Indie Publishing: The Perks of Being A Boss

Like a bossEveryone wants to be a boss these days. Pop culture is inundated with phrases like “boss chick”, “all eyes on me”, “poppin’ bottles” and my personal favorite “like a boss”. You can use it to describe doing anything with excellence: I ate that whole piece of chicken (like a boss), I paid my taxes (like a boss), I sawed that bunion off (like a boss). You get my point. But when you decide to self publish, you really are a boss. And like I promised last week, I’m going to list the many benefits of independently publishing your books (like a boss). Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

 ********5 Perks to Indie Publishing********

You don’t have answer to anyone but yourself. Didn’t get those proofs approved yet? Feel like changing the cover on a book already in print? Changed your mind about the release date?  Want to release your book in three parts over the course of a year? No problem. There won’t be a marketing exec telling you that you’ve lost your mind. The only person you need to run it by is you. No one will reprimand you. There won’t be a big meeting or conference call where you’re treated like a temperamental writer with threats of re-negotiating your contract. Unless you decide to hold said meeting with yourself. Which is entirely your prerogative. #JudgementFreeZone

You have full creative control. You have the final say on everything from your typeset font to your cover design. Want to make a plot change that’s eons away from your original synopsis/proposal? Go for it. Feel like writing a sci-fi self-help historical romance? Who cares if it’s never been done. Do you, kid. There’s no team of experts stifling your creativity with marketing trends, focus group data, and comparative sales reports. But in all your creativity, don’t forget that you do want to eventually sell your book and keeping a specific fan base in mind is probably a good idea.

Full return on your investments. There’s no team to split the pot with. All profit belongs solely to you. Now, I’m speaking of money made after you’ve deducted the cost of an editor, cover designer, promotional material, etc. Because what you don’t want to produce is some certifiable junk. But once you’ve paid for that initial investment, every cent that comes in belongs to you. You don’t have to worry about paying back an advance from a publishing house if your sales don’t meet their projections.

The complete success or failure of your book is entirely in your hands. Some may view this as a negative, but you’ve got to have a boss mentality about it. I feel totally empowered this fact. No one is going to work harder for me than me. Whether I sell 10 or 10,000 copies of my book is entirely up to me. It’s all dependent upon how much time and effort I’m willing to put into marketing, promoting, and writing. The same is true of traditionally published authors. Publishing houses allot only so much for book promotion, and the less of a name you have for yourself in the industry, the less of a budget you get. So, no matter what, hustling is the name of the game. Suddenly I’m feeling all, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

The world is your office. Literally. You can work anywhere, at anytime, and do most of it in your pajamas. I love modern technology and the fact that I can network, market, promote, write, email, conference call and connect with business associates from anywhere in the world. Being an indie author (especially once you’ve hit your stride) means freedom from conventional schedules and constraints. You can handle your business and write anywhere. That sense of freedom and discovery is part of what keeps me going down this indie publishing road. I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

Tell me about your indie publishing perks below. Nothing is too small. Whether it’s getting to hang out and drink coffee at Starbucks all day, or the amazing tax write-offs for hosting parties to discuss your book, I want to hear about it!

**Bonus** Check out my take on signs that confirm you’re a writer. Lots of strange behaviors and quirkiness ahead! (Click here.)

 Photo credit: savvysmilinginlove / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


5 Truths Every New Indie Author Should Know

Although my first instinct is to pour my heart out about my sister’s illness, I’m going to resist using y’all as a form of therapy and actually talk about something I haven’t covered in a while: independent publishing. Here are 5 things every new independent publisher should know. I’m going to go ahead and warn you that it ain’t pretty! But I’ll follow up at a later date with some independent publishing positivity.

1. You will feel overwhelmed.– That’s an understatement. You’ll feel so discombobulated that you’ll question your sanity and then answer back with something like, “You passed crazy a long time ago.” There’s so much to be done and there’s no one else to do it. Hence the term “independent”. You’re it kid.

2. You’re a jack of all trades, master of none.– Well, let’s hope you’ve at least mastered the art of writing. But other than that, be prepared to become a business tax professional, an accountant, publicist, marketer, spokesperson, sales person, tech geek, secretary, and the list goes one. You’ll need to know a little bit about several roles in order to maintain some semblance of organization and control.


3. You will be disappointed.– Overnight success shouldn’t even be a phrase because it just doesn’t happen. Building a brand and a readership takes time. And for an independently published author it usually takes even longer than most traditionally published authors. If you’re expecting to launch your book at the top of the Amazon bestseller list, then it better be because you’ve spent the last few years building a following that is engaged and ready to support your efforts. Otherwise, be prepared to watch that sales graph move like a little old guy climbing a hill. Using a walker. While stopping to smell the roses and shoot the breeze with every person he see’s. But as long as he’s steadily climbing that hill, things are going in the right direction.

4. More time in a day will be something you’d willingly trade blood, your two front teeth or your first born child for.– Seriously, no matter how organized you are, as an independent publisher your to-do list will always be longer than your completed list. There will always be something to add, something to remember, something to do. No matter how much sleep you sacrifice (and you will sacrifice sleep) there never seems to be enough time. Make your peace with it. I like saying this little mantra, “God has given me all the time I need to fulfill the destiny He has for me.” This is extremely helpful if you view your talent of writing as a calling.

5. Sleep will be something you remember fondly.– This is especially true if you have a 9-5 job in addition to running your publishing company. We’ve already established that time is a sneaky little commodity (some thief called Netflix comes and steals mine on the regular), and trading sleep for a few hours of business dealings and writing will probably happen more often than is healthy. There was actually a point in which I was so tired that I experienced a true life mirage. I…well I…I won’t get into all the details, but it happened. It was crazy weird and the mess freaked me all the way out. Let’s just say I’ve recommitted myself to getting the necessary Z’s.

**Bonus** People will randomly solicit you for services you can easily perform yourself.- I had one chick in-box me on Facebook offering a one day only ‘sale’ to advertise my book on her website. She claimed to have 2,500 followers specifically interested in my often overlooked genre of Christian fiction. But guess what? The access to her website was blocked, the ‘sale’ ended at midnight and there was a pre-requisite $49 set up fee. Oh and let’s not forget that I had to do all of it immediately or the ‘service’ would revert back to it’s original price of $319. I almost cussed! Child please.

This list is in no way meant to discourage a new author from pursuing independent publishing. It’s just me venting about some of the frustrations I’ve experienced since my first self publishing venture. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to occasionally pull my hair out. (I won’t do it. I’m waayyy too into my hair to do something like that!) Tell me about your indie publishing angst in the comments below!

P.S. For those of you that have been praying and believing with me for my sister Tiffany’s full recovery, I have good news. She’s talking! And soon, the feeding tube will be removed. Things are on an upward spiral and I couldn’t be more grateful. God is good!

Photo credit: Pablo Municio / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Why the Residual Stigma of Independent Publishing Needs to End


Warning: this is a rant post. I rarely indulge in rants, but today I feel that it is totally necessary. Here are my personal thoughts on why the residual stigma of independent/self publishing needs to end. It’s a new day people.

The Stigma

Back in the olden days of publishing ( a whole ten years ago) independent publishing was often considered a last resort by most writers. Self publishing was a sort of consolation prize. Authors tirelessly queried agents and/or major publishing houses, and if they weren’t one of the chosen few, they either published through a vanity press or self publishing resource. The upside was that they got their work published! The downside was that more often than not, said work was not up to industry standards. And so began the stigma of self published books.  Readers are discerning, and back in the day, they quickly learned that purchasing a self published book was risky. At the time, self published might as well have been synonymous with low quality.

The Evolution

Well, I’m here to proclaim that it’s time for the stigma to stop! Independent publishing has evolved at a rapid pace. It is now the preferred form of publishing for many authors; even those that have previously published through one of the big five publishing houses. Many writers are no longer putting out sub par work, thanks in large part to the gigantic network of freelance editors, cover designers, and formatters. Lot’s of self published books can easily sit on the shelf next traditionally published books, and compete at the same level.

The Revolution

Thanks to the e-book revolution, independent writers are now able to reach a broad base of potential readers with little monetary investment. Previously, independent writers had to take a gamble on ordering and paying for X amount of books in the hopes of selling the majority of them. Now, an independent writer with a solid marketing plan can easily sell thousands of books. Independently published authors also avoid getting locked into disadvantageous publishing contracts. There’s no stress over meeting the demands of a contract and earning beyond their advance in order to see additional profit.

The Future

Marketing Seminar

Self-published authors are so freaking phenomenal that they’re often courted by major publishing houses. That’s right. The much sought after big dogs of publishing are known to reach out to a successfully independently published author because they recognize the writer’s talent and readership. That’s a game changer y’all. Could there actually come a day when major publishing houses only consider working with authors that have previously self published? Along with a query letter and synopsis, will publishing houses also require an independently published author’s sales report? You might think I’m reaching, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it happened in the next five years or so. Remember that you heard it here first!

The Bottom Line

Independent publishers are mavericks. They’re the cowboys of our literary wild west; the intellectual gangsters of the publishing underworld. They’re entrepreneurs, risk takers and optimists. They’re writers that like having options and complete creative control. But most of all, they’re awesome. Anyone who thinks otherwise should probably go take a long walk off a short pier.

What’s your take on self-published books these days? 

Photo credit: Foter / Public Domain Mark 1.0

Photo credit: GetAmbITion / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Self Publishing Series, Step 4: Choose Your Venue(s)


Okay, so you’ve written an amazing book, you’ve taken care of your business and you have an attention grabbing cover. Now what? Now, you choose your venue! In other words, it’s time to decide where you’re going sell this baby. I just like the way venue sounds, so I’m going to go with it. There are a lot of selling options available for independent publishers. Whether in print or electronically, as with all the other steps in this type of publishing, YOU are in control. Ahhh, both a blessing and curse.

Print, E-Book or Both

The first choice you need to make is formatting. Do you want your book available in print, electronic form or both? It all depends on your preferences and your plan for selling the book. If you’re like me and just starting off in the world of publishing you may want to focus most of your energy on e-publishing. The upfront cost ranges from zero to minimal monetary investment. Plus, there’s no need to worry about pesky shipping fees or having a mountain of books sitting in your garage. Who wants that? On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned author, or if you’re an author with a calendar full of conferences, speaking engagements and other events of the like, it would be a great investment to have hard copy books available to sell in person. Think it over and come up with a format that works best for your professional status and lifestyle.

Choose a Publishing Source

I cannot speak on the act of self publishing a book without talking about the beast that is Amazon. Please take my next piece of advice in the spirit in which it is given, that of genuine love, because it’s going to sound a little salty. If you’re on the lazy side Amazon is, hands down, the way to go. Now, don’t get upset. I’m just keeping it real. Publishing through Amazon is a breeze, and it gives the highest return on the least amount of effort. You could choose to ONLY publish through Amazon and still have great sales with the right marketing. Amazon offers e-pubishing through Kindle Direct Publishing and print on demand books through Create Space. It’s a piece of cake. One place to keep track of sales and taxes, etc. So, if you are only going to choose one venue for your book, I highly recommend Amazon for the reasons mentioned above.

However, make no mistake; Amazon may be the biggest shark in the self publishing ocean, but there are PLENTY of other fish in the sea, if you know what I mean. Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, iBooks and Lulu are all excellent choices for publishing your book. Each of them have unique guidelines and specifications for uploading your book to their software. Be prepared to do your research. The great thing about publishing in this age of technology is that you could easily choose to only e-publish and it won’t cost you a dime out-of-pocket. Of course, that’s if you decide to go against my previous advice to get an editor and cover designer.  It’s entirely up to you.

Three Things to Keep in Mind

1. You will need to create an account with each of your publishing venues. You do this by visiting their respective websites and clicking their little ‘Sign-Up’ or ‘Get Started’ button. Word to the wise: it would be highly beneficial of you to have a single email address, user name and password that you use for all  of your venues.  I recommend a password that is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

2.You will need to have your book formatted in specific e-pub, moti or pdf files, depending on the venue. If you have no idea what those are, then it might be a good idea to pay someone to do it for you. There are plenty of companies and/or sub-contractors that offer e-conversion services. A good one will give you the formats needed to upload/publish to all of the e-publisher websites.

3.The more venues you choose to publish with, the higher your exposure and chances for sales. It can be a headache at first, but as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Don’t give up!

I’m excited to be present at what I consider to be a virtual literary renaissance of sorts. We’re making history y’all! Never before has there been so much opportunity, just ours for the taking, in the field of publishing. Take advantage of it. Leave your mark!

Any additional advice for independent authors? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

Self Publishing Series, Step 2: Get Down to Business

Self publishing

I’m on a wild ride into the world of self publishing and I just had to take you guys with me! We’ve already covered step 1, ‘Having a Killer Product’ here. Now, it’s time to get down to business. The not so fun part of self publishing is going through the hassle of setting up your own business. Because if self publishing is done right, that’s exactly what it is.

Please keep in mind that I’m not referring to vanity publishing or subsidiary publishing. I’ve never used those type of publishing services before, so I can’t speak on them. This series is geared towards hard-core literary mavericks intent upon taking the independent publishing world by storm.

So let’s get to it. Try not to fall asleep at your keyboards. This is SO not the most exciting part of this whole self publishing process.

  • Get a publishing imprint— According to the Oxford dictionary, a publishing imprint is “a printer’s or publisher’s name, address, and other details in a book or other printed item.”  Some people argue that this step is a matter of personal choice. Technically, you don’t really NEED an imprint to self publish. You could easily  use your name and be done with it. But, I think it’s more professional if you give your business an imprint, even if it’s just your last name + publishing. Like “Simone Publishing”. Hey, that has a nice ring to it! Plus, depending on which self publishing POD service you use, it may be required. Otherwise, your work will be published under their imprint. It’s purely a matter of personal taste and/or ego.
  • Register your business–This was actually fun. It was an extremely simple process for me. Faith Simone is not my legal name,  but I can use it for business purposes because it’s registered with the government. All I had to do was file a small business or a ‘Doing Business As’ application with my local county clerk’s office. For more detailed information about this step check out  Please explore the Small Business Association website thoroughly. There is a plethora of valuable information on it regarding taxes, etc. This is also helpful if you prefer to write under a pen name. Because when the money starts flowing, you want to be able to get ALL of it, without issue.
  • Purchase an ISBN–An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. It’s a registered number that can be traced back to the publisher. In this case: you! For a more detailed look at ISBN’s and what they are used for check out Basically, you MUST have an ISBN for your book to actually exist. No matter which format you choose for publishing, an ISBN is required. Generally, an ISBN will run you about $125. You can also purchase multiple ISBN’s at one time, which will save you a bundle. Especially, if you plan to publish through print-on-demand and e-formats. More on that in an upcoming post. For now, just keep in mind that you’ll need to cop an ISBN.
  • Get your work copyrighted–You worked hard on your book. Make sure no one else gets credit for it. According to the US government a “copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” Technically, you don’t have to register your work to have it copyrighted. But if you ever have to actually sue someone for miss use or misrepresentation of your work, being registered offers a few perks in regards to legal fees, etc.

Whew! I’m glad that’s over. You may have noticed that I provided links to a few government websites above. Make use of them. Research, research and then research some more to find the path to publishing that is best for you. More to come, so stay tuned!

Holla at me below if you’re an independently published author and let me know about your experience. I also want to hear from you if you’re in the process of exploring self publishing for the first time. 

Photo credit: Adam Foster | Codefor / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND