I got into indie publishing about 5 years ago with my debut novel, Kingdom of Ashes. Back then, Amazon was already trying to dominate the industry, offering small presses and indie publishers all sorts of benefits if they published exclusively through Amazon and didn’t make their book available on any other platform.
I never used this option because I wanted to give readers a choice where to buy my books. I know many people are boycotting Amazon for ethical reasons, and I didn’t want to exclude them. Amazon’s exclusivity policies were mildly annoying, but I could live with them. But then, Amazon’s reach grew longer, and so did its ability to mess up indie authors’ publishing plans.
When I first started publishing, Amazon already owned the print-on-demand service CreateSpace and the book cataloging space Goodreads. In the following years, Amazon absorbed them completely and tried to take over every aspect of book publishing, marketing, and distribution.
My issue is that Amazon is taking over indie publishing without putting in the effort to become good at this. They are very bad at printing and distribution, and they are destroying other platforms that did a better job.
Throne of Blood will be the first of my books published entirely through Amazon. It will also be the first time I will have no author copy before publication and will have no option to see and approve the paperback before it hits the markets.
But let’s start at the beginning…
If you decide to self-publish, editing your work is the single most crucial step you cannot skip. You can get away with a self-made cover, website, blurb, and interior design, but editing is one area you need help, no matter how good and experienced you are.
Every author benefits from a fresh pair of eyes, but many indie writers skip editing because of budget constraints. Others want to edit their books, but have no idea how. Traditionally, this has never been something authors had to worry about – agents and publishers were the ones to guide writers through the process. However, if you are self-publishing, you are in charge of the whole production process – from the rough draft, through all editing and formatting stages, and up to the final product.
In this post, I will cover the different kinds manuscript editing. Continue reading
If you are anything like me, then you:
- A) Dream to see your book characters illustrated,
- B) Cannot draw a believable humanoid if your life depended on it.
Luckily, this is where my personal superhero, TheSwanMaindeN, comes in.
When you get an artist to illustrate your characters, you can take different routes. You could describe in detail what exactly you want to see, you could give them complete freedom, or you could go anywhere in between.
When I asked TheSwanMaideN to illustrate my book cover, I gave her a detailed description of what exactly needed to be there. However, when it came to Armida’s portrait, I decided to try something different and to give her only a vague idea about the character. “You are great at drawing hair,” I said, “and even better at drawing dresses. Go for it.”
This was one of my better decisions because – surprise, surprise! – it turns out her imagination is way better than mine. What I got was this:
You’ve written a book, but don’t know how to go about publishing it? Let’s take a look at the options you have.
In this post I’ll examine the pros and cons of working with a traditional publisher vs. publishing your book yourself. Some authors strongly dislike one or the other, but I believe both have merits.
A traditional publisher will offer you lots of support in all necessary areas and will help you turn your rough draft into a polished final product. Some of the great services you will get for free include: Continue reading
So far I have covered the simpler, faster, and cheaper ways to get a beautiful ebook cover – a DIY or a premade cover. Unfortunately, for many authors these option’s don’t work. You may have something specific in mind for your cover, and no single stock image or a premade template captures it. In that case, you’ll need to work with a designer or an illustrator.
Designers work like this:
– You share your vision of what you’d like to see on the cover, including key elements and general mood
– The designer picks one or more stock photos, manipulates them to create the desired image, and adds a genre-appropriate font. Usually designers are subscribed to a stock image supplier and can download an unlimited number of photos at no additional cost for them
– There are several rounds of revisions, where you can give back your cover and request changes Continue reading
In the first part of this post, I covered the DIY methods of creating an ebook cover – using your own photo, creating a simple cover yourself, or buying a stock photo and adding text. If your are not confident in your designer skills, or you just want something more, you’ll need to hire extra help. The good news is, you can get a professionally designed ebook cover for as little as $30.
Photo vs. Illustration
One important decision you need to make is if you want a photo or an illustration on the cover. As I researched book covers, I saw many claims that photos sell better and that photos create more powerful images. Coincidentally, all of these claims were made by designers of photo-based covers.
I finished my book’s initial draft over a year ago, and since then, I’ve been preparing to self-publish. I’ve been commissioning editors and artists and reading a lot on ebook and paperback formatting. This is the first post in my Self-Publish Like a Pro series, in which I’m planning to share what I have learned along the way and hopefully help other indie authors.
Normally the publisher will take care of editors, formatting and book covers, and will cover all the expenses. Indie authors need to act as mini publishing houses. They need to assemble the best team of professionals, who would together deliver the highest-quality final product, all the while working on a (usually) very tight budget. Continue reading