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Indie Author Day – What is an Indie author anyway?

10/1/2016

Monique McDonell Author Photo - Mr Right and Other MongrelsWhen you are involved in any industry whether it’s mining, medicine or accounting you find there is language unique to that field. ( If you eavesdrop on three town planners it is my belief there will be so many acronyms used you may find yourself wondering if they’re speaking another language). Once you understand that field or industry the language becomes common place and you forget that others don’t know what you’re talking about.

Since I’ve embarked on my journey to write and to get published I have learned all sorts of terms and phases that are used in contexts I would not previously have understood.

Some examples:
What does it mean when someone ‘requests a partial’? A publisher or agent wants to see part of your manuscript more than likely the first three chapters.
What is a ‘beta reader’? (It is not a fish). It is someone, usually not a writer, who reads your book in its draft stage and offers feedback.
What is a ‘crit partner’? This is a person who critiques your writing and you critique theirs, so usually another writer.

So then we come to authors. Authors used to fall into two categories published and unpublished – simple right? Well not in the 20th century – we have another category – indie, and that’s what I am.

So now when I say I’m an indie author, people very often don’t know what I’m talking about. Most of the time I have to take a moment to explain, so I thought I’d do that here.

What is an indie author?
That’s an author who is independently published…you know how musicians have indie records (which everyone thinks is mega cool and is pretty standard in that field) same thing really! I’m like that guy in the garage band. (Maybe I can become writing’s answer to Silverchair!)

Lets’ do another Q&A.

Are indie authors just people publishers won’t publish?
Sometimes they are. Sometimes they aren’t. These days lots of traditionally authors also do some books as indies – by the way those authors who are both indie and traditionally published are knowns as hybrid.
Sometimes if a book isn’t in a popular genre or is cross-genre traditional publishers don’t believe they can sell a book – publishing is a business so they need to be sure they can see a book before they publish it. These books often do quite well as indie books. Some later get picked up by traditional publishers and lots don’t. Wool by Hugh Howey is a great example of an indie book that later found a traditional publisher.

Why would anyone be an indie author?
Some people like control of their work – choosing covers, setting prices and controlling how their books are marketed. For example I’ve enjoyed creating distinctive brand for myself and choosing how and when I would release my books. When you’re indie you can release books to your own schedule as well, which really suits some authors.

Don’t you make more money going through a publisher? Not always. These days with Amazon, Smashwords etc you can often do better on your own than with a small publisher, especially a publisher who is only offering you e-publication and not print. In fact you can make a pretty strong case lots of authors make less money with that approach. That’s not to say authors with small publishers don’t make money or big publishers because every author is unique and everyone’s journey is different.

Do indie authors make money?
Well authors generally don’t make a fortune to begin with – that is another misconception about authors. In Australia (where I live) the average author makes around $10,000 a year from their writing regardless of the method of publication. Of course that’s an average so lots are making more and plenty are making less. That’s true for indie’s as well. So some indie authors make a lot of money and lots don’t but then that’s true of authors in general.

In summary – an indie author is just someone going it alone in the writing world. Of course, that’s a pretty loose definition and not true really because I have a writing group, beta readers, cover designers, editors and of course readers so I’m not alone at all.
As a reader of course much of this doesn’t matter. What you are looking for is a well-crafted story that you can’t put down.
If you’d like to find a whole slew of new indie authors visit this Pinterest Board.
https://www.pinterest.com/kathrynrbiel/indie-book-day-2016/

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