Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing: #2… Self Publishing is Easy
Myths ignore facts. Myths are often beliefs built from fear or past actions.
In this series, and in the previous series of Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing, I call the myths that control writers “Sacred Cows.”
Writers hold onto myths like lifelines that are keeping them from drowning in a raging river of information. Sometimes sane people in the normal world will follow a publishing myth that makes no sense at all because it has something to do with the publishing business. And they follow the myth without thought.
So this new series is an attempt to help the new world of indie publishing with the growing list of myths that plague it.
And the second biggest myth to hit indie writers (because traditional publishers repeat this over and over) is this:
Self publishing and indie publishing is easy.
Truth: It isn’t. But it can be done.
It’s easier by factors of thousands of headaches in working with agents and publishers. Sure. But it isn’t easy when it comes to the amount of work indie and self-published writers have to do to get their books to readers.
But you hear this insulting and often dismissive comment from people everywhere. “Oh, you should indie (self) publish your work.”
They say it as if you could indie publish your book in five minutes.
This comment comes from traditional publishers, editors, agents, and traditional writers who have zero idea what an indie (self) publisher does. Or how much work it is to indie publish a book.
These uninformed people say that statement as a toss-off for all kinds of various reasons, often meant to be insulting or dismissive.
And folks, it’s about time to kill this myth that indie publishing is easy.
Reality: Here’s what these dismissive people are saying. “Oh, you’re out of shape…you should run a marathon.”
So this second myth is going to be short because, to be honest, it’s just so damn silly. But it needs to be addressed up front in this book.
A Quick Look At Both Major Routes for a Novel to Get to Readers
Writer finishes book.
Traditional writer mails book to agent. Nothing happens for six months, or a year if writer is lucky to have something happen that soon other than numbers of rewrites.
Indie writer gives book to a proofreader and must pay the proofreader real money or trade time and energy for services.
Indie book comes back from proofreader in a month. Indie writer must now either design a cover, or hire the cover done, write blurbs for the novel, set up accounts with different stores and printers and distributors. And then do the layout and learn programs to help with that, or hire it all done. And that’s after they have at least set up a publishing name and business.
Usually, since most writers are broke, most of this work is done by the writer.
Book comes out to readers in three or four months. Traditional writer is still hoping for a response from an agent, or working on a rewrite for the agent, months (if ever) from the book even making it to an editor’s desk.
BUT… I hear people say, traditional writers can be writing while waiting.
And my response is yes, they can, but for what reason? All but romance publishers hate more than two books a year from any writer. Indie writers can write and publish more books in a year (even with all the extra work) than almost all traditional writers can.
So sure, while indie writers are doing all the work to get their books to readers, traditional writers could be waiting or writing, but for no reason. Even if the traditional writer is fast, eventually the traditional publisher will slow them down and their agent will drop them for not writing the correct book, or something even uglier will happen.
That’s the nature of the traditional publishing world I’m afraid.
Why is this “Indie is Easy” myth dangerous?
When I hear some agent or editor or traditional writer tell a new writer “Oh, you should self-publish that,” I get worried for newer writers.
Or I hear New York people going on and on about how threatened they are by all the writers indie publishing, I get worried for newer writers.
That indie publishing is easy is a myth. NEW WRITERS SUCK UP MYTHS like a sponge sucks up water.
Since New York people have no idea how hard all the indie writers are working, spending their own time, energy, and capital to get their books directly to readers, a writer told that it is easy, or lead to believe it is easy, will quickly get discouraged when they try it.
I am already seeing this happen a lot to younger writers, actually.
Not only is the writer giving up the false dream of being stamped with approval from Simon and Schuster, but they are discovering that indie publishing is a lot of work, or very expensive. Or both.
And that turns many people away from writing and their dreams of being a writer. All because they heard people say that indie publishing was easy and it really isn’t.
INDIE PUBLISHING CAN BE DONE, but it’s not easy. It takes work and learning.
To learn how to indie publish, you must do the following things to start.
1… Follow the steps I lay out in the first and second chapter under the tab above called “Think Like a Publisher” to get your business going. It’s simple and easy and cheap.
2… Learn how to do covers well enough to either do them yourself, or know what you are hiring.
3… Learn how to write good sales copy for your books. Not plot, sales copy.
4… Set up all the accounts needed to get your eBooks into as many online stores as you can, which means learning how to do clean ePub files these days.
5… Launch your book to all sites and fight through all that.
6… Learn how to do paper books, or hire it done.
7… And then the promotion starts, which will depend on the amount depending on the book. You have to constantly be learning about promotion and discoverability.
And you have to keep working on being a better storyteller, which is actually what sells books.
Yes, that’s a lot of work.
But it can be done. And it can be learned slowly, just as training for a marathon is slow.
So, next time some idiot says to you in some flippant manner, “You should self publish your novel,” tell them they should run a marathon in the same tone they used with you.
They could run a marathon, but it won’t be easy.
Maybe they will stop saying something so stupid, and by you stopping just one person from passing something so false and misleading, you might save a new writer who will learn that indie publishing is work. And go into it with their eyes open.
Indie (self) publishing can be done. Just as running a marathon can be done.
It’s not easy, but it is a ton of fun.