After many years as an editor at a major publisher, I had a good idea of the ins and outs of publishing, so it was a natural choice to become an indie author/publisher when writing my first book of fiction. Going the indie route obviously doesn’t mean you can ease up on your ‘product’ quality. On the contrary – it’s probably even more critical that everything is up to scratch when not backed by an established publisher.
Anyhow, for my books, I’ve used a seasoned copy editor to make some sense of it all and to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and an illustrator to make the covers look professional. I’ve also spent a bit of time making sure that the layout of my manuscript ticked all the boxes before sending it to the printer and before uploading it to Amazon (paperback/hardcover/Kindle).
So if you’re an indie like myself or considering becoming one, I like to share a few tools/tips to help you on your way:
FOR YOUR CONTENT
- Scrivener (/ˈskrɪvənər/) is a word-processing program and outliner designed for authors that provide you with a management system for documents, notes and metadata as well as enables you to create various formats/layouts of your manuscript (€ 52).
- Grammarly is an online grammar-checking, spell-checking, and plagiarism detection
platform (€ 120/year)
- Oxford Dictionary of English / Oxford Thesaurus of English.
GET YOUR BOOK EDITED
- Scribendi – American editing and proof-reading service (75.000 words / € 1,275)
- Local editor (€ 2-3 per manuscript page / 75.000 words / 250 manuscript pages)
CONSIDER YOUR BOOK COVER DESIGN CAREFULLY
- Use Amazon’s free Cover Creator tool to design a cover for your eBook or paperback. The tool allows you to customize your cover with various layouts and fonts.
- Get a professional illustrator to do it (€ 800 – € 1.000)
GET A GOOD BOOK DISTRIBUTOR
- New Writer Publisher (guide.newwriterpublisher.com/)
- IngramSpark (www.ingramspark.com)
- Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (kdp.amazon.com)
- Local printer
GET YOUR OWN ISBN
- ISBN – Around € 12 per number (for example www.isbn.nl)
MARKET / PROMOTE YOUR BOOK
- Launch (preferably at a local bookstore – invite all your connections)
- Advertising social media (free & paid)
- KDP University – Campaign manager (kdp.amazon.com)
- Author blog/website
- Other authors and professionals in the writing community
- Author workshops
The self-publishing revolution has resulted in a flood of content on top of all the books published by traditional publishers each year – so you most likely won’t sell millions of copies. Be thoughtful about your goals and then implement steps to achieve them. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication and business savvy. Good luck with your next best seller.