries to sell in.
Each publishing house will allow you to choose which countries to sell your ebook. The final selling price can be determined automatically by setting your U.S. suggested retail price, or you can set the price independently by country. Each online self-publishing service has its own list of distributors by country. Be aware of who they are and choose accordingly.
5. You offer the promotions you want.
With Amazon Kindle Direct Program (KDP), you can determine how to promote your work. I have tried many different promotions to help sell my ebooks. The best methods are to use your social media networks and try using free book services such as BookFunnel and/or Instafreebie to promote interest in your ebooks.
I have found using Press Releases also work well to promote ebooks and get your name and new ebook out in the marketplace. It is not hard to write a Press Release and each service makes it easy to prepare and distribute the release. A good list of PR companies can be found at BookDaily.com under Author Resources/Press Release Distribution. You want to find a PR service that gets your PR quickly on Google and other search engines.
6. You earn maximum royalties.
Unlike POD publishers, you earn maximum royalties using ebook publishing houses. You can receive up to 70% royalties off selling price from Amazon, up to 65% from Barnes & Noble Press and even up to 85% from Smashwords. This even makes it worthwhile to give away some of your work as Gift Copies or Free for promotion purposes since it may be better, cheaper or more effective than using other methods to promote your work.
7. You can make changes any time you need to.
This may be one of the most important benefits of using digital ebook self-publishing houses. You can update or revise your work at any time, free of cost, as many times as needed. Unless you have a good eye for catching spelling and formatting errors, you will find mistakes in most works after you have uploaded the story. Even if you use a word editor or have Beta readers, mistakes are inevitable. You may decide to revise your story months or years later to make it work better with your sequel. It is a very useful feature of digital publishing.
8. You can add cover pages and images as needed.
One of the most important images you will need for your ebook is on your cover page. I have tried making my own cover pages, but the results were not professional enough. The best promotional tool you have is the cover page for your ebook. There are many digital ebook cover designers and the price is usually around a 100 dollars. You should find a good one to design your cover page. You can even try updating your ebooks with new cover pages as time goes by to find one that helps you sell more ebooks.
9. You can assign an ISBN number for each book format.
ISBN numbers are needed to identify and track your books by format. Many ebook self-publishers do not require an ISBN number and will assign their own tracking number. Print On Demand (POD) houses will provide ISBN numbers for you in their pricing. However, I recommend you purchase your own ISBN numbers to distribute and sell your books independently in case you decide to change publishers later. Costs are reasonable, as low as $29 dollars for ebooks and $55 for paper books that also need a Barcode. You will need a separate ISBN for each ebook format. I recommend Publisher Services for reasonable cost and good service.
10. You can copyright your book.
U.S. Copyrights are important to protect your work for legal reasons if you ever need to go to court. Normally, you are copyright protected as soon as you write your book, but I always recommend getting your book copyrighted as soon as you publish, if not before. It is easy to do and only costs $35 for a Single copyright application without cover images. You can register a copyright online at the U.S. Copyright Office.
I hope I made the case for becoming an Indie Author. If you cannot find a literary agent for your story, don’t wait until you feel no one cares about your work. Be proactive and find out what the market wants from you. There will be criticism of your work. Accept it and move on. Start the next story and the one after that. If you like to write, then write and learn from your mistakes. Becoming an Indie Author may be the best move you make. If your story is really good, the market will find it and tell you. And where the market goes, so will the literary agents and traditional publishers. Believe me, they will find YOU and success will follow.
Good luck, Indie Authors. Let me know how it turns out.
The author lives in the Chicagoland area with his family. He attended Michigan State University and earned his MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in Illinois. He recently retired as a product marketing professional in the high tech industry and is pursuing a writing career. He has written eight full-length science fiction stories and two short stories. He has always enjoyed science fiction and plans to continue writing imaginative novels that explore the future boundaries of real science. He is an Indie Author.
Author’s website: Don Viecelli
Revision 2 dated February 2018.
Other Indie Articles:
Key Lessons Learned On How To Become A Successful Indie Author!
Self-Guide To Ebook Publishing - Practical Steps!
Self-Guide to Ebook Publishing – Practical Steps for Success!
There are seven practical steps to accomplishing a successful ebook publishing project:
1. Choosing The Right Ebook Self-Publishing Program:
Choosing the right ebook publishing program for your work is a critical first step. Fortunately for self-published authors, times have changed dramatically over the last few years. Online self-publishers have paved the way for authors who want to produce a competitive product even if it means a printed format is not offered for sale or a previous title is made available for the first time in digital format. The following three programs are the ones I currently use for self-publishing my ebooks.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is the biggest, most popular and best known of all the self-publishing online services for digital ebooks. There is no way around these facts. They sell thousands of ebooks every month. They rule the marketplace for digital ebooks. You need to have a presence on Amazon if you want to be successful.
With Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program you not only reach the largest ebook market distributor, but the biggest selling e-reader device, the Kindle, which uses the Mobi format.
Barnes & Noble Press (Formerly Nook Press)
I also recommend Barnes & Noble Press (formerly Nook Press), which uses the Epub format. They also are very easy to use and easy to set up your ebook for publishing. I publish on B&N Press to offer Epub formats for Nook device users.
After using several online self-publishing services such as BookTango, Google, Kobo and others, I decided to simplify my life and use Smashwords for many of my ebooks. The primary reasons for this were to offer Epub and other formats for my ebooks and to reach more distribution channels including Libraries.
2. Picking An Ebook Format:
An important step is learning the differences between ebook formats and which format is needed for various digital e-readers. There are many formats, but you don’t need to save your work in every format to self-publish online. For example, Amazon Kindle uses a unique proprietary Mobi format that is based on the Mobipocket standard. This format is not compatible with other e-readers on the market such as the Barnes & Noble Nook series.
Barnes & Noble Press competes with Kindle Direct Publishing and the Amazon Kindle Store. Barnes & Noble Press uses the Epub format, which is an open standard for ebooks created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The Epub format allows e-readers to change the text sizes for a better reading experience and allows the text to flow or fit the e-reader screen sizes as needed. One of the advantages of the Epub format is the ebook can be read on many different e-reader devices and can be accessed over the Internet and read on demand.
Smashwords offers the following seven ebook formats for most e-readers:
ISBN stands for "International Standard Book Number". It is a unique identifier for books, ebooks and other media. Each title, edition or different format that is published and made separately available should be identified by a unique ISBN.
Amazon assigns its own tracking number and allows you to use your own ISBN numbers for ebooks if you wish. Barnes & Noble Press also does not need ISBN numbers to self-publish your ebooks, but you can assign your own ISBN numbers as well. Smashwords will assign its own ISBN numbers for tracking purposes so you do not have to purchase any.
Not using ISBN numbers may limit the number of distribution channels or publishing houses that would be willing to offer your ebook for sale since many online book sellers in the U.S. require ISBN identification for tracking, selling and payment purposes.
The best approach is to purchase your own ISBN numbers from an approved agent of The International ISBN Agency based in the U.K. that coordinates all ISBN numbers. One such agency in the U.S. that can provide ISBN numbers is a company called Publisher Services, a division of Bar Code Graphics, Inc. For a reasonable price, they will provide a single ISBN number and an electronic barcode that can be used with any format.
Don’t forget to submit a form to copyright your work with the government. I used the Electronic Copyright Office (ECO) System to protect my novels once they are published.
4. Creating Ebook Covers:
Another important aspect to any ebook project is creating a professional ebook cover for your novel. Cover images are required for most self-publishing programs. Again, there are many online companies and publishing houses willing to provide this type of service for a fee. However, unless you are a professional cover designer and design your own cover page, I recommend you purchase professional designer covers for your ebooks if you want to compete successfully in this marketplace. There are many digital ebook cover designers and the price is usually around a 100 dollars. The one I use is called Kerman Covers Designer. I recommend you find someone like Kerman to design your cover page.
5. Setting Up A Royalty Payment Process:
In order to sell your digital work online, you will need to set up a secure royalty payment process. Again, there are many solutions available on the market depending on how you intend to sell your work and receive payments. Fortunately, working with Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble Press or Smashwords makes the process easier. Amazon KDP and Barnes & Noble Press require you to set up an Electronic Royalty Payment Account with your bank information. Smashwords sends Royalty payments automatically to PayPal. The main advantages of these programs are the payment security they provide, the ease of account setup, faster payment of royalties and customer support.
6. Using An E-reader For Testing Purposes:
The three online self-publishing services mentioned in this article all accept MS Word Documents for submission. Once uploaded, they will reformat the document to work on their digital devices. However, some writers like to submit their books in specific e-reader formats such as Epub, Mobi, PDF or other format.
In this case, you need to download an e-reader application to your PC to test Epub, Mobi or Adobe PDF formats before submitting them to Amazon, Barnes & Noble Press, Smashwords or other online publisher. You want to view the ebook and correct any issues before submission. I recommend Calibre E-book Management System with their E-book Viewer that can read or convert most common types of documents such as Epub, Mobi, PDF, MS Word and other formats. You can also download Adobe Digital Editions to read PDF or Epub ebooks. Both downloads are free. I also recommend you add a Table of Contents to your ebook to make searching and reading chapters easier for your readers.
As a side note, you can also read ebooks on your PC. Amazon provides Kindle for PC. Barnes & Noble Press provides NOOK for PC. Smashwords provides an Online Reader. The list goes on.
As I have mentioned earlier, there are many e-readers on the market and each requires compatible ebook formats for reading purposes. The biggest selling e-reader on the market today is the Amazon Kindle, which accounts for nearly 70% market share. For this reason alone, it behooves you to make you ebook compatible with this product. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to submit and publish your ebook for the Amazon Kindle Store in a matter of days. They are extremely efficient and provide excellent technical support.
Another popular e-reader device is the Barnes & Noble Nook. This device is compatible with the Epub format and other formats, but not the Kindle format.
7. Promoting Your Ebook:
There is no easy method in promoting a new ebook in today’s market place. It will require time, effort and money; and it is necessary since there are so many ebook titles available for sale. The good news is with the proliferation of e-book readers and digital content, the tide has turned for digital publishing. Amazon.com recently reported that they are selling more digital books than printed copies for the first time in history.
Unfortunately, I have found that neither Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Press, nor Smashwords offer complete marketing or promotion services to drive ebook sales. This requires much more effort than any self-publishing service can provide alone.
In the meantime, I recommend you find the best online channels to distribute a Press Release that reaches your target market and doesn’t cost a lot of money. It is also important to drive ebook sales using your own website, author membership groups and social media sites. Fortunately, setting up a personal website is easy to do and you can add URL links to any of the programs, online book stores, ebook publishing houses, companies, application programs, e-reader devices and agencies mentioned in this article. After all, it is up to the author to champion their work no matter how the work is published.
It has been three years since I last published this article. Since that time I have learned some valuable lessons on how to be successful at promoting and selling ebooks. Read my latest article, Key Lessons Learned On How To Become A Successful Indie Author. You will learn valuable lessons to help sell more ebooks. I wish you further success as an Indie Author.
I can be reached on my website via this link: Don Viecelli
Author: Don Viecelli
Revision 2 dated February 2018.
Other Indie Articles:
Key Lessons Learned On How To Become A Successful Indie Author!
10 Reasons Why You Should Become An Indie Author!
Several years ago I wrote two articles about ebook self-publishing online. I had decided to take my first two Print On Demand paperback books and self-publish them online. I felt I could do better than POD and save money. This was in 2010 and the digital ebook revolution was just starting. I haven't looked back since.
Recently, I decided to update my first two articles and write a third detailing what I have learned over the past two years on how to become a more successful Indie Author. I turned this into a Key Lessons Learned article. I think all three articles will help self-publish writers become more successful Indie Authors.
I don't define "success" as becoming rich. Very few Indie Authors have achieved bestselling status. I define success more simply as a self-published Indie Author who uses the right self-publishing tools and promotional methods to continually sell more ebooks each year. This is a hard won achievement, which I have learned by trial and error and with the help of other Indie Authors.
To make this experience public, I plan to introduce all three articles, two updated and a brand new article about self-publishing ebooks on my Blog Website. I hope the articles prove helpful to all Indie Writers who want to become more successful Indie Authors, especially those who are just beginning.
My first article is titled Self-Guide to Ebook Publishing – Practical Steps for Success! It was first published online in 2015. I have completely updated it to reflect my latest experiences in self-publishing. Post any comments you may have as this blog continues. I will reply to relevant comments or questions.
The Writers of SciFi group is encouraging Team Members to participate in Author Interviews, which will be promoted in the WoSF Newsletters, in Blogs and in other social media activities. The first Author Interview will be included in the next WoSF Newsletter mailing this month. These Interviews will help introduce WoSF Authors to their growing audience and allow readers to get to know these talented writers better. You will be able to follow up with each Author with your own questions if you wish. WoSF encourages you to do this.
As for myself, I have filled out the Interview Questions and included them on my website at the following link: https://www.donviecelli.com/author-interview.html
I hope this material answers your questions why I enjoy writing science fiction.
I've accomplished two goals I set for myself this year. One, I needed more good book reviews to verify that readers like my work as an author . To accomplish this I chose to give away thousands of my books for free. This generated over twenty positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I really do appreciate this. As an Indie Author it encourages me to continue to write, so thank you.
Two, I am selling more books than before. It is still a small number each month, but it is improving now that I have learned which promotions work best. It is true that one of the best way to sell books for Indie writers is to develop a mailing list. By giving away free books on BookFunnel, I now have a Newsletter List of over 2000 Subscribers. I try not to abuse it.
Finally, my participation in the Writers of SciFi Team made possible by BooksGoSocial has allowed me to find other writers in the same boat as I and share what we have learned together. I am now turning my focus to finding promotions for the Team that help sell more books, not give them away free. As our Team grows and learns, we will be even more successful in 2018.
With that, I wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It's been awhile since I updated this Blog from my website. Usually, I update my Blog on Goodreads, but since they post on the same Amazon Author Central Page, I guess I will update my most recent activities here.
I have built my Sci-Fi Newsletter email list to over 1981 Subscribers on MailChimp since April. This is an amazing achievement since I had less than 95 Subs before then, mostly family and friends. I participated with my Writers of SciFi Team Members for most of these Subscribers, then continued to build the list using free book bundle giveaways. I have given away over 3900 books to do this. I wish more of my books would have been sales, but I lacked the number of Amazon Reviews you need to make headway in this very competitive marketplace now. So I am using free book sites such as BookFunnel and now Instafreebie to build name recognition. It seems to be working and I have received several new book reviews for my latest stories, which I greatly appreciate.
One of my books, The Guardians - Book 1, has been selected to be part of two BundleRabbit Box Sets for sale; More Than Human, and Death Before Defeat. Sales are slow, but picking up. I plan to participate in more Box Sets in the future.
One of my series, The Guardians Series, The Complete Collection, is beginning to take off. Each Book in the Series has received 5 Star Ratings on Goodreads. This Series is only available on Smashwords at 25% off selling price. Each book is available on Amazon.
I have started writing Book 2 in the Nanomachine Wars series. The first book is just starting to generate 5 Star Reviews on Amazon. I am encouraged and hope to follow up with Book 2 with even more Space Opera action.
Keep your eye out for my next BookFunnel Free Bundle Promo called Sci-Fi Book Fest to run November 20 - 30th featuring at least 36 action-packed Sci-Fi stories from some great Indie Authors. Some of my Writers of SciFi Team members are participating in this Promo.
Keep reading Sci-Fi and check out my Sci-Fi Only Book Reviews on Goodreads to find a story I know you will like.
It's been a very busy couple of months in July and August. I have been participating in BookFunnel Free Giveaway Book Bundles that have generated over 1300 email contacts for our Writers of SciFi Newsletters. The Promos have been outstanding and the free books downloaded by readers has helped push my book sales to record numbers. I am still waiting for more book reviews to come in that should help increase sales even more if the reviews are positive. I have already received 5 Star Ratings from Goodread members for all three of my books in The Guardians Series, which I really do appreciate. I believe the Series is one of the most entertaining and exciting Space Operas/MSF on the market today. I am hoping readers like my UTOPIAS Series just as much. My latest novel, Nanomachine War - Book 1, is doing well, but I have not seen any book reviews yet. Keep you eyes open for my next Sci-Fi Space Opera Book Bundle Promo opening September 1 - 10th. For all Writers of SciFi fans, the next Newsletter will be out soon. Please, post those reviews for the stories you like.
Twenty-one (21) Sci-Fi Free Giveaways available from an outstanding group of Sci-Fi Authors. Selection includes exciting Short Stories, thrilling Novellas and complete action-packed Books. All stories are Free with the only requirement some selections require sign up to an Author's Email List for future Newsletters and announcements. You may unsubscribe at any time. BookFunnel downloads are available in Mobi and Epub formats with user friendly download instructions and Help Support.
Go to: https://books.bookfunnel.com/scifigiveaway
Just released Nanomachine War - Book 1, First Starship Encounter Press Release from PR Underground. The book is available at Amazon, Nook and Smashwords at a reduced price of 99 cents (75% off) for a limited time only. Read the PR at http://www.prunderground.com/author-don-viecelli-releases-nanomachine-war-book-1-first-starship-encounter-2/0097161/
I just published Nanomachine War - Book 1 for Pre-Orders at a special reduced price of 99 cents. This offer will be good until June 26 unless I decide to release sooner. The final selling price will be higher, so order now. This new book is a Military Science Fiction novel set in the near future. Read the description and you will see it is about first contact with aliens and what they bring with them that could destroy all of mankind. I plan to write two more books in the series if all goes well. Let me know if anyone wants a Free ARC copy for writing Reviews before I release the book in June. Contact me by email for a free ARC copy.
I write science fiction stories. I hope you like them.