Are you considering being an independent fiction writer? There are many benefits of writing, editing, formatting and promoting your own fiction novels. The biggest benefit is that you are in complete control and do not have to answer to anyone else, except perhaps your readers and fans.
Understanding What It Is to Be an Independent Fiction Author
Being an independent fiction writer means that you are not represented by an agent, and you are not under contract with any publishing house. Instead, you’ve chosen to publish with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play and maybe even Apple Books. These platforms, especially Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble, allow authors to publish directly with them in ebook and/or paperback formats. Google Play and Apple books are slightly harder to publish as an independent author as you have to wait for approval, which can take years with Google Play (I’m still waiting and I’d been about a year.). Apple books requires an Apple/Mac device in order to publish directly without the help of a third party.
1. No one is going to tell you what you can and cannot write.
If you’ve been researching the fiction writing industry for any length of time, you’ve probably ran across some websites, blog posts and articles that advise against writing certain genres and themes. A few of them that I’ve run across include vampires, unicorns, horror and erotica. What these websites and blog posts say is that these themes and genres are overdone, not interesting, too saturated to enter and readers aren’t interested in them.
In the case of erotica, it’s not that it’s too saturated or that it doesn’t make money. It’s that erotica is notoriously difficult to market. Putting erotica on your website also eliminates the ability to monetize your website with Google. Facebook and Twitter won’t let you boost a post that advertises an erotica book because it’s ‘offensive’. Amazon won’t even let you take out an ad for a book that’s listed under an adult topic, like erotica or erotic romance.
However, if you’re an independent fiction author who publishes under his or her own name, you can throw all this out, except for the knowledge that it’s incredibly difficult to advertise erotica. That’s a fact, and I can attest to it personally, but you’re not limited in what you can and cannot write. If you want to write a book about vampire monkey dogs on mars, you can write it. If you want to write a horror book where the monster is a rabid unicorn, no one is going to stop you from writing, editing, formatting and publishing that book.
2. You can publish completely for free.
The big bonus for independent fiction authors is that you don’t have to spend a dime in the creation of your book. You can write, edit, format and create your own cover and publish your book completely for free. In fact, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Amazon all allow you to choose from various pre-created covers, which means you don’t even have to learn cover design if you don’t want to learn it, and they’ll provide you with site-specific ISBNs for your ebook and paperback books. Once you publish, however, they will take a percentage of your royalties, but you do not have to open your wallet to get your book on the site and available for sale.
3. You have the option to hire professionals
If you feel like you need a few professionals to help you and you have the money on hand without hurting your personal finances or blowing your monthly budget, you can professional editors, ebook and print book formatters and cover designers. The benefit here is that you can choose the professionals you’d like to work with after thoroughly vetting them. When you are traditionally published or working with a publishing house, you don’t get to choose your editors, formatters or cover designers. You are strictly limited to the ones used by the particular publishing house.
4. You choose how you want to market your books
Once your book is published, you can choose how you want to market your book. You can advertise on social media sites, like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can choose to advertise on paid and/or free book promotion sites, and you can take out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and Google ads. If you have the budget, you could even take out billboard ads, radio ads and even cable TV ads. How little or how much you spend on advertising and marketing your books is completely up to you.
5. You can publish at your pace
When you are an independent fiction author, you are not under contract with any publisher to produce X number of books within X years. You are also not subjected to the publisher’s publication schedule, which means you do not have to wait months or years for your book to hit the shelves, and if you can write more than one book a year, you can publish more than one book a year.
6. You are in complete control
When you independently publish, you are in complete control. You can publish as fast or slow as you want. You can hire or not hire professionals to help you. You can advertise or not advertise, according to your budget, and you can view your sales numbers immediately. In fact, being able to view your sales numbers immediately may be the biggest advantage. If you notice an increase or decrease in sales, you can make immediate marketing decisions based on those numbers because you’re not waiting for your publisher to give you your books sales numbers.
Read More from Stacey Carroll
Greg Locke is the detective who thinks he can put away both Avia and Benton in the next book in the series Avia II Bullets and Betrayal. These two are very close to going to jail or going on vacation to Hawaii when their heist goes bad. They are stuck in a life of crime, and they cannot seem to get out. Thriller author Stacey Carroll tugs you through all the twists and turns of these two and their lives while showing you that crime can pay in the worst ways.
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