What It Means To Be Indie…

I've been a bit reflective on what it means to be an independently published author.

(Hint: It’s not the Jones kind…)

Photo Credit: via Empire Online

Photo Credit: via Empire Online

As the 4th of July rapidly approaches in the US, and I’m in my second year as a published author, I’ve been a bit reflective on what it means to be an independently published author. These days, the words “self-published” are starting to be eschewed in favor of “indie published” or “indie author.”

While a lot of the “stigma” of “self-published” authors is dissipating, many argue that there is some lasting aftertaste in many readers’ palates. While it’s getting more and more difficult (especially for the reader only casually interested in such things) for anyone to tell the difference between a traditionally published book and an independently published one, there are still brick and mortar stores worried about carrying such books on their shelves. While eBook prices are becoming less and less disparate between the traditionally published book and those that are independently uploaded to Amazon and Nook, et al, there are still books on the highest end of $14.99 and at the lowest end of “permafree.”

This past month I’ve been blogging about a few different topics, mainly of concern to indie writers and publishers rather than fans of my books. Because I’m independently published, I get to do my own eBook coding, and create my own covers, exactly as I want them to appear! That’s the good news. The bad news is, I have to do my own eBook coding and create my own covers, unless I pay someone else to do these tasks. Frankly, the small price in time spent is nothing compared to the satisfaction of seeing how my eBook is coming along and being able to come ever closer to complete control over how it looks.

As an independent author, I get to market my books how and when I want (mostly, unless I was intent on trying to get a BookBub ad), which is great. As an independent author, I have to market my books all by myself, which is not so great sometimes. People have said that Amazon often takes over the marketing of your book if you’re successful enough. I say that often Amazon’s weird algorithms are actually an impediment to anyone discovering or buying new books. Someone truly independent cannot rely on, nor does she need to rely on, Amazon for marketing.

Heck, I can even decide where to sell my books! I could even sell them on my own site, or give them away! I can decide if I want to do a print version of the book as well, how big the book is going to be, and how much I am going to charge for it.

Very soon, I will be launching my new website. At that point, I will be starting up my email list as well (something many argue should have been done long before Book 1 was ever published). Because I’m an independent author, I don’t bother much about what I “should have done” last year, last week, or last night. No one, certainly not Amazon, is taking my book out of print (though if you’re a romance writer and had your books in Scribd, I feel very badly for all of you. Apparently, there really is such a thing as being too successful…). The ONLY person who can yank my books (under most circumstances) is me. I’m working hard on a “relaunch” of my brand and the series, but if I was traditionally published, I could never do something like this.

This is, perhaps, the greatest of times for someone like me, who really had always wanted to accomplish writing and publishing a book on my own, done exactly the way I want it to be!

Posted by SB James

I am the author of the Steampunk/Gaslamp Fantasy series "The Inventor's Son." Find out more at sbjamestheauthor.com

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