Becoming an indie author is a big investment. We understand—we help indie authors manage their publishing budgets every day. While the general rule of “you get what you pay for” is definitely true when it comes to indie publishing/self publishing, there are some tricks that indie publishers know that can help you save money.
1. Hire a editor to write a critique before a full edit.
A seasoned and fastidious editor will be able to spend a few hours to read through your manuscript and write a thorough critique of the strengths and weaknesses. If you effectively use this criticism and apply it to your manuscript throughout, you will have saved many hours (and dollars) in the editor’s job of hand-holding through these issues. This does not excuse you from the editing and proofreading processes, but it might turn what would have been a heavy developmental edit into a lighter copyedit.
2. Start with one cover design.
While it’s always best to see more than one cover concept to make sure you have the “right” one, starting with one design could potentially save some serious money. If you love it, you’ve saved some bucks; if you aren’t crazy about it, then you can make tweaks OR go back to the drawing board with your designer. This is where it might pay to do your research to make sure your designer has a style you really love.
3. Do your own eBook.
Every indie author needs to have an eBook available. If you’re willing to invest a little time, you can do it extremely cheaply or even free in some places.
4. Use short-run printing until you have a following.
Short-run printing is getting more and more affordable AND more and more high quality. Printing books as you go is not only a way to spread out the spending, but it also allows you to gather reviews and changes you want to incorporate in subsequent printings.
5. Know when to use a publicist (and when NOT to).
Use a publicist solely for the things you cannot do on your own. For example, you can set up your own book events, and you can submit your book to bloggers and award programs. You may have a more difficult time getting a guest spot on NPR. Be wary of hiring publicists on stipends—though it is sometimes the best arrangement, I find it’s best to know exactly what you’re paying for when you hire a publicist (a la carte). Make the most of grassroots-marketing campaigns. Connect with people in your own backyard, and actively engage in social media. Putting the focus on grassroots marketing will help you build the foundation that a publicist can really make the most of.
Indie authors: In your publishing experience, where have you effectively saved money while retaining quality?