Welcome to our section on self-publishing. This is a broad topic with constantly evolving information. We’ll be adding to this section regularly, so look for updates in the menu at left.
The Rise of Self-Publishing
For many years, authors were discouraged from publishing their own books. With printed books, the cost alone prevented most authors from considering it. There were expenses for printing, packaging, warehousing and shipping. There were no guarantees that large book retailers would shelve a book from an independent author. Distribution channels preferred to work with the big publishers who would allow books to be returned if they went unsold at the stores.
But digital books changed the landscape. Online retailers have virtual shelf space that allows them to showcase hundreds of thousands of books and allows customers to search by genre or any number of specific terms. More and more authors are exploring the pros and cons of self-publishing.
What Does Self-Publishing Require?
Self-publishing requires you to oversee all aspects of your books’ creation, distribution, marketing and sales. Of course, this also means you retain the most control over all these aspects as well. Some authors approach self-publishing with a Do It Yourself attitude, while others hire professionals to provide key services such as editing, formatting, cover art and promotion. Self-publishing will appeal to you if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and you enjoy the business aspects of publishing.
Support Groups for Indie Authors
If you’re looking to meet other indie authors and learn more about self-publishing, there are a number of websites and online groups. Here’s a few that we’ve come across:
The Alliance of Independent Authors — Currently in beta launch (full launch due April 2012) AIA offers advice and guidance, news and information, connection and collaboration, advocacy and campaigning, incentives and encourages excellence among indie authors. Annual membership fee is $99 for authors, $55 for students.
Association of Independent Authors — AiA offers a variety of membership levels ranging from free to $50 per year. Members gain access to forums and weekly updates. Paid members can participate in promotional packages, list their book on the online store, contribute to the group’s blog and more.
The Creative Penn — Author and marketing consultant Joanna Penn hosts an informative site, blog and newsletter filled with links and videos. Many resources are free, some are paid “workshops.”
Independent Author Network — IAN is for self-published authors and authors with small indie presses who actively promote their work via social media. Authors in the network provide support and extend the reach of fellow members. There’s a one-time fee to join (currently $24.95) that includes the setup of a Member Page on their site that can list up to six books, include PDF sample downloads, two book trailers and information about the author.
IndieAuthors.com — This free online community with an inspirational focus recently launched and offers discussion forums, blogs (start your own or syndicate your existing blog to their community) and a book shop.
Indie Book Collective — IBC is a not-for-profit (may still be in the process of getting non-profit status) membership group of indie authors with a marketing focus. Membership is currently free but there may be costs associated with some of the marketing opportunities the IBC produces such as Blog Tour de Force, Bestseller for a Day and the Indie Book Blowout.
The indiePENdents — A free online community that promotes legitimacy of independently published books. Currently, they’re discussing awarding books that exemplify good editing, layout and cover art a “seal of approval.” Members can post their books on the group website.
Indie Romance Ink — This Yahoo! Group is comprised of self-published authors of romance. Membership is free, promotion on the discussion loop is minimal, and the group hosts a growing number of resource files and databases.
Indies Unlimited — IU celebrated independent authors with a blog and website that encourages discussion and participation by indie authors, readers, reviewers and publishers. Some promotional opportunities may be launched in the future, but currently authors can submit guest blog ideas. Geared for genre fiction and biography books.
Publetariat — This online community and news hub is for indie authors and small independent imprints. Tons of great articles, discussion forums, registration is free.