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The 10 Stages of Indie Publishing

30 December 2011

From novelist Joanna Weiss:

Last summer, I took a giant publishing-industry leap of faith and put my novel, MILKSHAKE – a satire about mommy wars, politics and breastfeeding extremists — on Kindle and Nook as an independent e-book. I thought of it as an experiment: Dead Tree Girl meets Brave New World. Months later, reviews are coming in, sales are going out, and every writer I meet wants to know how it works.

Short answer: I’m still figuring it out. Long answer: Like everything that has to do with writing, indie publishing is a strange hybrid of business transaction and emotional journey. I got my book out there and I’m thrilled every time someone reads and likes it. But I’m still experimenting with the way to drive sales and waiting for the tipping point when word of mouth starts spreading on its own. Meanwhile, I’ve taken up marketing as another full-time job. Self-publishing is a process. For those of you considering it, here’s how I’ve been working through the 10 Stages of Indie Publishing.

Stage 1: Self-loathing. After months of silence, during which you chew your fingernails to small, pathetic nubs, agent reports back that she hasn’t sold your book to a major house. Consider the possibility that the kid who teased you on the schoolbus in seventh grade was right: You are a loser.

. . . .

Stage 6: Editing. Get a fellow writer to give you the brutal, no-holds-barred edit you would have wanted a publisher to give. Suffer. Rewrite. Develop a deep-seated hatred for your book. Develop a deep-seated hatred for all books, words, letters, and squiggles that are vaguely shaped like letters. Emerge, months later, with a book that has probably improved. You’d know for sure if you could stand to read it.

. . . .

Stage 9: Terror. What do you mean, you just upload the file to Amazon and it’s on sale? That’s it? OK, I’m going to click here…now. (Pause.) Holy $%*^&(.

Stage 10: Abandon any sense of shame. It’s a scientific fact: People with shame don’t sell as many books. These days, you’d be doing a lot of marketing on your own, even if you were published by a traditional house. Send a review copy to anyone who will take one. Set up a Facebook page. Talk book up to friends, relatives, acquaintances, frenemies. Slip book title into conversation. Write notes on little cards printed with the cover of your book. Post on blogs.

Link to the rest at Beyond the Margins

Self-Publishing, Self-Publishing Startups

5 Comments to “The 10 Stages of Indie Publishing”

  1. Wasn’t sure what URI meant, sorry. Thanks for these tips! #10 will really help me! #NewFan!

  2. Really? Terror???

    REALLY????????

    Only a writer would think it’s cool to say that something as pedestrian as clicking “publish” on a website could possibly be terrifying. Sheesh. No offense to the OP, but damn. Get over yourself and learn about the real world for five minutes. You’ll find all sorts of things that are worthy of feeling terror over. Newsflash: self publishing AIN’T one of them. Neither is traditional publishing, for that matter.

    *facepalm*

    • You, sir, have clearly never experienced the existential dread of uploading a file and discovering that it has somehow attracted typos that will proliferate upon the page, metamorphize into a virus to corrupt the e-reader, change all the text into lovecraftian fnord icons that burrow into the reader’s brain like a cthuloid horror-meme, and DESTROY LIFE ON THE PLANET!

      Tsk.

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