Tentative Outline: Indie Publishing

Right, this weekend (after talking about flaws in front of PPW) I have to meet up with Becky Clark and talk about indie publishing, soup to nuts.  She’s funnier than I am, so I want to make sure she doesn’t distract me too much with her jokes, and so therefore I’m writing a possible outline for our talk at PPWC before she can, because I won’t get two words in once I see her…

I mean, that is not the case and I’m just getting my thoughts organized.  I expect to learn a TON from her, and from putting this all together.  Plus, if it goes well, maybe we’ll turn our notes into a book and voila! Brilliant.

IF YOU HAVE FEEDBACK:  Marvin K. Mooney, I don’t care where and I don’t care how, but share your feedback with me now!  Items to add, books you want to recommend, people who disagree with me, techniques and websites to check out:  cough them up.  


Indie Publishing:  Who, What, Where, Why, and WTF?

1.  Intro

  • Is indie publishing for me?  What if I want to do it differently?
  • Note on Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced tracks.
  • Should I DIY?  What should I DIY?  And what should I pay if I don’t?
  • Gaming the system (tactics) vs. long-term strategies.
  • In general, how not to get screwed.

2.  Before you write.

  • But I hate all this stuff! I just want to write!
  • Establishing a promise to readers (and picking readers who give a crap).
  • How to start thinking in terms of selling books instead of being a precious snowflake (I probably won’t call it this, but…oh man is it true for most of us).
  • Time management.

3.  Writing.

  • Should I start with backlist or new work?
  • Should I change what I write?
  • Increasing writing speed.
  • Taking advantage of indie publishing opportunities (series, serials, tie-ins, collections vs. short story singles, pseudonyms)
  • Writing with other people
  • What can I legally get away with? (Product references, fan fiction, using other authors’ worlds, non-compete clauses, when do I get rights back on previously published material)
  • Should I indie publish or go with an outside publisher on this particular project (hybrid authorship).
  • What writing software should I use?
  • Should I publish on my website first or not?

4.  Ongoing tasks to do while experiencing writers’ block.

  • Setting up as a business.
  • Networking (web presence, social media, newsletters, writers’ groups/sites)
  • Deciding where to publish and how (paypal, publishers, pseudonyms, porn, and more)
  • How knowing copyright can save your butt.
  • Freelancing (quitting your job, supplementing your income, increasing web presence and networking) vs. working for free.
  • Continuing education (writers’ groups, classes, books, advanced study)
  • Crowdfunding (kickstarter, patreon, donations)

5.  Editing.

  • When is it done?/Is it good enough?
  • How to find beta readers/writers’ groups.
  • Hiring an editor.
  • How to work with an editor.
  • A note on series:  start a series file!

6.  Design and layout.

  • Ebook, print, or both?
  • Picking comps for fun and profit
  • Hiring artists/designers
  • How to work with artists and designers
  • The importance of staying legal
  • Marketing materials:  cover taglines (book tags, author tags, series tags), back cover blurbs, keywords

7.  Planning for release day.

  • Cross-marketing.
  • Getting reviews.
  • Blog tours.
  • Paid advertising
  • DRM or not?
  •  Prereleases and soft release days (is that the term?  I can’t remember now)
  • Should I copyright/register with the Library of Congress/get an ISBN?
  • Doing a prerelease check

8.  Release day.

  • Gaming the system.
  • Minimizing the work you need to do on release day (preventing as many ulcers as possible)

9.  Post-release day.

  • Customer Reviews:  Good, Bad, and Ugly (Author responses).
  • What to do about flagging sales (free, giveaways, price dropping)
  • Why am I not getting the sales I want?  A checklist.
  • How to handle corrections.
  • What if someone contacts me? (Agents, publishers, foreign rights, movie deals, merchandise)
  • What if someone’s stealing my ebook?
  • How to deal with growth (looking back at old work that sucks)
  • Should I do an audiobook?

10.  Appendices (& handouts?).

  • What genre is my book?  The flowchart.
  • Where to find indie book reviewers.
  • Editing checklist.
  • Cover/Interior checklist for design and layout.
  • Prerelease checklist
  • Release day troubleshooting checklist
  • How to contact independent bookstores to discuss stocking your book

3 thoughts on “Tentative Outline: Indie Publishing”

  1. “How to start thinking in terms of selling books instead of being a precious snowflake ” … you can’t believe how much I love that!

    This is a FANTASTIC outline! You rock!

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