Wednesday, April 29, 2015
How Penniless Writers Can Indie Publish
Indie publishing has become a lucrative business for many authors, and those authors mostly say the same thing--we must invest in our books in order to put the best product on the market. That initial investment can gobble up hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.
What's a broke writer to do?
I have a few ideas. Before I get started, let's keep in mind that writers can throw unlimited dollars at marketing (swag, blog tours, ads, etc.), but I'm going to focus on the two areas where I think the initial investment is crucial: editing and cover design.
I also want to point out that publishing on all the ebook retailers is FREE. There is no cost at all to upload our manuscripts to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, and CreateSpace. Zilch. The main costs involved with indie publishing are related to getting your manuscript worthy of publication, in order to put your best foot forward in a crowded market. Let's focus on a polished manuscript with a striking cover.
Now that we've established all of that, here are some ideas for penniless writers who wish to indie publish:
Trade Manuscripts With Writers in the Same Position
We hear this all the time, right? That's because it's the best (and cheapest) way to improve your work. There is no sense in paying for a freelance editor before your manuscript has been vetted by other authors. You'd just be paying for work that should've been done before the professional editor put eyes to paper. So why not use multiple rounds of beta readers?
You may be thinking, "How can I beta read or edit when I need so much help myself?" or, "All the other authors out there are higher in their skill level than me." First of all, that's not true. And even if it were true, so what? You're a reader, aren't you? That means you know what to expect in a story. You know what does and doesn't look right when it comes to grammar.
Join a writer's group on Facebook, or join a forum, and inquire about exchanging beta reads. Read the other writer's work as if you've borrowed that book from a library. Make note of anything that stands out to you.
Offer Your Services to Freelance Editors or Cover Designers
We all have unique skills. Are you great at math? Does an editor's son or daughter need tutoring? Trade services. Are you a plumber, and a cover designer needs a new faucet installed? Trade services. Is there a local editor or cover designer who has small children and would do anything for a date night? Offer to babysit for a few nights. You do have something to offer. Think about how you can help someone else.
Contact Local High Schools and Colleges
Are there students who are looking to practice their intended vocation or expand on a hobby? Beauty schools and massage schools do this sort of thing...they practice their craft on people who are willing to give them a chance. Is there an English major who'd be willing to edit your manuscript? Or a would-be graphics designer who'd like to dabble in cover design, and needs a launch project?
Canva.com is an excellent tool for free cover designs. There's also free manuscript editing software, such as AutoCrit.com. I haven't used AutoCrit yet, but I plan on playing with it before sending my next manuscript off to the freelance editor.
If your low bank balance is what's keeping you from indie publishing, think creatively about how you can use your own time and skills to take that leap.
The help is out there...for free. The resources are out there...for free. Know what else is free? Determination. If you have the will, there's a way--even if you're broke.
Do you have other ideas for how penniless writers can move forward in their writing journeys? Please share!