I've been asked on more than one occasion what the best part of indie publishing is? I have tweaked my answer, and it is now… EVERYTHING.
That's right, I couldn't be more specific if I tried. I love everything about Indie publishing, hard work and all. But for those of you who don't really know what "everything" is, I'll go ahead and break this down.
I love every part of my "indie" experience. Sounds like an acid trip doesn't it? At times it can feel like that… you see stars… and you see lights… and then you find yourself alone and in a dark place, but when the colors align with the rainbows and unicorns you feel like you can conquer the world.
Okay. enough of the flash backs. Why is indie publishing all that? Why is it, "da chit"? Here's why…
I am my own boss. I may have to report to my day job, but when it comes to my writing, my platform, my choice of words (with the exception of my all wise editor's recommendations) I am the big cheese. I don't take those words lightly. I've owned my own business before, and I know that being self-employed ain't all that, unless you really, really love entrepreneurialism and you have the energy of a gas-fired steam engine. I do, so it suits me. If you like to lay around all day, and wish for more, and dream about writing a book, this work may not be your forte. But I love it!
I love meeting readers. And the more technology bridges the gap between readers and authors, the more I will meet and friend and follow. Readers are great fun. They tell you when they love your work (score) and they tell you when they don't. But what's best about being an indie author is that readers are the ones who ultimately decide that my work is marketable; not an agent, not a publisher, and not some pencil-pushing dip shit in New York City. No offense NYC, I love you. Been there a couple times and I'm returning again this summer (fingers crossed). All to say, knowing that readers in the trenches, those who are actually looking for new voices, are finding me. And that makes the indie experience quite exciting.
I can fix anything at a moments notice. As an indie author I can make changes and fix my book on a moment's notice. If my book isn't selling, I can update my cover, fix typos, change my book blurb, and most importantly, CHANGE MY PRICE.
If you are a traditionally published author, I really feel for you on this note. I see your books priced at $5.99, $6.99, $8.99 and higher and wonder why indie authors like myself are selling more digital books than you when you have the power of a big six publisher behind you. And then I remember, poor you, you are not in control of your destiny; the publisher is. Damn publishers… greedy sons-of-bit**es. Of course, there are those of you who are kicking my butt, and I applaud you. But I also aplaud the indie authors who are kicking your butts even worse. I digress, do I not? My apologies.
Anyway, I've tooled around with my prices quite a bit in the last two weeks and I've enjoyed the freedom to manipulate sales versus ranking by using my "price-floatation strategy". The trick is to keep sales funneling at the price I want, but to also keep my ranking where I can get the best publicity, which is in a category top 100 list. My goal is to keep my four lead books on a list at all times. As an indie I can do this, by adjusting my price. If you want to know more about how I do that, you'll have to buy The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. Trust me it works.
I love making my own book covers and formatting my print books. I know this isn't for everyone and I know many writer's do not enjoy it or trust their own judgment. But I like doing it. It's another creative road I get to travel. If that's not your gig, look me up. I do it on the side.
I love the camaraderie of other indie authors. I can't tell you how many emails, DM's, phone calls, and online chats I've had with other "indies". We talk about tricks, and sales techniques and formatting and where to market and what's coming next. I have to say, friendship is something I never anticipated would be a key factor in my publishing success. But in my experience, indie authors truly understand the power of cross promotion and it shows in our Triberr tribes, and chat groups, and tweet teams, and link sharing. We share readers as frequently as bunnies--. Well, you get the idea.
I love writing what I want to write. Sure, I want to brand my work and find my audience, but no one is breathing down my neck with deadlines, or telling me what I need to write next. If I want to write Twisted Vengeance II, I can do that. If I want to write CREEPY II, I can do that. If I want to switch gears and write a non-fiction, and I have, I can do that, too. There are no rules. I am the publisher. As long as I continue to put out quality products, I can write whatever the heck I want to write.
I'm a lean, mean, business machine. As the president and CEO of Nexgate Press, I have a small amount of overhead: let's see… my computer, my note pad, a few online subscriptions, and Internet service. That's it. That's as heavy as my business will get for some time. Any profit I make above and beyond that is pure profit. But don't compare me to a traditionally published writer. That's apples and oranges. If you compare my business model with a trad pubbed author, they are making far less in royalties, and if you compare me to a publisher, they are making a much smaller margin, and they have to answer to investors. Me, not so much.
I write suspense. I blog. I build books.
Nothing complicated. And that's why I love it. BOOM!
Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, and The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. If you'd like to hire me, see my Author Services Page.