As you decided to publish your book, you probably went online. You researched resources and terms. Perhaps you asked around and made friends who also churned their masterpieces into indie publishing gold.
You’re all geared up and ready to go. You probably pondered the costs to publish and determined the avenues you’ll pursue to make it happen.
Here’s what, have you asked these questions few indie authors know to ask:
1. What’s the difference between proofreading and editing?
Indie authors who don’t know that editing and proofreading are not the same end up with typos in their book.
Editing is intense polishing of content. Proofreading only corrects mistakes, typos, and incorrect grammar.
An editor will prompt you to clarify a sentence, add more detail, or suggesting rewording a phrase. A proofreader only seeks errors.
Hire the right person for each task and your book will be better for it.
2. Who are the people in my network who are or can connect me with evangelists?
Don’t forget to ask your existing network to help you find evangelists.
Evangelists are supporters who are passionate about your book topic–strong allies that are willing to spread the word about your book and connect you with others also willing.
Evangelists will refer people to your website in the blink of an eye, buy multiple copies of your books and give them to friends, and share your news with people you don’t even know.
You need evangelists in your corner and they’re waiting to be asked to join your author train.
3. How many books do I need to sell directly to break even?
Most indie authors of printed books know that they have to sell so many books in order to break even. But most don’t factor the discount that goes to bookstores, distributors, and wholesalers.
If your book is sold through Amazon and other retailers, you could lose money.
Calculate the number of books you need to sell direct (at events and through your website) in order to make back the amount spent to produce your book.
Factor the number of direct-to-reader events that could have you making a profit within the first six months of your book’s release.
4. Who are the players in indie publishing who will support me?
Indie authors are a supportive bunch. We rock at promoting each other and sharing leads and resources. If you take a little time to research blogs, Twitter, and YouTube, you’ll instantly discover who might help grow your platform.
Sadly, a large number of authors don’t network with other players who would gladly support their cause. Our friends over at Duolit are terrific indie author advocates.
5. What venues are the right ones to sell my book?
Emphasis on “right.” We’ve found that there are lots of events, retailers, and selling opportunities that indie authors never consider.
For instance, gift shops, antique stores, craft shows, souvenir stores, and non-profit organizations are an odd mix of venues to approach, yet many authors have been super successful here.
Every book doesn’t belong in traditional venues (bookstores, libraries, book clubs, Amazon). Your read right. Your book might not belong on Amazon.
Your book might speak to a specific niche and a specific trade magazine, blog or annual event could trump traditional retail outlets, Amazon included.
6. How will I distribute?
Whether you have an ebook, printed book, or both, your readers need multiple ways to access your book. If you have an ebook created through and for Amazon, great. But, don’t limit your ebook to only being available on the Kindle.
Considering also using Smashwords because it distributes to several of the other popular e-readers including the Nook, iPad, and Kobo.
Pubit, a service provided through Barnes & Noble makes your ebook available through the B&N ebookstore. While, Mac users can upload directly to Apple.
Ebook authors should also consider offering their ebook on their website as a downloadable PDF.
For indie authors with printed books, you’ll need to have an online option for you readers that should include your website and Amazon.
If you want to be in bookstores, you’ll need to establish a relationship with Ingram or Baker&Taylor.
Lightning Source is our recommendation for indie authors who want small runs because they offer a print-to-order service that distributes to Ingram and ultimately to bookstore buyers.
Here’s an informative YouTube video about making your ebook available on different platforms.
7. How will I accept credit card sales at events?
Be prepared to accept credit cards at your direct-to-reader events using either a virtual teminal account that can be set up through PayPal. Our caveat is that you’ll need a laptop which can be a little haphazard and slow things down if you have a line.
We like Square. It is quite slick. Just set up an account online, order your free credit card scanner device which connects to any smartphone, and you’re in business. We’re seeing everyone from farmers at farmer’s markets to hair stylists using them.
8. What other mediums besides a book, should I package my content?
This is the most important question indie authors do not ask. Don’t miss opportunities to reach your audience in multiple ways besides your book.
It’s a new day in publishing. Readers are content consumers. They want to access books, information, entertainment through multiple mediums.
Having a book is not enough anymore if you want to grow a readership and build a career as an author.
Consider making your book into an app. Check out this Entrepreneur article we came across in May that profiles three app-making companies (all three are affordable).
Don’t have a blog? Consider starting one. If your book is motivational or inspirational, consider speaking engagements, podcasts, and YouTube videos as accompaniments to your book.
The more you can offer your readers, the better and options abound: games, quizzes, toolkits, blog talk radio shows, white papers, Twitter chats, and panel discussions. Go in the direction that would be the most fun or interesting for you and that also draws your audience in closer.
P.S. Join Wise, Ink on Twitter this Wednesday, June 6th at 3pm CDT. Use the hashtag #indiepubchat to discuss “How to Sell Your Ebook Online.”