In days not so long past – well only a handful of years ago – being an Indie author meant paying to get your books printed and shipped to you, and then selling them, copy by copy, as best you could at local bookstores, coffee shops, tearooms, markets, writer groups or even Tupperware parties.
It was tough going, but you got out, met a lot of people and stayed fit by carrying around all those tomes with you wherever you went. And you sold some books.
Then the world turned upside down when the ebook and in particular the Kindle changed what it meant to be an Indie author.
I’ll skip all the work that has to be done from the start of the writing process and then through to publishing, as we all know about the hours, days, weeks and months of grunt work that must be done by an indie author to get a manuscript ready for ebook publication.
This part of the process hasn’t changed much at all.
Change and more change.
What has changed radically, though, is what an indie author now needs to do to market and sell books, or more likely, ebooks.
As an ebook is, in fact, only a small electronic file that can be transmitted in an instant to anywhere in the world, it necessitates being online, engaged and becoming a rabid internet, blog, website, and social media user.
You really need to ‘sell your soul for rock ‘n roll’ as the saying goes, because this is the new book marketing world – and it’s almost 24/7.
You will need to learn how to leverage search marketing, SEO and become an expert at writing metadata.
You will have to master search keywords and categories. Above all, you will need to continually refine, modify and adapt your book marketing to changes that are always happening.
Decisions about your sales channels will have to be made on an ongoing basis between open publishing and Amazon exclusivity.
If you’re not committed to these tasks, you’ll fail. As simple as that.
You have to believe in yourself, take a lot of knocks and keep climbing up an ever-changing learning curve.
If you’re satisfied with publishing a book on Amazon Kindle and selling a few books to family and friends, that’s fine, and that in itself is a great new opportunity for many writers.
But if you want to succeed as an Indie author and be taken seriously and read by enough readers to put food on your table, you’ll need to be a fast learner, patient, tough, determined and have a bit of marketing mongrel about yourself. Are you ready?
Related reading: Self-Publishing: Expectations vs Reality For New Authors