by Narelle Atkins
Last Monday I provided definitions for the different publishing models. I also posed the question: How can writers make an educated decision on whether or not they want to pursue traditional publishing or subsidy publishing or self-publishing (indie)?
Today I’m going to look at indie publishing and the market opportunities for indie authors.
Indie or Self-Publishing
To recap, indie or self-publishing can be defined as an author publishing their own book and controlling all aspects of the book production process. The author assumes the financial burden and risk of publishing their own book. The author is responsible for editing, cover art, marketing and distribution.
An important word in this definition is ‘control’. An indie author chooses exactly how their book will be produced. They may decide to do everything themselves, or contract specific services. This is very different to buying a self-publishing package from a publisher. A self-publishing package that provides a one-stop complete package with a publishing contract is a subsidy publishing arrangement.
Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing
A question many writers are now asking is would they be better off seeking traditional publishing opportunities or self-publishing indie books? The answer depends on a writer’s individual circumstances and their unique goals for their writing career. Is their writing a hobby or a career? Do they have ministry or business goals?
Is there a defined market in traditional publishing for their book? Authors of non-fiction niche market books may need to find alternative publishing options because their books are considered too niche for a traditional publisher. Traditional publishers like their non-fiction authors to have a platform so they can generate book sales from the author’s followers and pre-existing fan base.
Many authors now fall into the category of the hybrid author. These authors are exploring opportunities in both traditional publishing and indie self-publishing.
Time and money is required to successfully indie publish. Indie authors have to either fulfil or contract all the roles in the book production process plus market and distribute their books.
Amazon Kindle and Smashwords provide e-book distribution channels for indie books. Indie authors can upload a book for free and pay a percentage of the cover price from each book sale.
Discoverability can be a big challenge for all authors. How can authors make their book stand out among the millions of books already available from online vendors? How can authors find and build a readership? These are a few of the very real challenges facing indie authors, who don’t have the benefit of any marketing or distribution support from a publisher.
It is time consuming to write, produce, distribute and market books. In theory, indie authors have less time available to write than traditionally published authors because they have additional roles and responsibilities that are usually undertaken by publishers. The flip side is indie authors pay for all the fixed costs in the book production process, create their own marketing plans, pay a set percentage for distribution and keep all the profits.
Indie authors are effectively running a small business that could be lucrative if they can successfully market an excellent product to their target audience.
NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin's Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a 6-book contract. Her first book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release.
Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). http://acrba.blogspot.com
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins