Monday, June 27, 2011

Tough Questions

So I declared I was going indie. I'm going to self publish my stories. Yay! Go me! Right? Yeah, I'm excited, I'm pumped but it's not all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Right now, I'm standing on the edge of the indie cliff and I need to get across to the land of published authors. I have no idea how to do this.

This is where the really hard work is. Writing the first draft is easy, editing the second draft is easy, so is the third and fourth and so on. Having beta readers and critiques is a little more difficult. It's not easy to see all that red tearing into your baby. Even then, it's something I slogged through and came out on the other side for the better. What's before me now... I'm sure I'll get through it but it's not going to be anywhere near as easy.

I've stated many times, anyone who believes self publishing is easy is wrong. Not only do you need an awesome cover and MS that shines brighter than a diamond but you need ISBNs for the book. Multiple ones! From what I've discovered, you need one for print books and each ebook formats. Fortunately, Kindle and Nook help out with that. Through them, you don't need an ISBN, they will assign a number for you. It's not an ISBN but close because it IDs the book. Another plus is some of the sites like CreateSpace offer a free ISBN for your book. I am still a bit confused though. Should I buy a bunch of ISBNs? I'm having a little trouble finding the answer.

Then there is formatting. I have had a little more luck in this. Plenty of people have put step by step formatting on their blogs or sites. Others offer to format your book for you and prices can range from easily affordable to a bit on the expensive side. One thing I'm not too sure on is if I need separate formatting for ebook and print book. I know for my cover, I will need a spine and back made and I have that lined up once all my edits are back. I think I will need to have my book formatted before I get the spine and back done. Not 100% sure on that one either.

A few other questions I have are do I need to worry about starting my own publishing company? How will this affect my taxes? Should I get a business license? That last question isn't too scary since I've started a small jewelry business and have an idea how to do that part. It also ensures that I know to take this seriously, to treat it as a business. Already I have a notebook to write down my costs and keep track of profit.

As you can see, this is no easy task and I'm running pretty blind. Thankfully, I know a few indie authors on twitter who have informed me all I need to do is ask and they'll tell me what they know. Of course, I'm also wishing I had gone traditional at this point because all this would be someone else's problem. But that was a downside to indie I was well aware of before I made the choice. For now, I'll keep trucking along, researching and staring at my awesome cover to quell my nerves. I can not wait to unveil that!


  1. No, you don't need to buy ISBNs in my opinion. Everyone you sell through is going to give your book it's own identifier, and that's all an ISBN is.

    In my long history (seven months!) since I self-pubbed, I have never once seen a need for an ISBN.

    Formatting--YES, it's different for print and ebooks. Ebooks, for instance, do not need page numbers. Smashwords has an excellent guide for formatting ebooks. I recommend using Smashwords for everything that isn't Kindle, too, because they can get you everywhere far more easily than you can get you there. However, they do seem to be slow-moving (it's been two weeks, and while I'm selling on their site, I'm "pending approval" for the premium catalog that will get me in other markets.)

    Createspace offers a template that will help you get your cover right, but it's trickier than I thought, and my first cover is not as professional as I'd have liked. (The blurb box on the back goes onto the spine though I left TONS of room. >.< )

    I did not form a company to publish. It seems much simpler doing it as an individual. A few of my friends and I did form a publishing "label" to answer quality issues and help each other promote. In Arizona, it was "suggested" that I get a DBA--a "Doing Business As" registered, and I did.

    umm...long answer is long. Also, hi! Nice to meet you. ;)

  2. I don't personally know about e-publishing, but wanted to throw out the names of some authors and a lawyer who may have information on their websites that could be helpful: Brenda Speer is the lawyer (BL Speer & Associates) and may have important info under resources. Some authors who have self-pubbed and may have info on their blogs or websites are Ian T. Healy, J.A. Kazimer and Deanna Knippling. They should all be searchable by their names (and I *believe* their names are in their website url's). I hope you can find the information you need, and good luck!

  3. Wow, KD and Shannon THANKS! That info was much needed. And now I feel less stressed. YAY!

  4. Let me recommend a few must-read blogs for you:

    The Self-Published Author's Lounge:

    (A group blog by several authors who self publish. It has a lot of guides about the mechanics of the process.)

    Author Dean Wesley Smith's Blog:

    (A very experienced author who gives lots of great advice, including his series about How to Think Like a Publisher.)

    Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog:

    (An absolute must read for understanding the ins and outs of the publishing industry and how the drastic changes are effecting authors.)

    The Passive Voice blog:

    (A writer with experience as a lawyer who often writes about the legal aspects of publishing.)

    Robin Sullivan's blog:

    (Publicist for successful self-published author Michael Sullivan. She does a lot of research into self-publishing trends and has valuable advice about how to be successful at it.)

  5. I used to think self-pubbing was a joke. Ever since joining the blogosphere of readers and writers, I've found I couldn't be more wrong. Way to go on making that leap! It'll be hard, like you said, but really, the harder you work to create something professional, the sooner self-pubbing reputations will change, and the more people will buy from indie authors. It's a beautiful thing. Enjoy the journey.

  6. Thanks Christine and double thanks Sarah for the links.

  7. Congrats, Patricia - how exciting! I know many authors who have gone down this road and I know it's not an easy one. But I've heard it's very fulfilling!

  8. Talli, I think any path you take that ends with a publish book will feel fulfilling. =)

  9. It sounds really really hard work Patricia and I don't know anything about it, but wish you lots of luck in this route and I look forward to hearing how it's going as you move forward.

  10. @Rebecca, Thanks. My goal is to do a post that tells what I've learned too, help other people who decide to go indie as well.