Tracy Cooper-Posey Indie Author Guest Blog
Indie Publishing – A Bonanza For Readers
So, Vampire Romance Books has spent all of April talking about Indie Authors and Indie Publishing. And I’m the lucky duck that gets to round it all up.
You’d have to be wearing the equivalent of nuclear grade sound-cancelling ear buds if you haven’t heard of indie publishing by now, but if you’re not exactly sure what it is, you’re forgiven, because the entire publishing industry is in such a state of flux right now, what you thought was stable five nano seconds ago just slid off the face off the earth while I was writing this sentence.
Everyone is having trouble keeping up with the changing state of publishing, including the so-called experts. Expecting to understand the ins and outs of the industry is being too hard on yourself.
But here’s a nutshell definition of what modern-day indie authors do, and why they’re different from legacy (“tradition”) authors.
Indie Publishing Is About Control
If you were to ask any indie author what the major difference is between legacy and indie authors, they would probably sum it up with one word: Control.
But the easiest way to begin to understand the difference starts with how the two authors earn their money.
Legacy Authors and Royalties
Legacy authors earn royalties. They “sell” their book to a royalty-paying publisher. These days, these publishers are also known as legacy publishers, and they include e-publishers like Ellora’s Cave and Samhain. The publisher releases the book for sale to the public and pays a portion of each book sale back to the author. That portion is known as a royalty. Royalties are usually only a tiny fraction of the book’s selling price – sometimes less than 1% for hardcover deals. Most contracts contain confidentiality clauses, which is why I can`t give you specific percentages right now.
Also, legacy publishers control every aspect of the book’s packaging: They edit the book, design the cover, approve the back cover blurb even if the author writes it, design and build the interior, decide on the release date, etc.
The one thing the publisher generally doesn’t do is promote the individual title, except for very popular and successful authors. This sounds completely counter-intuitive, but this is a fact of the publishing industry. Most authors are expected to do their own promotion. The publisher will promote their brand in general, and certain individual titles – the NY Times best sellers, and authors who are most likely to reach best seller lists with a bit of a nudge. But that is all.
Indie Publishing and Sales
Then there’s indie publishing, which is almost the complete opposite.
The author doesn’t use a publisher at all. Instead, these day, there are “publishing platforms” – Smashwords, Amazon Kindle Direct, and for Romance authors, All Romance eBooks. For paperback editions, authors can publish via Createspace. Authors located in the United States can