By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about the end of the self-published era and the coming of age of the independent author.
For years, many self-published authors felt like second class citizens in the book publishing world. Without an agent or a publishing contract, they found the industry just wasn’t willing to give them credit for the work they had done – the same work their counterparts with contracts and agents had done plus much more.
You see, being self-published in the book industry is like being self-employed in the business world. You’re working for yourself. You have to make and meet your own deadlines. You have to produce and market the book, just like you would with any product you’d create on your own for sale. You have to work through the legal and financial logistics and even find and secure distribution for your book. And, you also have to take on your own visibility through publicity, a strong online presence and speaking engagements offline to connect with your audience.
Gee, when you think about it, it’s about time the moniker of the “self-published” went the way of the moniker “self-employed.” These days, the self-employed are now referred to as independent business owners. Similarly, the self-published author is now being dubbed the “independent author”. Rightfully so…when you think about it.
After all, whether you are an independent author or a commercially published author, your book is a business all by itself.
It’s your hook! It brings people into the business you are in, whether you educate, enlighten or entertain others with what you have written.
Still, there are areas of the industry that will continue to exclude independent authors from joining the ranks of other published authors. For example, the Authors Guild does not allow authors without a publishing and royalty contract to join their organization.
However, there is now the new Association for Independent Authors that is setting the stage to offer resources of their own to independent authors everywhere. This, my friends, is progress. It’s a progression to recognizing the challenge met by these authors and the rewards they receive as a result of them forging a path to realize their dream of being published.
Today, there are small publishers and even large companies that are helping authors to independently publish their books now. Even Amazon has forged a solid line of business withCreateSpace and Barnes & Noble introduced their own digital independent publishing platform, PubIt, this year to support indie authors with their publishing dreams.
As both an independent author and a commercially published author myself, I know firsthand of the trials and tribulations, the choices and considerations one must make as an independent author. Often the decision to do it on your own is filled with fear and fortitude. For if that’s what it takes to get published or in some cases if that’s what it will take to get published more quickly than the traditional timeline, it will take all the courage, tenacity and patience you have to make it and succeed.
My own independent author projects have been wonderful. In fact, that’s how I became a bestselling author – as an independent. My first book, Dating Your Money, was independently published. I went from thought to sales in just 90 days: assembling the lean team of professionals; writing the book; reviewing the manuscript with an editor; overseeing the production coordinator and the graphic designer who positioned not only the text but the fantastic illustrations from a talented young artist; working through the quirks and the learning curves of working directly with the nation’s largest printer (the same one the big publishing houses use) alongside the production coordinator; securing a distributor and putting together a strong publicity plan with one of the top publicists in the industry.
Yes, it was all done in 90 days.
Yes, the audio book was professionally produced, complete with professional packaging that resembled the book, and yes, the publishing house for the project was also established – all in the same 90 days.
And yes, I was also running a entire separate company with staff when I did it. So yes, it can be done. I’m living proof! And so are many others who have become bestsellers as independent authors.
In fact, of the five times I’ve already been published, four of my books were independently published by me and my own publishing company. In fact, I’ve had one literary agent who has been after me for a few years now asking to represent Dating Your Money and inquiring if I was ready and willing to sell it when I’d see her at industry events. I’ve never given it up.
I continue to be the independent author – and the best-selling, award-winning author – of the project today and I’m still making a difference for so many with it. In fact, this year I was invited to speak at a domestic violence shelter to support women who had left their abusive relationships and who needed to build, in many cases, a first-time relationship with their money that they could understand and feel confident about. This was my intention for the book all along – to support the reader from any walk of life and with little to no financial skills with establishing a powerful and productive relationship with their money, one where they could then feel competent about discussing their finances with financial industry professionals like I was when I wrote it. In fact, the book is even dedicated to the reader.
You see, independent or not, you really can make a huge difference for others with your book and leave an incredible legacy for yourself, your family and the human race with it.
So whether you choose to be an independent author or if you are one now, or if you opt to go the traditional route and secure an agent and a publishing contract, either way the fact still remains: you can’t use your book as your hook until you have a book.
And so, to the independent authors who have published their books like I have, I invite you to stand and be recognized. You deserve it!
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.