A few months ago, I wrote about why I’m planning to self-publish my novel, Lycopolis, as both an ebook and a paperback. (More on that in a couple of months!)
The ebook world has moved incredibly fast over the past year, and there are more and more self-publishing success stories every day. It’s an exciting time – and also a rather bewildering one! There’s a lot of information out there in the blogosphere – some of it excellent, but much of it confusing or outdated.
I’ve bought and read three ebooks aimed at indie authors, in the hopes of getting to grips with this brave new publishing world. If you’re thinking about self-publishing a novel, then you’ll want to pick up at least one of these, if not all of them.
Note: the terms indie author, self-publisher and indie publisher are being used interchangeably here.
The links in this post are affiliate ones; if you buy using them, I make a few pennies.
Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author
Published February 2011
This was the first book on indie publishing that I picked up. I’d come across Zoe Winters on The Creative Penn, and I was keen to hear more from her.
Zoe starts off by helping you determine whether the indie route is right for you, and goes on to cover major aspects of the indie publishing process, such as:
- Different formats – print, ebook and audio
- Business and marketing plans
- Editing your manuscript
- Formatting for print and for ebook
All the information Zoe gives is solid, and this book is the only one of the three listed here that covers print as well as ebook publishing.
I found Zoe’s style a little hard to engage with: she spends a while trying to convince the reader that self-publishing is viable, but that they need to take it seriously. The tone came across as rather defensive at times, and I found this a bit wearing.
Having said that, if you’re new to the indie scene and need some encouragement and motivation along with solid advice, Zoe’s ebook may well be for you.
How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!
Published June 2011
(Also available as a paperback.)
I’d heard several bloggers mention this ebook, and I finally bought it after reading an interview with John Locke in the UK’s Writing Magazine.
- What didn’t work for him, when he self-published his books
- Keys to success as an indie author
- “The system” that he developed (this is the key selling point of the ebook)
If you’re looking for advice on the nuts-and-bolts of formatting or editing, this isn’t the ebook for you: the focus is on selling your book.
As with Zoe’s ebook, I found John’s style hard-going. He uses a lot of exclamation marks, and he spends rather too much time talking about his own books and his success. I can see that he needs to establish his credentials, but it comes across as rather self-promotional.
He’s from a marketing background, and it shows – there was a lot of language here that’s more at home in the internet marketing space than the indie author world.
I felt a little disappointed by this ebook; I picked up a few genuinely new ideas and tips, and I’d say that was worth the money … but there was nothing particularly ground-breaking. If you’re new to social media (blogs, Twitter, etc) then you’ll find this useful; if not, it’s still worth buying it and skimming it – but don’t expect too much.
Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, And Why You Should (July 2011)
Published: July 2011
After the slight disappointment of the previous two ebooks, I was thrilled to find this one. David Gaughran was a new name to me – I picked this up by chance.
What I liked most is that David’s experience is very recent (he only started self-publishing in April) and that he’s not a self-proclaimed expert. That’s a good thing, because it means he’s done a ton of research – and it shows in the quality and depth of the finished ebook.
- The digital revolution and why ebooks are so powerful
- Detailed figures on how large publishers’ royalties break down
- The importance of producing a professional ebook (and how to do that)
- Using blogs and social networks to promote your book
The third part of the ebook is made up of success stories from a number of self-published ebook authors. These stories aren’t the ones that hit the headlines – but they showed me just how many authors are doing very well from ebooks, without being Amanda Hocking or J.A. Konrath.
The tone throughout is calm, confident and encouraging. There was quite a bit of information in here (particularly facts and figures about the ebook industry) that I’d not come across before, too.
One minor gripe I had was that David covers blogging pretty briefly: he hasn’t had any experience of self-hosted WordPress (the best way to go, in my opinion!) However, this book isn’t aimed at bloggers – and he gives enough detail to help authors get going with a blog.
If you’re going to buy just one ebook aimed at indie authors, make it this one – it’s also the cheapest of the three!
Have you come across a great, up-to-date ebook aimed at self-publishing authors? Or would you like any more details on the ebooks above? If so, just let me know in the comments…