by Will Viharo
This is Thanksgiving week, as you’re no doubt aware: a time for either gathering with friends and family, or trying hard to avoid or forget them. In any case, most of us are counting our blessings, even if they’re outnumbered by curses.
For authors, particularly those that are self-published, this is also an occasion to appreciate the fruits of your labors in this golden era for literary entrepreneurs.
Here’s one lucky fact for each of your typing fingers (assuming you use your thumbs, too…)
1. The stigma of self-publishing is vanishing – there is some debate about this declaration within the professional community, but from a reader’s perspective, “brand name” value is diminishing in favor of content quality.
2. You can circumvent the gatekeepers – much to the chagrin of the establishment industry at large, writers of all stripes can take their work directly to the public, and let them decide what’s worthy of praise and posterity, which is how it should be, since they’re the ones paying the bills! Or not. Either way, your relationship with your audience is now largely in your hands.
3. Self-publishing is either cheap, or free – except for any money you spend in paying an editor/cover artist/interior designer (all worthwhile investments), the costs for uploading your manuscript to Kindle or other DIY services amount to basically nothing, meaning any money you make is pure profit.
4. It’s also fast – you can have a book out on the market in 24 or hours or less after uploading it to Kindle, a process which itself only takes a few minutes. Time isn’t always money, but like money, it’s always nice not worry about it. Impatience can sometimes result in inferior product, so there’s never a good reason to rush, either.
5. Your book’s shelf life is indefinite – since you’re not answering to some nervous executive tracking daily sales of your book, then relegating to midlist status after a few months if it hasn’t met its mark, and then, even worse, sending it straight to out-of-print purgatory for the sin of not being an instant bestseller, your book can stay on the market for as long as you want it to exist. You just have to keep reminding readers of its existence, of course.
6. You (potentially) make more money as a self-publisher – depending on what deal you decide upon, you can earn up to 70% per eBook if you publish via Kindle and price accordingly. That’s about quadruple what authors typically can expect, and that’s only for online sales; once you factor in cuts for distributors and bookstores, your slice of that pie can taste more like a morsel. Cutting out all those middlemen means more profits for you.
7. You can publish as often as you choose – your readers hungry for that sequel? They don’t have to wait a year or more, since DIY authors aren’t subject to a corporate calendar. Of course, the ease with which one can publish nowadays requires some discipline as well, since you don’t want to saturate the market with inferior product. Balance your output as well along with your enthusiasm.
8. Promoting your own books has never been easier – since social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Blogger, and Instagram are also free, these crucial tools of the trade are likewise accessible to even the most impoverished author, assuming they can afford access to a computer. Even traditionally published authors have to reply on their own networks for promoting their work these days, so don’t feel ashamed about tooting your own horn. The challenge is making it heard above the symphonic din of a crowded field.
9. You determine your own prices – this means you can not only raise or lower your prices according to individual market demand; you can even give your book out for free as part of a promotional campaign. Then if your scheme doesn’t yield expected dividends, you can instantly revert or alter it with the touch of a button or two, sans any delays or demands from a greedy or busy “boss.”
10. The only pressure comes from you – not ready to publish that book yet? Not ready to even write it? No worries, no hurry. As a self-publisher in charge of your own career, you make your own schedule.
So regardless of your current status as a writer, there are probably more reasons to be grateful than grumpy this holiday season, so accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and above all, make sure your book isn’t a turkey.
Have a great holiday, cheers!
What are some reasons you’re thankful to be an indie author?
PHOTO: FAITH GOBLE