|Indie Life blog hop -every 2nd Wednesday of each month.|
As an indie author, I try to read anything and everything that can offer insight to make me a better writer and turn my books into better products for my readers. Fellow writers and authors know exactly what it takes to turn our manuscripts into a real boy rather than a wooden toy. Readers, however, should also understand the indie process.
I was reading reviews the other day for a series that I love. It just happens to be published in short installations rather than a more traditional book length. When I got to a poor review, the reader loved the storyline, but was disgruntled that the installations were short and posed questions like, "How greedy is this author? How much money will she keep demanding by chopping up her book to sell bit by bit?"
All I could think was, Wow. I wasn't angry with the reader. I was simply reminded -like a slap to the face with a very heavy dictionary- of just how little readers actually know about the indie process.
Normally, doing something huge "takes a village." But when you're an indie, you ARE the village. And if you're lucky, you have a few villagers to help.
Personally, I rely heavily on three people:
-my cover designer and manuscript formatter Dafeenah Jameel at Indie Designz
-my photog friend at Vandenberg Photography for photos as well as some manuscript editing
-occasionally a paid editor
These peeps do a great deal to make my life easier as well as help me offer readers a better experience with my books. But there is a WHOLE list of things that all indies do for themselves. I won't go into them all because 1) it would probably come across as whiny and dramatic and 2) because I don't want to eat up lines and lines of good blog with my to-do list. :)
I will mention a few of the really important things that take time and/or money:
-ISBN numbers are not free. They are very expensive. And every published manuscript must have one, no matter the length. And every new edition of said manuscript must have a different ISBN.
-The average book cover usually involves anywhere from one Franklin to a whole gaggle of Franklins.
-Reviews are important. Without reviews, very few readers will purchase a book, not wanting to take the chance on an unknown product. While reviews do not cost authors money, they DO cost us lots of time contacting reviewers/bloggers and requesting reviews -I've been known to spend ten or more hours a week doing nothing but researching book blogs and emailing reviewers. And we give away free copies to blog reviewers, so we are not making a profit from them. They are doing an important service for us out of their passion for reading.
-Advertising can be more expensive than a whole bag of Jimmy Choos if an author doesn't maintain a strict budget. Sometimes the decision-making comes down to something like this:
-New tiresI usually have a list competing for my money, as do most people. I wish I could always afford advertising, especially since most sites don't allow "self promotion." Even if I run into someone in a group on Goodreads that is just aching to find a book just like mine, I can't say, "Hey, it sounds like you might enjoy my book," without the looming threat of being kicked out of said group and being labeled a SPAMMER. There is no doubt that the best advertising is word of mouth, but how does an indie author just starting a career get to the point where readers are stepping in and saying, "Hey, you might like this book," for the author? It takes a lot of work, believing in one's self, sacrifice, business skills, and determination.
So how greedy is that author trying to offer a unique reading experience to her followers?
ReadersRemember that indies don't have a huge backup team and someone else footing the bill. Usually, indie authors still have full-time jobs and families to take care of. So your money and, more importantly, your readership, is not lost in a mass, corporate market. You are directly supporting a writer and helping her/him produce more books. It can be likened to going to your local mom & pop shops or farmer's market rather than a big-name store.
WritersDon't get upset with readers if they don't understand. Take the time to explain what you do. Let them know just how much they mean to the indie community. To you. Most people don't know the ins and outs of the book business. They don't realize that writing the manuscript is the easiest part. But if we explain everyone's place in the literary food chain, readers will slowly start to realize just how important they are to indie authors.
Readers, you make our hearts sing!
I would also like to thank every writer who has shared their experiences because I learn from them and usually walk away understanding something that alluded me the day before. So thank you!
Don't forget to read many more wonderful blogs today by fellow indies!I cannot get my linky to work. :( So click The Indelibles and scroll down to access the huge list of participating bloggers.