So you want to be an ‘indie’ publisher? What will it take? What does it entail? What are the pitfalls?
There are some people who have one book in them – perhaps a memoir – which they want to write and pass onto future generations in their family and share with friends. Some of what I say may apply to these people; however, I am more talking to those who consider themselves writers and who want to reach an audience beyond their immediate circle, beyond their town, beyond their country even.
Like me, you have a passion for all things wordy. Writing is a constant companion. You have had some success in publishing, maybe a few articles or poems or blogs are out there, have found and been well received by an audience. You have tried and tried again to find an agent for your novel, and you have come to a point where you feel time is running out; if you wait any longer, your book will never see the light of day. Now is the moment for you to consider whether ‘indie’ publishing is for you.
I think the main attributes for an ‘indie’ publisher are perseverance and commitment. It is you who has to maintain the belief in your project, right through the days when faith is hard to find. There will be those days when you will hear the oft repeated, ‘If the work is good enough, it will find a publisher’ and you will give that statement more credit than it deserves.
On the other hand, it is crucial as an ‘indie’ publisher to not go it alone. It is important to garner support for what you are doing, preferably from fellow writers and fellow ‘indies’. They will get you through the doubt, as well be a useful source of information and feedback.
It is easy as an ‘indie’ to get caught up in how successful others have been and compare yourself negatively as a result. And even when you try to focus on what you are doing, others will ‘helpfully’ make the comparison for you. I have found this difficult. I have come up with a mantra which I attempt to stick to: I can only do what I can do. I cannot turn myself into the queen of facebook or twitter, and, I think, if I tried, I would be inauthentic and eventually found out. I like to believe that it is authenticity which sells. And if it doesn’t, well then I will have to be content with a hundred readers rather than a thousand.
Finally, the third aspect to being an ‘indie’ publisher is to get good at celebrating the small stuff. Celebrate (hopefully with others) the steps you achieve, don’t wait until you have ‘finished’. In my experience, there is rarely a sense of completion. There is always the next thing to be done and I certainly haven’t reached the point where I feel I can sit back with all my ‘to do’ list neatly ticked off.
I’m not great at celebrating – or asking others to help me to celebrate – the small stuff. Indeed, I can be quite dismissive of those who say, ‘well done’, or ‘you’ve done really well, be proud’. So this is something I am still learning to do.
In my blog next week, I will look at the essential steps in ‘indie’ publishing a book. Meanwhile, do look at my novel, ‘The Art of the Imperfect, the first of a series of crime novels set in Scarborough, http://goo.gl/5r9WBv.