Indie Author Day proved to be a rousing success across the country. One of the highlight events hosted by the Montclair Public Library was a program on independent publishing featuring Amy Edelman, the founder of IndieReader.com, and Ed Charlton, Director of IR Publishing Services. IndieReader is a lively website dedicated to showcasing independently published books and their authors. It features curated selections of both high-quality works of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a wide range of articles and resources.
Amy and Ed had plenty of valuable advice to share. Key takeaways:
• Independent publishing has evolved tremendously in the past few years. Today, traditional publishers are looking for indie authors with well developed platforms, while many authors are finding the indie publishing option more attractive primarily because of the control it gives them and the potential for greater financial returns.
• More and more indie authors are breaking through and gaining respect: Indie titles are now found on the NY Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists. One of the keys to their success is the greater professionalism of indie books.
• Successful indie authors embrace the business side of publishing and recognize that writing is only one aspect of the writer’s world — production and promotion are equally critical to attracting and building a reader base.
• Book discovery is the name of the game. More and more indie authors are achieving book store distribution via intermediaries like Ingram Spark. Sites like IndieReader that showcase indie books via genre listings, reviews, and its IR Discovery Awards are also helping indies attract loyal readers. Paid book reviews are better respected than in the past and can offer useful content for boosting an Amazon page or author website.
• On the manuscript front, “the temptation to keep tinkering is an author’s worst trait,” observed Ed Charlton. “Never, ever edit your own work. As close as you look, there will always be things you didn’t see,” added Amy Edelman. When searching for editors and other professionals, always ask for references and Google their names — reviews and critiques of their services are usually readily available. Arrange to have a few sample chapters edited to see whether a specific editor is a good fit and has the skills you need.
• Building a platform is essential for authors in all genres, regardless of your publishing path. Creating an appealing website is key and capturing emails is one of a site’s key functions. Emails are a crucial tool for building your readership, so offer an attractive incentive to entice visitors to provide their contact information.
• The indie publishing route is growing in popularity, but it remains a challenging option.
“To succeed, notes Amy Edelman, “You need to behave in a professional way and publish the best book you can. Stand proud!” And remember says Ed Charlton, “you’re not just publishing a book, you’re investing in your body of work.” For more helpful advice, visit: IndieReader.com.