When it comes to indie publishing, the right way to do it, often, is not to do it yourself.
From editing to cover design, formatting and more, there are some things that the average (non-techie, non Photoshop loving) indie writer can’t do – and it shows when they put out their books.
Editing – why you shouldn’t do it yourself
One of the major issues with indie books is the perceived idea that none of them have bothered using an editor. It’s often not helped by the fact that a lot of these writers respond to reviews about poor editing with poorly written rebuttals and messages.
The thing is, while it’s not true that most indies don’t use editors, the boards on Facebook are rife with authors admitting they’ve only gone with a beta read, can’t afford or ‘are editors themselves, so shouldn’t need it’. To each I have to say:
And then, find a formatter, and ask them to keep a weather eye out for issues.
Cover design – where to start
The thing with cover design that really bothers me is that like writing, anyone can do it. ANYONE.
Just let that thought percolate for a second when I explain that I’m about as adept with colour and design as a monkey painting using only it’s mouth while blindfolded and swinging upside down. Yes, that good. It might pass as, y’know, outsider art, but that’s not what I want my cover to say.
And yet, there are some covers out there that make me think ‘I could have done better than that’, and then shudder and run in the opposite direction.
If your average reader isn’t encountering you on Facebook, or due to interviews or other ‘fun stuff’, then chances are, they’re stumbling across you in a book store, or because they’ve been sent a link to your stuff on a bookstore.
What’s the FIRST thing they’re going to see? Your cover.
Do you want it to say ‘cheap, cheerful, stock’ or ‘I’m actually so in command of what my story is about, I’ve conveyed it to a cover designer perfectly.’
Being an indie is being a business(wo)man
The important thing about all of this is some misguided indies will start trotting out the old adage ‘money should flow to the writer, not from them’. Except, before you release your book, you’re not just a writer, you’re your publisher/PR person/acquisitions editor. You’re writer last.
You are instead a business person. And you’ve got to make it your business to produce the best, most refined product out there. Or your reviews WILL read ‘could have done with a better cover not drawn by a chimp and some editing’ if you’re really unlucky.
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