You have your manuscript ready for publication and you have decided to ‘indie’ publish. There are probably as many ways to ‘indie’ publish as there are ‘indie’ publishers, all I can talk about are the decisions I made and my reasons for coming to them.
I chose to create for myself the publishing identity: Avenue Press Scarborough. On reflection, I think this was to do with the hang-up I have with being an ‘indie’ publisher. I wanted a publishing identity to hide behind. Perhaps if I had one, fewer people would realise I wasn’t traditionally published. I’m not sure it was the best of decisions. I’m having to reveal myself as an ‘indie’ publisher to so many people to get their help with promotion and marketing, it feels like my cover is well and truly blown. I had looked into paying a designer to create a logo, in the end I decided against spending my money on this and I created my own. I’m fond of it, but no doubt there are designers out there cringing and gnashing their teeth.
I am glad I paid for my own ISBNs. It’s not necessary. You need an ISBN if you publish a physical book, but often the companies which facilitate this can provide an ISBN. I prefer to have ISBNs which belong to Avenue Press Scarborough and find it pleasing that the books in my series will have consecutive ISBNs. Whether this makes any practical difference I don’t know, but it feels emotionally right to me.
I decided to have both an e-book and a paperback. So where to go for these? With many misgivings about selling my soul to the devil (or at least a large corporation) I settled on Amazon Kindle for the former and Amazon Createspace for the latter. My reason? It appeared the easiest route to reach the biggest number of readers.
There are other companies which will do an e-book, Smashwords for one. But to get onto Kindle, you have to offer exclusive rights to Amazon, and I decided Kindle had the biggest reach of all the e-book devices. I get a royalty % of the price every time one is sold.
Createspace will also get you straight onto Amazon (with your page linked to your Kindle version) and deal with the distribution from that platform. It seemed more complex to get the title on Amazon with other print-on-demand companies, plus there were often up-front costs, which there are not with Createspace. I paid for a proof because I wanted to see the physical paperback before I okayed everything, but if I’d stuck with a digital proof, I could have ‘published’ without paying anything. I can order copies at an author’s rate (about half the cover price) for myself to sell and then I get a royalty % for every time someone buys a paperback of my title from Amazon.
I registered my title with Nielsen which means bookshops can find my book via its ISBN and/or genre. I will have to deal with these orders myself (since I am really Avenue Press Scarborough). I don’t think this will be a lot of work at the moment, however, if it does become onerous, I will have to look into using a trade distribution company.
One thing I have discovered since publishing is that I should have given the paperback a different ISBN to the Kindle. The one order I did get from a bookshop appeared to be for an e-book, when in fact they wanted a paperback, because the ISBN was the same. I am now having to take steps to sort this out. I cannot apply to be available through Waterstones (another form) until this is regularized.
Technology continues to change and what worked in 2014 may not be appropriate in 2015 or 2016. It’s always worth doing your own research into what is on offer. For me the main things which swung the decisions about which company I used was about up-front costs and distribution. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Amazon appears to have that all sewn up. If you decide to go with Kindle and Createspace, do make sure you fill in the required forms on-line so that you don’t pay US tax. These are easy to do, but, like all forms, need some attention.
The next ‘Confessions’ will look at formatting your manuscript for publication. However, this will be after I have embarked on the ‘2K International Writers’ Blog Tour’. I hope you will come with me for that. 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.