Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Onwards and upwards ... INDIE AUTHORS UNITE ?



My second memoir is in progress.  Ages ago I entered Chapter One  of 'Beyond the Bounds' into the Winchester Writers Festival, Memoir Competition and this week heard that I got a Highly Commended place in the competition. So that was good. Here's the link - Results - Memoir Competition.

Actually I say 'in  progress' but it got stalled at the end of Chapter 10 which I wrote in Morocco in March.  Since then my attention's been on another book I'm writing - called Writing Memoir How to Tell a Story from Your Life which is nearly finished - another half chapter to write, plus some expanding on the other chapters, some art work to put in and it's done.  Oh and the cover - there's a few contenders at the moment, but one seems to be more popular with all my networks.  Watch this Space.

Someone just asked me about how I'm going to publish.... Are you sending it out to publishers?  Well no, I consider myself a veteran Indie Author now.  Just been reading a blog article by author Emily Benet on her publishing journey.  She's just self published (having previously published the conventional way) her new book called The Hen Party - love the cover Emily. Check it out.  We Indies have to support each other. 

Her article is about the stigma that still attaches to being self-published.   There's still an attitude amongst many that if a book is any good a big publisher will have taken it on. Otherwise it's probably badly written.  Nowadays this is simply not the case. The attitude goes back to what were called 'vanity' presses, who charged lots of money to publish someone's book with a fancy cover, so they could give it out to family and friends.  They did not worry about quality as long as they were paid. Many people got stuck on thinking self-publishing is in that category. NO.  NOT ANY MORE I SHOUT. Amazon reports that a large percentage of their best -selling authors are now indie authors.  I have often felt the dismissal of bookshops and others in the publishing world  and authors even, towards indie authors.

Did you know  that '70% of adult fiction sales 'were e-books last year'.  Did you also know that 'in the October 2016 Author Earnings Report the Big 5 publishers share of the market continued to fall.  Indie authors and Amazon imprints [now] account for over 50% of market share. Without smarter e-book pricing, traditional publishers will continue to see declining sales in that format'.  Quotes are from this article.

When big publishers turn you down, as Emily Benet's article points out, it's often nothing to do with the quality of the writing.  It's because they already have an author of similar genre or story type on their list.  Or because they take a look at your genre/subject matter and feel they won't be able to sell it, it won't fit in the major sales categories of the moment. It doesn't matter how good the writing is. Emily is talking about fiction writing, but it applies to my area too - memoir writing, in a much bigger way.  Memoir writers are often marginalised and seen as the poor relation that won't make money for the publishers.  But there are many people out there like myself who love to read memoir, true life stories. 

Take Mark Dawson, for example, he's an Indie author/crime writer who is currently making a reportedly six figure salary through Amazon and all the other e-publishing outlets.  He's done this using his strategy (being used by increasing numbers of authors) of building up a reader/email list of devoted followers all eagerly waiting for the next John Milton book in the series [about a sort of flawed, ex MI5 assassin turned Robin Hood, trying and often failing to right the wrongs of his past]. Mark runs online courses for authors where he passes on his marketing strategies - if you can rake up the c. £500 for the course.  He is currently in negotiation with a major TV company to film the series.
   
In this changing face of book publishing, where e-books already have 70% of the market share, why would you want to give up control of your book to the long process (c. 2 years) that a big publisher puts your manuscript through, when you can publish it yourself relatively easy and quickly. With careful editing, good writing skills and an excellent cover design (you might pay an editor/proof-reader and cover designer to ensure the finished product is professional), your book, with the right marketing, can sell well and you're not giving away most of the royalties to a publisher.


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