Resources for Indie Authors

As independent publishing continues to grow, services supporting both authors and readers also increase. Over the past few years, a number of services have risen that effectively meet a need in the indie publishing community.

Two of these services provide robust choices.

 

ReedsyReedsy

This service helps authors find and connect with the best publishing professionals needed in producing a book. With this service, you can find editors, book cover designers, publicists, and translators. Reedsy also hosts a robust blog with great information. Learn more on Reedsy’s website at https://reedsy.com.

Draft2DigitalDraft2Digital

This publishing platform started as a digital distributor for ebooks. They have expanded their offerings to now include ebooks, print-on-demand books, and audiobooks (through their partnership with Findaway Voices). Draft2Digital offers wide distribution to numerous online outlets. The benefit of using this platform is that there are no upfront costs. Instead, Draft2Digital takes a portion of your earnings (10%) for their payment. Learn more at https://www.draft2digital.com.

Two newer services of note are for fiction authors.

New Fiction Book Discovery Website

A group of 120 authors—both traditional and indie—has launched Binge Books (https://bingebooks.com), a new online community for fiction readers. The site strives to be a reader hub where readers can explore new writers, unfamiliar genres, as well as favorite author collections.  Binge Books also a social media site, so readers will have the chance to interact with each other as well as the authors they follow.

Binge Books

Binge Books will also host a bookstore with links to purchase print books, ebooks and audiobooks from a choice of retailers. If you want to have your books featured on this site, you can join the author waitlist at https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/v7b3o5. The site will then contact you when they are ready to add new novels.

Self-Editing with Artificial Intelligence

Early this year, a new self-editing tool that utilizes artificial intelligence was launched. This tool, called Marlowe, is an artificial intelligence tool that helps authors improve their novels before sending it off for professional editing.

Marlowe

This tool can read your book and deliver a 25+ comprehensive critique within an hour. It is inexpensive—a fraction of the cost of a human editor. Marlowe reads all fictional genres and sub-genres and returns unbiased feedback. The tool can critique character traits, plot arcs, narrative arcs, pacing, punctuation, sentence structure, reading level and more.

Try Marlowe out on your novel at https://authors.ai. The service will provide a basic critique of your novel for free. There is a fee for the more robust analysis.

Related Posts:

Three New Tools for Publishers
Lessons from Self-Publishing
How to Spot a Self-Published Book

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How to Spot a Self-Published Book

After viewing hundreds of self-published books, I can almost always tell if a book is self-published upon first glance.

While self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it did a decade ago, if you are interested in your book being part of the overall book market—meaning selling beyond Amazon—then having a book that conforms to industry standards is important.

Industry professionals—book buyers, librarians, distributors, book reviewers—all know what a traditionally published book looks like. There is an industry standard that all big house publishers use when designing their books.

These industry standards include things like:

  • A Title Page
  • A Copyright Page
  • Margins that are not too wide or too narrow
  • Spacing between body text lines not to wide or narrow

The way I can always spot a self-published book is simply by looking at the back cover. Most self-published books lack two things on their back covers:

  • A BISAC subject
  • A retail price

These are industry standard because brick-and-mortar retailers require these to sell the books in their stores—and, historically, traditionally published books were largely sold in physical bookstores.

If you are new to publishing books and are not sure of these industry standards, I suggest that you educate yourself. There are many ways to do this. Here are some resources I have created to provide this information.

  1. Watch this “10 Steps to Indie Publishing Your Christian Book” video. This is free! Be aware, there is no talking. You must read the information.
  2. Download the “Steps to Indie Publishing a Book” checklist. This is a free PDF!

 

For more in-depth information on formatting your book and making sure that it conforms to industry standards, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) with your Membership, you have access to:

  1. Video course on “How to Create a Professional-Looking Book.”
  2. Downloadable “Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.”

Related Posts:

Lessons from Self-Publishing
Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?
Self-Publishing Keeps Growing

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Lessons from Self-Publishing

Whenever you embark on a new adventure, there is usually a steep learning curve. Often those who have already completed the adventure forget that steep learning curve and can make the process seem easy.

I have often run into this with self-publishing books. Self-publishing a book is not easy. There is a lot to learn and understand not just about book design and the publishing process, but also on marketing a book.

Lessons from Self-Publishing

Sandra Beckwith on her blog, Build Book Buzz, recently shared statements from 25 self-published authors on “I wish I’d known before I self-published.” These statements not only show how much there is to learn, but also how important it is to get support in the publishing and marketing process.

A couple of the 25 statements made by these self-published authors caught my eye. I believe they illustrate why belonging to a professional association is important in navigating the publishing and marketing maze.

1.  Get Your Information from Experts.

One “I wish I’d known before I self-published…” author said:

“Use IngramSpark for your print books! I just learned this valuable lesson. Bookstores and libraries don’t buy from Amazon – they use IngramSpark to purchase books, and if you don’t publish there, you are missing out on many sales.”

Sadly, this author has it mostly correct, but not completely correct. IngramSpark is a print-on-demand platform. They are not a distributor. However, IngramSpark will place your books into distribution through their parent company Ingram (and Spring Arbor for Christian books). Retailers and librarians order books through Ingram (the distribution arm) not IngramSpark.

This is important information to know. When you are promoting your book to retailers and librarians, you want to let them know that your book is available for order through Ingram, not IngramSpark.

In addition to getting your information from experts, membership in a professional organization like Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) can save you money. Members of CIPA receive free title uploads to IngramSpark a savings of $49 per book.

2.  Don’t Reinvent the Wheel.

Another “I wish I’d known before I self-published…” author said:

“Writing the book was the easy part. When you decide to embark on the self-publishing journey, you need to have a marketing plan zipped up and ready to launch.”

In addition to having a solid marketing plan, your marketing needs to start long before the launch of your book. The good news is that you don’t need to come up with a marketing plan from scratch. There are numerous book marketing and book launch plan templates that provide you a guide to help steer your personalized strategic book marketing plan.

Here is where a professional association can, again, provide you the information you need. Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), have access to numerous reference guides and checklists including:

  • Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book
  • Book Launch Marketing Checklist
  • Metadata Checklist

Both are great templates to make sure you have the basics covered when publishing and marketing a book.

If you are not a Member of a professional publishing association and are independently publishing books or thinking about publishing a book, I encourage you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA)’s goal is to provide authors and publishers with the tools you need for success in publishing and marketing Christian books. The organization provides numerous resources to help those who are embarking on the publishing journey find success.

Right now, CIPA is offering a Fall Membership Special. For just $110 you can gain Membership in the organization through December 2021. Join today and get the tools and resources you need to be more successful in publishing and marketing your books.

Related Posts:
5 Common Indie Publishing Errors
Are You Using Publishing Industry Standards?
4 Lessons from a Book Purchase

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?

I recently came across an article in the New York Times titled:

“Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It?”

It appears that Donald Trump, Jr., has written a book titled Liberal Privilege: Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Defense of the Indefensible. He plans to release the book in early September.

Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?

Interestingly, even though Center House, an imprint of Hachette—the publishing house that published Trump Jr.’s first book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us—made an offer to publish Liberal Privilege, Trump Jr. turned them down.

Why?

Because self-publishing is not the gamble that the authors of the article believe.

Trump Jr.’s book Triggered has sold 286,000 copies since last November when it released, according to NPD BookScan. It is still selling steadily.

By self-publishing, Donald Trump, Jr., a public figure, can easily sell thousands of copies and make a much larger profit then he can with a traditional publishing contract.

The New York Times article states:

Authors who sign with a publisher typically receive an advance payment before the book goes on sale, then about 10 to 15 percent of hardcover sales after they earn back their advance. If the book is self-published, there is no advance but an author can generally walk away with anywhere from 35 percent to as much as 70 percent of the sales.

Trump Jr. is a savvy business man. He already has his own platform, so, he does not need the publicity that a major publisher can create. He is a New York Times best-selling author as his book Triggered was a No. 1 best seller last year. In addition, the Republican National Committee will use this new book for fund-raising—ensuring Trump Jr. large quantity orders of his book.

Of course, self-publishing comes with its own challenges, including editing and proofing. This summer, Trump Jr. posted a photo on Twitter of his new book. The cover image contained a typo. The apostrophe was in the wrong place. The cover has since been corrected.

Book Cover Error

What this story demonstrates is that self-publishing, rather than being a gamble, has become mainstream. As with starting any business, self-publishing a book comes with risks. You have no guarantee your venture will succeed. But, neither does any other startup.

The good news is that indie authors are no longer on the fringe. After all, even public figures are ditching traditional book contracts to self-publish.

Related Posts:
Self-Publishing Keeps Growing!
Three Principles for Self-Publishing Success
5 Common Indie Publishing Errors

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Does Your Book Title Grab People’s Attention?

The other weekend, my husband and I were chatting with some neighbors around a table at our community pool. I noticed that one of the men had a book with him.

Book Title

Being the book person that I am, I asked this gentleman what he was reading. He held up the book. The title read:

What Radical Husbands Do

Upon seeing this, another neighbor told this gentleman that he wanted to read the book when the man was finished reading it. Then, as an afterthought, he added, “If you think it’s good.”

This little interchange reminded me how important book titles are. This book title was enough to spark the attention of two males in my neighborhood. Why? Because they want to excel in their role as husbands. This book title promised to give them information on how to do that.

Your book title is extremely important. In fact, studies show that your book’s title is the first thing people consider when learning about your book.

Your title will either draw people in—as was the case at my neighborhood pool—or it will send them on their way. This is why it is important—especially with nonfiction titles—for your title to clearly tell the reader what your book is about.

When I teach at writers conferences on self-publishing, I encourage authors to use the PINC acronym to guide them as they craft titles for their book titles. PINC was created by Michael Hyatt, a former CEO of Thomas Nelson. It stands for:

Make a Promise

  • Example:  21 Seconds to Change Your World by Mark Rutland

Create Intrique

  •  Example:  Why Keep Praying? By Robert Morris

Identify a Need

  •  Example:  Steps to Peace with God  by Billy Graham

State the Content

  •  Example:  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

In addition to using PINC, I suggest that you float your title by a number of people in your target audience. Ask them for their initial reaction on hearing or reading the title. This will give you more information as to whether your title resonates with your target audience and draws them in to want to read your book.

By the way, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is still offering our Summer Membership Special of membership through December 2021 for just $120. Join today and got access to more resources to help you be successful in publishing and marketing your books.

Related Posts:
Grab More Attention with Your Titles
Does Your Book Need an Update?
How to Avoid Becoming an Average Self-Published Title

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