Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR QUICK START GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING and to be notified when the 3rd Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide releases!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Third Edition - Indie Author Survival Guide (Crafting a Self-Publishing Career 1)

Dear Friends - I've decided to update the Indie Author Survival Guide! And this time, I'm blogging through the chapters again. Even better, you can join my new Facebook group, For Love or Money - Independent Authors, for monthly consult giveaways about indie publishing. I'll be posting each chapter in the group as I write it.

Journey Well!

A Note On the Third Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide

The world of indie publishing is constantly changing. I blogged each chapter of the first edition as I wrote it; the second was a highly revised and updated version of the first; for the third edition, I'm back to posting each chapter as I write it, but this time in a Facebook group I've started just for indie authors (For Love or Money Facebook Group - JOIN US!). I'm giving away monthly consults there, so it's worth joining just for that. But I fully expect it to grow like mad and provide a wonderful community where authors can share all the latest information. Because things are constantly changing in the publishing world (still!) and communities of authors are some of the best ways to keep on top of things.

This third edition has been updated (May 2016), but I fully expect new information to arise as soon as I hit the publish button. Much of the material in the Guide is evergreen, but specific things like the Kindle Unlimited program (now using pagereads not borrows to pay writers) and publishing options (Barnes and Noble's online site took a pretty big hit in 2015) have been updated to keep the Guide relevant. My hope is that it will continue to serve writers just getting started, or those who have already indie published but need a reinvigoration of their indie author careers. The Guide really should be used in tandem with my second book, For Love or Money. The two books complement each other, with the Indie Author Survival Guide being the more detail-oriented, get-started guide, and Love or Money giving you a framework for building a career.

A Note From the Author

“I believe authors should take risks with their craft and their careers.”

 “I believe writing is an act of courage that shows the world who you are.”

(see Ten Things I Believe)

How To Use This Guide 

This guide is highly self-referential. Writing isn't a linear process; neither is publishing. Hopefully, you will write and publish many books, each a chance for a new approach to publishing as well as storytelling. I've organized the Guide to take a first-time-publishing author from initial plans through to that second book, but authors who have already published can also benefit: things are constantly changing in the publishing landscape, and while social media quicksand is ever-present, ways of reaching readers are ever-new (or should be). 

So read straight through or hop directly to the section that is calling to you at the moment. 

I’m a strong believer in listening to that intuitive voice that says, “this, right here, is important right now” (see Training Your Intuition). It’s taken me places I never thought possible.

How The Book Came To Be

My standard bio at the back of the book says I'm an engineer-turned-fiction writer. What it doesn't say is I just happened to start writing during the most radically shifting years in publishing history since the advent of moving type. In 2009, I started blogging about my journey, and the first edition grew out of that. I resisted a long time in writing this book, insisting I was a fiction writer, not a non-fiction writer. All while blogging for years about indie publishing and the industry. It's funny how stubbornly we can cling to ideas, far past when they are no longer true.

My crystal ball is broken, so I don't know what the next five years will hold. I'm fairly certain we're not even halfway through the revolution yet. But I wrote this book to help my friends, here and now, today, who are thinking about taking the leap into indie publishing, or who already have. My hope is it will help you not only survive, but thrive.

My Journey

My first book went through a small press (a young adult romance), but after that I was determined to get an agent and go the Big Six route. I wrote, queried, and shelved a middle grade science fiction. Along the way, I discovered people could love my story and not publish it. This was a revelation. I also found there were very narrow definitions of what kind of middle grade science fiction stories were deemed marketable (mostly humorous space opera) and which were not (my serious, science-heavy yarn with clones and wormhole travel). One editor told me that she absolutely loved my story—now, could I just rewrite it to be more like A Wrinkle in Time?

I looked at the bookshelves anew—the reason there weren't stories like mine (which I had naively thought was because no one had written them) was because publishers didn't think they would sell.

I pressed on. Wrote and queried another book. This one I knew would sell (to readers) because the market was hot for YA paranormal. Agents were eager to look at it, but after a few months of querying, the publisher-market for YA paranormal went soft. I say the publisher-market, because that was who I was selling to—or rather, I was pitching my story to the agents who would sell to the publishers. (Wow, that's a lot of distance between the writer and the reader! But I digress.) So, even though YA paranormal was still topping the charts, publisher interest had cooled.

And so did interest in my story.

Enter: self-publishing. (I use “indie” and “self-publishing” interchangeably in this book—see How To Be Brave.) I had a book that (probably) publishers didn't want, but I knew readers did. I confronted my fears, did my research, and pulled my book from agents to self-publish.

I've never been happier with any decision in my writing career thus far.

I'm not an Indie Rockstar (see Measuring Success). I'm not a household name with a prior fanbase to build on. But after indie publishing, I'm now solidly in the Indie Midlist, writing full-time and making a living with my words. As of publication time, I've been making more than the average income in my state (often a lot more) from my works for nearly five years. I know many indie authors who make more, as well as many who make less. The rockstars of indie publishing can inspire and lead, they can use their leverage to break barriers, but they can't transform the industry on their own. The true change has to come, as it always has, from the grass-roots. 

Indie midlisters are the heart of the indie revolution.

Which is, in essence, why I'm writing this book. Open sharing of information is a core value of the indie author community, breaking traditional taboos by sharing everything from marketing techniques to sales numbers. I've been sharing my way through the indie trenches since I took the leap in 2011. Now in the Third Edition, I've updated and revised and shared what I've learned through this Guide. It's part of my personal core values to do so (see Writer's Mission Statement):

Friends don’t let friends vanity publish.

Friends share a map and compass with friends for their journey.

Friends offer a hand to help friends not fear the unknown.

This Guide is my helping hand. It's not just about the nuts-and-bolts of indie publishing (see Formatting: The Easy, The Hard, and The iTunes), but about how to canoe the rivers of the Amazon without getting eaten by sharks or swallowed by social media quicksand. And how to work through the fears you have about this wondrous journey you're embarking on—fears every writer experiences. I feel confident speaking to this, as I've experienced more fear than most: about writing, about publishing, about simply saying, I'm a writer.

I indie published and survived. 

You can, too.
This is an excerpt from the forth-coming Third Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide (Crafting a Self-Publishing Career 1) - the Second Edition is available now!

The Guide should be read in tandem with For Love or Money (Crafting a Self-Publishing Career 2).

Join my Facebook Group (For Love or Money) for monthly consult giveaways!

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