10 New Year’s Resolutions for Indie Publishers

Yes, it’s the time of year for resolutions. But the resolutions below come with a couple of twists. First, they are created especially with the indie publisher in mind. Second, they are phrased as questions, making them more likely to stick according to “research.”

So, without further ado, I present our 1106 Design New Year’s Resolutions for Indie Publishers.

1.      Will I maximize my profits by arranging print-on-demand myself?

IngramSpark and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) are the only two companies that provide print-on-demand (POD). KDP is the best funnel to Amazon, and IngramSpark to everything else, including book retailers. You can easily set up your accounts with these companies, and submit your files. When a self-publishing company tells you they will do the POD, they are doing it at a cost to your bottom line. For more on this, read this blog post on Managing Your Own Print-On-Demand and this one on how Self-publishing Companies Don’t Do Anything You Can’t Do Yourself.

2.      Will I ensure my book cover looks like it belongs on a best seller list?

People DO judge a book by its cover. Potential readers decide in seconds whether or not your book is worthy of their attention, and they base their decision on your book cover. Does yours stand up to the test? Find out more about the importance of good book cover design in Michele’s recent presentation, which you can view here.

3.      Will I own my ISBN?

In the US, ISBNs may be purchased only from Bowker; in Canada, ISBNs are available from Library and Archives Canada for free. If you aren’t Canadian and are presented with a “free” ISBN, understand that it most likely belongs to the self-publishing company and not you or your business. Just understand the ramifications of not owning your ISBN. Read more about how to obtain your ISBN here.

4.      Will I be the publisher of my book?

We believe that the best route to self-publishing is to become an independent publisher yourself and set up your own publishing company. Then, as an indie publisher, hire the services you need to design and edit your book. If you contract with a self-publishing company, their name may go on the cover and copyright page as publisher, and you probably won’t maximize your potential profits. Here’s a blog post on the Rise of the Indie Publisher.

5.      Will I publish a book without typos?

Hands up if you found a typo in a newspaper article or book today. Typos are rampant these days and one might be forgiven for thinking, “If no one else seems to care, why should I?” Remember how annoyed you felt when you found typos in that article? I’m sure you don’t want people feeling that way about your book. Typos distract from your message, and while no human can promise perfection, proofreading is a cost-effective way of adding quality to your book. Read more about why editing and proofreading still matter.

6.      Will I run my self-publishing project like a business?

If you create a business to publish your book, then you must run your indie publishing business like a business. Set your goals, create an action plan, a budget, and a detailed marketing plan. Do your research. For more on the steps to self-publishing, including planning, read this blog post.

7.      Will I build my author platform and get book reviews before launching my book?

Marketing is an afterthought for many authors, but indie publishers need to make it a priority by building marketing into the business plan. Your author platform is your community of potential book buyers and reviewers. Reviews need to be in place on Amazon and in publications such as The Foreword Reviews at the time your book launches to encourage others to buy (remember: people look to their peers for advice). Here’s a blog post on building your author platform, and another on the importance of book reviews and how to get them.

8.      Will I stay up-to-date with the latest self-publishing information?

The key here is to commit to educating yourself about the self-publishing process: the pitfalls and the peaks, the challenges and the opportunities. We suggest AuthorU and The Book Designer as great resources, and our own Resources page, which includes recent webinars and interviews with Michele DeFilippo. Read our newsletter; get the best of these resources delivered to your inbox every week, along with a free copy of Michele’s eBook Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-publishing. Or, “like” our Facebook page where we post links to articles and courses about self-publishing.

9.      Will I avoid publishing scams?

If you make resolution #8, you are more likely to be successful with #9. And read this blog post about finding the best route to self-publish your book, which includes some red flags about self-publishing scams.

10.  Will I become an indie publisher in 2017?

Why wait? If you have a manuscript ready to go, consider publishing it yourself. Self-publishing has lost its stigma, with many authors recognizing indie publishing as a way to maintain control over one’s book and to keep a greater portion of one’s profits. Here’s a blog post about why self-publishing is a valid option.

Good luck with your indie publishing resolutions. Keep in touch and let us know how it’s going. Connect with other authors and the 1106 Design community on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or connect with Michele DeFilippo on LinkedIn.

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