In episode 12 (and the season finale) of Season 4, Jeni and Melissa talk about the indie author mindset.
Listen in here! here: EPISODE 12 - The Indie Author Mindset
Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! We are Melissa Koberlein, an author and professor of publishing and Jeni Chappelle, a freelance novel editor.
Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice.
On our season 4 final episode:
We’re talking about the Indie Author Mindset
End with an author tip of the week
Big news! Melissa has started a reader group on Facebook! You can join here: www.facebook.com/groups/melissakoberlein/
Here's the Q&A
Melissa: What do you see indie authors struggling with the most?
Jeni: Most writing advice is geared toward the traditional publishing industry because the current incarnation of self-publishing has only been around for about ten years. And the traditional publishing industry is notoriously slow to change so a lot of the advice out there is based on practices from years ago. It can be challenging to find helpful information and know how to apply it to your particular stories, especially because a lot of indie authors choose indie publishing because they don’t want to write stories that fit a traditional mold.
Jeni: When you decided to take the indie path instead of the traditional path to publishing, how did your focus change?
Melissa: Not to sound too much like my favorite politician, but you have to change your perspective and embrace the entrepreneurial mindset. You will go through the same process of producing a book, but you’ll be managing all those pieces instead of a traditional publishing house. In order to be successful (however you define success), you have to build the best publishing team that you can. Hire an editor and cover designer that you can build a relationship with. If you have the funds, hire a publicist and/or marketing specialist to help you get the word out about your book/sell more. Often times I talk with traditionally published authors about marketing and time and again they say the same thing--I thought my publisher would handle that. Nowadays, authors, whether they are traditional or indie, are expected to do that for themselves. Honestly, that was the one thing that originally attracted me to traditional publication. But now I’ve realized that the selling still falls to authors regardless of whether they are traditional or indie.
Melissa: As an editor and integral member of an indie author’s publishing team, what advice do you have for new indies?
Jeni: Always be researching and trying new strategies, but be honest with yourself about what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what works for you and your life. The freedom of indie publishing is that you can tailor your work to those qualities, without as much outside influence as traditionally published authors have. So for example, Melissa, you are amazing at writing back cover blurbs. Like, I don’t even really have to edit them. But you don’t have the skills to be a cover designer. So while it’s helpful for you to understand what makes an attractive and appealing cover, you need help with this thing you aren’t good at. But I know authors who are graphic designers in their day job. They can create their own covers because they have the skills. But they have other challenges. It’s all about understanding what your skills currently are and deciding how to prioritize the limited resources you have (time, energy, and money) to create the most professional product possible. Because at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing--creating a product for your readers.
Jeni: In terms of skills and traits that help an author succeed, what can traditionally published authors learn from indie authors and vice versa?
Melissa: This is a difficult question. I do consider, as many authors do, that getting traditionally published is becoming increasingly more difficult. There’s a lot of being in the right place at the right time involved.
Traditionally published authors can learn from Indie authors about how to hustle to create and make sales. As I’ve said previously, there is this misconception that if you traditionally publish, it guarantees sales. It doesn’t. There are a lot of traditionally published books out there that are incredible reads. But if they aren’t marketed well, they won’t sell. Learn how to market yourself even if you are traditionally published. Work on your platform.
On the other hand, indie authors can learn from traditionally published authors about how to deal with rejection and criticism. Most traditionally published authors have to deal with quite a bit of rejection from literary agents and/or editors. Also, one thing publishing houses do well is to offer new releases to a large group of reviewers. This in turn means there will be a lot more critical reviews for an author to deal with. The reality is that not every traditionally published or indie published book, for that matter, will be everyone’s cup of tea. So, indie authors can learn from traditionally published authors about how to deal with those critical reviews/rejection, which they will likely receive more readily.
Tip of the week: When you make the jump into publishing, whether it’s indie or traditional, have ways of measuring your success that don’t have to do with sales.
So, it’s a wrap for season four of Indie Chicks. Thanks for joining us for this episode and season 4. We’ll be back for season five with some new guests starting in May. It’s been a lot of fun, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the show.
You can find Melissa's novels, including my newest, Raven’s Sphere, on Amazon. Find our podcast at indiechicks.net or follow us on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on Apple Podcasts. We also have the Indie Chicks channel on YouTube where you can subscribe. You can follow us on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or Facebook.com/TheIndieChicks.
So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for joining us!
Indie Chicks out.