Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is independent publishing right for you?

Last Saturday, Writer Abroad attended TIPE, The Independent Publishing Event in Zurich. Here are some of the things she learned:

  • Independent publishing is great for niche books or books with smaller markets that may not (at least initially) interest a large publisher.

  • To make a living as an independent author, you probably need not just one, but several books for sale on amazon. Series seem to work best in this case.

  • To make $2 a book, you can sell an ebook on amazon yourself for $2.99 OR a publisher can sell it for you for $12.99.

  • The ebook market is almost non-existent in the German-speaking world (about 1% of book sales). But ebooks outsell regular books in the U.S.

  • There is a lot of potential for ebook growth in Asian markets. Who cares if no one knows your book in the U.S. if you’re a bestselling author in China!

  • You can self-publish your e-book and still get an agent to sell other rights, i.e. print, audio, foreign language, film, etc.

  • The Kindle is the leading eReader. The Nook is dying.

  • Amazon is where you will probably sell the most ebooks. But you shouldn’t ignore other platforms like Kobo (Canada/Asia) and there are websites like smashwords and bookbaby that will format your manuscripts accordingly for all of these platforms.

  • Beware of agents who want to help you self-publish as this is easy to do yourself (and keep the 15%).

  • Getting an agent will be easy if you are a successful independent author. But by then, you may not want one. Or you may just want one for certain projects or to sell certain rights.

  • The three main people you need to hire as an independent author are editors, proofreaders, and cover designers.

  • Reviews are critical to selling books in an online platform.

  • The right keywords are also critical to selling books in an online platform. Use them in the book title whenever possible.

  • Printing on demand makes it possible to sell printed books without having to invest a lot up front. You should consider a printed book if your book would do well in European markets since print still outsells digital formats in Europe (especially in Switzerland).

 Anyone else have things they find interesting about independent publishing?


  1. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Sure. Glad it was helpful!

  3. Interesting, Chantal! I'm sad to hear that the Nook is dying... I love mine. But I hear the iPad Mini is pretty awesome for people (like me) who use a tablet mainly for reading. I just started dabbling in the self-publishing world, and I do think you get what you pay for in terms of service. It is not cheap to get a good editor, proofreader, and (particularly) cover designer. Going through a "vanity" press is expensive, but often means you get very good results And possibly more importantly, you get people working together with you, as opposed to putting your vision together piecemeal. The other nice thing about a vanity press is their local connections for publicity. All that being said, it's really scary to think about going through all that investment when the odds of success are against you.

  4. Hi L Shanna,

    I like how the workshop I went to put independent publishing in terms of starting a business. Because the point is, you have to take some financial risk if you want to make your writing business a success. I'm still not sure where I'm going to go with independent publishing, if I end up doing it at all, but I do think it may be valid for some of the projects I'm working on that speak to a niche audience.

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  9. Imprinting on interest makes it conceivable to offer printed books without needing to contribute a considerable measure in advance. You ought to consider a printed book if your book would do well in European markets since print still surpasses advanced arrangements in Europe.

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  12. Your post is quite informative. As a matter of fact I would recommend it to any author who is considering taking the independent publishing route. You have really done a great job by explaining to us the main three groups of people that you need in order for you to publish independently. Continue with the good work
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  27. I didnt have the slightest idea the ebook market was almost non-existent in the German-speaking world.... lesson for the day...

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