Interestingly, after writers finish writing a book, a few processes take place that we indiefolks have to foot the bill for—literally. Writers that go through traditional publishers (and don’t end up in the dreaded, so-called slush pile) don’t have to, because the publisher takes care of the editing, marketing, PR, social media, etc.
It isn’t my intention to get into the subject of royalties here, but I can roughly say that the difference between what indiefolks and traditionally published authors receive is considerable. The big trade-off here is that indie = full control of everything, including royalties.
You can find plenty of great websites that explain the nuts and bolts of going it on your own, with bells and whistles. There are also excellent self-published manuals on the subject. In this case, I’ll just limit myself to writing about the steps I had to take. The first one, the most important one, the unavoidable one:
WRITING A BOOK 🙂
Sorry about the all-caps, but you get my drift. Writing a book is no picnic. I know because I’ve done it myself. Don’t pay attention to those that tell you that so many people write and that your ‘baby’ will get lost in the Amazon jungle (hehe!) or that Your Words Will Be Smashed, or any other crap like that. You’ve done it and it takes gumption and guts. It takes massive doses of creativity, of course, but I know many creative people that start lots of different things at the same time and end up achieving nothing.
Once the book has been written, you’ll need an editor. My first choice of editor took me to a dead end. I suspect she probably didn’t want to edit an opera prima written by a nobody who hasn’t got a PhD in English or anything like that—and who writes explicit sex scenes to boot. In any case, I happened to be working on WordWatcher’s website and I wondered, Why not him? I’ve already discussed my very successful experience with him in a previous post.
I already knew about IndieMosh and their publishing packages. At the beginning I only considered e-publishing, but I wanted to make sure that I opened more markets for myself, and not everybody has an e-reader (or likes them, for that matter). So after doing my math, I decided to get a combo package (e-publishing and print on demand).
Here comes a very interesting bit: I’m a trained graphic and web designer, so I designed my covers, did the layout and supplied all the finished artwork to publish ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. My partner is a professional pro and took a nice pic of me. At the same time, I wrote several blurbs for different purposes: the Amazon site, Smashwords, One Thousand Words Plus, etc. You need different numbers of words depending on the platform, so I wrote a basic blurb and ‘tweaked’ it to suit different platforms. After that…
I started developing this website and set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account. FF Jensen became part of the social media jungle all right!
The next steps:
- The launch (to take place on May 19).
- A Google + page.
- Facebook advertising ? We shall see…
- Pinterest… I don’t think so. My craft is literature, so I’d probably pass that one up.
- Press releases and press contacts: I will explore the chances of publishing articles in Australian magazines and websites.
- Participating on a TV show? That could be a good one…
- All of this while I continue writing my short story collection, Bedroom Short Stories For Discerning Adults. Those over 18, stay tuned: there will be a ‘freebie’ coming your way soon!
As I write this post, I have come to the conclusion that creating the FF Jensen brand is as much fun as being a writer—and probably every bit as creative!
Once I finish this post, I’ll take a peep of the wonderful landscape rolling by, from the Blue Mountains train. Catcha later, FFJ