How To Become Independently Published

Make your independently published work a reality!

Today we are going to dive into three distinct ways to become independently published. There are other ways, but these are the top three ways to make your independently published work become a reality.

A possibly independently published book open and decorated with fresh flower petals
This is the third blog in a series that will cover the most popular questions I often hear:

  • What does “Indie Publishing” mean?
  • Who are the most famous indie authors and how did they do it?
  • What are the three distinct ways to go about publishing?
  • What are the top ten questions authors should ask an indie publisher before committing to one?  You can go here to read more about indie publishing and go here to learn how you can start on adding your name to the list of successful indie authors.
    Today we are going to cover three distinct ways to become independently published.

    There are more ways, of course, but these are the top three ways to make your independently published work become a reality.

  1. Go it alone, by self-publishing. Many have and some have done well as we learned in the post about successful indie authors. Some of the tasks for this route are:
    • Find your own editor ensuring they are the right one for you and your book—an expert in that subject matter is key here and I’ll go over that in a later post.
    • Find your own cover designer, but not before you choose a trim size that your printer can handle.
    • Find a layout person that knows good PMU (page make up) for books. Self-published authors will want a book layout expert and not just an aesthetic designer or artist. This is a very important distinction! A book layout expert will be able to follow printer specifications as it relates to safety zones, gutter margin given a particular page count, and understand the digital printing process. These are only a few examples of what a good book layout professional needs to know. There are also some tried-and-true typesetting rules that the big book publishers follow, and SDP ensures these rules apply to all of our books. For example, choosing the best fonts for the main text and others which are ideal for display heads—and yes, there are distinctions! They’ll need to know when drop folios are used, consider running head content, typical order of frontmatter and backmatter appearance, and more.
    • Self-published authors will need to figure out the rest in order to make their book widely available globally and be registered with as many published book databases as possible.
  1. Hire a consultant or professional staff that can assist you to establish yourself as your own publishing company. You will enjoy 100% of the royalties, set your own retail price and pay cost to print your book as opposed to a wholesale or discounted retail price the online pubs give you. You are in charge of pulling your own sales reports, tracking sales, adjusting the trade discount, retail price, handling the marketing and fulfillment. This method works for some who have the time, trust the professional assisting them and have some knowledge of the process to ensure things are being done the right way. These professionals are hard to find as most are full-service indie publishers.
  1. Go through a professional indie publisher that will do it all for you (if you have the budget for it). Using their professional imprint, they will obtain the ISBN number, EAN bar code(s), make your book available for sale globally, track sales, etc. Most offer professional editorial services, book design and layout experts, artists, and other professionals in the publishing industry. There are many to choose from and they offer a wide range of different services, from the full gamut of publishing services, to a la carte services.

In the next several posts, I will address the benefits of using a professional independent (indie) publisher, including the top ten questions to ask each one before committing. In the meantime, I encourage you to click here and download my Top Ten Questions to Ask a Publisher.

As you can see there is a lot that goes into becoming independently published.  SDP Publishing is here to help you through every step to ensure that your book is everything you want it to be! It’s all we do and we do it all very well! Go here to see our customer testimonial page.





Join Other Indie Authors as a Top Seller!

Have you ever wondered how the top selling indie authors achieved their success?

A stack of books to show the power of indie authors achieving success with publishing support.
Today I am going to cover the question of who the top selling indie authors are and how they got there. This is the second of the four top questions I get; go here to see how I covered the first question below:

  • What does “Indie Publishing” mean?
  • Who are the most famous indie authors and how did they do it?
  • What are the three distinct ways to go about publishing?
  • What are the top ten questions authors should ask an indie publisher before committing to one?
Let’s look at some of the most successful indie authors and learn some of their secrets to success.

I recommend conducting an internet search for any of the following names: Vince Flynn, Darcy Chan, Amanda Hocking and the famous EL James. You’ll find that they all started out as independently / self-published authors. Most of them were rejected by traditional publishers at first. Now each one of them have gone on to sign big book deals, including movie rights.

One of my favorite indie author success stories is about the late Vince Flynn. For any political/military thriller fans, Vince Flynn and his Mitch Rapp series have become very popular. He grew up struggling with Dyslexia and was determined to beat it. He was also in the military for a short time, all the while voraciously reading all of the political and military thrillers he could get his hands on at the time: Tom Clancy, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille—all outstanding writers in this genre. He began to formulate his own story following what many in the industry call the “boilerplate” or “blueprint” for mass market books. He had a great editor helping him and was ready to shop for a traditional publisher.

After being rejected countless times, he decided to self-publish. He developed a sound marketing plan, starting with his local market, using word-of-mouth, grassroots marketing and taking advantage of the social media channels available to build awareness. He hit the top 10 list on Amazon and sure as anything the big houses came calling! He signed a multi-million-dollar deal to write the Mitch Rapp series with Atria books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).

Who hasn’t at least heard of El James and the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy? This indie author famously went through an independent publisher who helped her go from manuscript to multiple film deals.

If you are determined to add yourself to the list  of “indie authors,”here are my suggestions:

  1. Read a lot of books in your genre.
  2. Note who is publishing them.
  3. Identify the blueprint, i.e. the formula, for the books of a particular author through a specific publisher and use that blueprint to formulate your own book. These blueprints are tried and true for the audience for those books.
  4. Never try and write for EVERYONE. Choose a very specific audience.
  5. Hire a great editorial team—I CANNOT specify this enough. I’ll go over how to find right editor for your manuscript in a future blog.
  6. Create a great marketing plan (hire someone that can help you with this) because selling yourself and your work can be difficult for some. Hiring a professional to write your pitch can help to position yourself in a competitive landscape. If you are budget conscious, find out what you are comfortable doing yourself and what you should hire out. Then follow through! Start locally and make a name for yourself within your local area first. (More on detailed marketing plans in a future post.)

These tips can help you join these successful indie authors and partnering with an independent publishing company can help streamline and accelerate that process!


Indie Publishing – The What and Why! (Blog 1)

Why indie publishing is a viable option for authors

A sample book to illustrate how indie publishing can help you become a legitimate published author.

Today I will share information about indie publishing and why this form of publishing is a viable option for many authors. This post is the first in a series that will answer the most popular questions. Here are four top questions that will help clarify things:

  • What does “Indie Publishing” mean?
  • Who are the most famous indie authors and how did they do it?
  • What are the three distinct ways to go about publishing?
  • What are the top ten questions authors should ask an indie publisher before committing to one?
Today let’s dive into the first question: What does indie publishing actually mean?

To fully answer this question, it’s important to understand the difference between self-publishing and indie publishing.

Today, self-publishing for the most part means you tackle all of the steps yourself to get your manuscript into book or eBook format completely alone. If you have the time and knowledge to go about doing this and still be able to compete in a very competitive marketplace—meaning you have great content that satisfies a need in the marketplace, a defined target audience, a professional book cover and interior layout, you’re properly registered to the trade on all of the publishing databases and know how to compete globally—that’s a great place to be! If you have the time, knowledge and the resources I encourage you to go that route.

However, most self-published authors are relatively new to this industry and are not aware of what is involved in the entire publishing process. Many realize later that libraries and bookstores won’t accept their books because they do not satisfy all of publishing requirements. Some go from point A to point Z without knowing there’s all this stuff in between. Independent (indie) publishing companies are available to do just that—help authors with all of the A-Z professional publishing services. Some are better than others, so authors need to be mindful of that and choose the right one for them. (See future blogs about the top 10 questions to ask a publisher before committing to one.)

Today, many independent bookstores and even chains like B&N are embracing books from indie publishing sources and that’s great news for all you indie authors. However, there are some criteria for an author to make it past the initial bookstore pitch, especially with the bookstore chains.

Check back for my look at successful indie authors (Blog 2) and how they indie publishing helped to fulfill their dreams!


Building Your Author Platform

Beginning to Build Your Author PlatformFor indie and self-published authors, there’s a lot of talk about building your author platform and/or your marketing platform. Some people see these as two distinct entities while others may argue that they are the same thing. We won’t get into the semantics of that. The key is really just creating a platform, which means you have visibility, authority, proven reach, and a target audience in your topic area. It’s great to be able to start with your family and friends, but you really need to reach beyond them as you’re developing a platform. Social media and online marketing can play a role, but you need to be doing a lot more than this. There are four things to keep in mind as you start to think about building your author platform:

  • It’s about engaging your potential readership/audience.
  • It’s a process that takes time. It’s a good idea to start working on it before your book is published.
  • It takes persistence and consistency.
  • It’s an art, not a science, and it’s likely that there will be a lot of trial and error.

Jane Friedman says, “Platform building is an organic process and will be different for every single author.” It can be an arduous process and can be almost as much of creative endeavor as writing and publishing your book. However, if you commit to working on building your platform it can be extremely rewarding and pay off in the long run.

Determine what your goals are for your book marketing – Of course many people have the idea that they’d like to sell millions of copies and become famous. However, that might not be realistic. Take some time to figure out what your specific goals are for your book. Is your goal to increase your business, position yourself as an expert, educate, or entertain? Make sure you know, so you can tailor your efforts accordingly.

Learn about your specific audience – Once you know your goals for your book, start to drill down on who your audience is and what may drive them to buy your book. Hang out in online groups or forums where they hang out. Attend events, such as book clubs, book fairs, or events specific to your topic area.  Once you gain a better understanding of who your audience is, you can tailor your content  to increase engagement.

Create great content – Identify what makes your book unique and figure out ways that you can deliver meaningful content based off that. What is going to make you stand out? There are lots of great tools out there online that you can use to help spread your message, whether it’s images, video, blogging, or other social media. However, as we mentioned previously, social media is really only a tool. Once it’s set up, you need to make sure that you’re populating your social media profiles with good content that’s going to engage your readership and keep them coming back for more.

As always, if you have questions about the most effective ways to market your books, please contact us.

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) is a leader of self publishing in Massachusetts. We offer optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print, and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

A Publishing Renaissance: Predictions for the Independent Publishing Market in 2013

On the Smashwords Blog, in a post titled, “Mark Coker’s 2013 Book Publishing Industry Predictions – Indie Ebook Authors Take Charge,” Smashwords founder Mark Coker says: “Five years ago, back in the dark ages of publishing, self-publishing was seen as the option of last resort. It was seen as the last refuge for failed authors. Publishers controlled the printing press, the access to distribution, and the knowledge to professionally publish, which made authors entirely dependent upon publishing gatekeepers. Today, these three elements of professional publishing are fully democratized.” Further, he says: “Readers are our gatekeepers.”

In his year-in-review blog post, he says: “We’re entering a golden age of publishing. The ebook self-publishing revolution will lead to more great books being published than ever before. More books will touch the souls of more readers, because indie ebooks make books accessible, affordable, and discoverable to more people. These books, in all their diverse and controversial glory, are cultural treasures.”

These are some encouraging words for independent authors and those of us who work in independent publishing!

From Coker’s epic post on predictions for the book publishing industry in 2013 (there are 21 of them), we decided to pull out some of the most interesting points he makes regarding independent publishing.

“In the US, ebooks sales will reach 45% of US trade book market” – This is up from what he believes will be the increase in ebook sales in 2012.

“Follow the eyeballs: 2013 will be the first year unit volume of ebooks exceeds print” – 2013 will be the first year more books are read on screens than on paper.

“The current glut of books will become even more pronounced” – The sheer number of books available out there is staggering, and there simply is not enough time to read all of them. And, Coker predicts that “2013 will remind us we haven’t seen anything yet.”

“Tablets will become the new paper as E-Ink becomes niche product” – Even though e-reading devices saw a decline in sales last year, the growing popularity of multi-function tablets will likely increase the demand for online content.

“Global will be the biggest story of 2013 for indie authors” – He believes that the market for English-language ebooks outside the US will eclipse the US market in 2013, providing a great opportunity for indie authors. He argues that in fast-growing markets, indie authors have the advantage.

“Indie ebooks will start driving more film and television projects” – “If you believe that indies are the future of publishing, and that the world’s best and most commercially successful future stories will come from indies, then it’s inevitable indie authors will begin to fill the production pipelines of film and television producers.” Because indie authors have an advantage in reaching the marketing rapidly with stories “better tuned to audience desires,” they have the advantage over traditional publishers in this area. Additionally, “indies achieve instant market feedback in the form of sales data, reviews, and retailer bestseller rank.”

At SDP Publishing Solutions, we’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead in the rapidly expanding independent publishing market. We’re especially looking forward to working with our current authors and discovering new authors.

SDP Publishing would like to review your manuscript at no charge. Send us a one-paragraph book synopsis (under 300 words), your author bio, and the first chapter of your manuscript. We will offer you some advice and let you know if you are on the right track. Do you have a potential best-seller on your hands? Do you need some polishing? Or shall we go back to the drawing board?

For a more in-depth review, including a sample of our tracked-changes editorial advice on the first 10 pages, and a written, detailed document containing overall editorial suggestions, please send in your full manuscript, including a 300-word book synopsis, author bio, and payment of $150. If you are happy with the review, we’ll send you a quote to complete the editorial process. The deposit will be used toward the total editorial fee.

Please contact us for more information about having your manuscript reviewed. Let us help you become part of the independent publishing renaissance!

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copyediting, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!