About this time last year I got the last of my rights back to the Dark God properties. I thought it would take twenty or thirty hours to figure out the whole indie publishing thing. And then the awesome John Brown story machine would kick in gear.
Reality promptly woke me up and slapped me around a bit. This last year has been quite the learning curve. Here’s what I’ve had to pick up:
- Designing book covers
- Finding artists
- Working with artists in a way that actually works
- Copy editing
- Formatting book interiors
- Fonts, fonts, fonts
- Using ISBNs
- Using InDesign to create files for both POD books and epubs
- eBook structure
- Editing ebooks (okay, just get Calibre ebook editor right now. We luvs it, Precious)
- Validating ebooks (http://validator.idpf.org/)
- Converting epubs to Amazon’s mobi format
- Uploading ebooks to the various ebook retailers: Amazon, NookPress, Kobo, iTunes (I upload via Draft2Digital), Smashwords
- The pros and cons of CreateSpace vs Lightning Source
- Using CreateSpace to publish POD books
- Registering books with the US Copyright Office
- Writing better book descriptions
- Using keywords and categories on Amazon
- Setting prices in the indie market
- Creating an email list (I love MailChimp. They make me happy every time I go to their site)
- Advertising and promoting as an indie
One of the things I love about this business is that there is always more to learn. But I’m happy to be over that curve. For folks just starting out, let me share some of the resources I found super helpful with a number of the things listed above.
Posts by a mega indie-seller Russell Blake to give you the right perspective about indie publishing. I’ve read a lot of posts the last few years about being an indie author. These are the best I’ve come across.
- 10 Things I Wish I’d Been Told
- How To Sell Loads of Books
- Author Myths 1
- Author Myths 2
- Author Myths 3
Online courses to help you on the publishing side.
- Designing Book Covers and Designing Book Interiors with Dean Wesley Smith (look for “Online Workshops”). I don’t agree with Dean on all his ideas about pricing and promotion, but these two courses helped a great deal.
- InDesign CS6 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad with Anne-Marie Concepción at Lynda.com. Awesome.
The most practical and clear-headed books about indie promotion I’ve read. For other clear-headed advice, see the Russell Blake posts above.
- Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran
- Indie & Small Press Book Marketing by William Hertling
- Your First 1,000 Copies by Tim Grahl
The most helpful book on copyright.
- The Copyright Handbook by Stephen Fishman
The most helpful book on copy editing as well as info to put into front and back matter.
- The Chicago Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press Staff
Helpful threads on Kindle boards
- My Newbie Guide to Promotion by a First Time Author
- Advertising your book: 60 sites to try
- A very quick, short, and dirty guide to slowly building sales
- Getting the best out of keywords?
- Ten things I learned in 2013 about selling ebooks
Other great resources
- A piece on the Huffington Post about CreateSpace vs Lightning Source
- Mega-seller Theresa Ragan’s Amazon sales ranking chart to understand what numbers the rankings translate to
- Author Earnings which provides lots of great data on, well, indie author earnings.
- The Passive Voice, i.e., my favorite news source for the indie world (I go to The Passive Voice almost every day)