Indie Publishing in 2016: Make it Good

Indie Publishing in 2016: Make it Good

By now we all know that ebooks are not a passing fad, and that they haven’t killed traditional publishing. In fact, the NY publishing world accepted them as much as anyone, although the pricing structure is way different. (Some say that the way trad pub books are priced as ebooks MAY kill them. but we will see).


Since about 2010, I have been paying attention to how things are going along. I have learned a few things too.

Here’s what I have learned about publishing:

  1. Discoverability is hard-as hard as it has always been-harder than ever.
  2. Traditional publishing is still a viable method to have your work see daylight, but once again, getting in that tight spot – more difficult than ever.
  3. Cover art matters probably more than it has ever mattered.
  4. Pricing is a major consideration. If it isn’t in that sweet spot between 2.50 and 5.00 it becomes hard to sell.
  5. Genre fiction is still head and shoulders above non-fic, and romance trumps all.

I developed a sort of working plan to make sure that I work the lessons I have learned. We all should have some kind of idea of what industry expectations are, and how to scale the heights.

Here’s what I think should be done:

  1. Write series of books.  Series are just meant for ebooks. The reader can finish the first book and click a link to take them to the next one with no waiting. In order for this magic to happen, the author shouldn’t publish just one book in a series without following up with the next one in rapid succession. There was some talk about holding a series for 5 books before publishing the first one. I am not a fan of that ideaology. I th ink you should publish however your plan is designed. Mine was to release three book this year about every 60-90 days. So far, so good.
  2. Make ’em good. As an indie publisher, you are an island, the end-all-be-all-do-all. So, make your books the best they can be. Strive to publish quality books. Do not write to a specific market no matter how popular it is. Do not write romance just because they sell well. If you are not into romances, it will show.
  3. Cover and recover. Your cover art should be recognizable, and the title should be readable as a thumbnail. Make the cover scream what you write. Brand your series with similar art.
  4. Find beta readers. This is something that I will be doing more intensely next year. It is imperative that you have experienced readers’ eyes on your work. You are not the best judge of what you have written. But be forewarned-you need a thick skin. The readers who will observe your work and give you feedback will not be patting your little writer head. They will rip it off and shout down your neck.
  5. Mind the money. Pricing matters. Readers just want a good read and if they know you, they will pay whatever. But if you are undiscovered – untried- then, not so much. Keep the pricing at indie publishing standards of about 2.99 or thereabouts.
  6. Plan your release. Readers want to know about it. If every one of my subscribers, podcast listeners, friends and family, were to pre-order my next book (release date coming soon!) my ranking on Amazon would hit number one.  I have to start getting the word out. You should too.

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About master

Kim Smith is the author of the Shannon Wallace Mysteries, and the Mt. Moriah Series- plus, YA fantasy, and Bizarro fiction. All available on Amazon.

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