Everyone knows the drill. An author sells their manuscript to a publisher who then takes care of marketing and publicizing the book. The publisher supposedly designs and pays for the cover art, blurbs, and all the other little things that go into the creation of a professional novel (although many traditionally published authors are taking on more of the burden of marketing as the publishing industry evolves).
Recently, however, the publishing industry has gotten more and more difficult to break into. Some authors reject the idea of traditional publishing altogether in an attempt to have full creative and fiscal control over their novels. This path is certainly challenging, from finding and paying designers for your cover to getting your book out there and taken seriously.
The new section of my blog Indie Author Central is dedicated to collecting both reviews of independently published books, as well as interviews from indie authors for their advice on how to break into the market.
My first author interview in this section is with award winning indie writer Wendy Hinman. She is the author of two non-fiction adventure novels, Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials.
Tightwads on the Loose is a lighthearted travel adventure book about the 7-year, 34,000-mile voyage she took with her husband aboard a small violently rocking sailboat where she alternated between feats worthy of Wonder Woman or Suzy Homemaker. It’s full of humor and armchair thrills. Tightwads on the Loose was selected for the literature program for Western Washington University, won the Journey Award for best true life adventure story and was selected as a top travel book for women.
Sea Trials is the story of a family’s quest to finish sailing around the world despite being shipwrecked. It’s a timeless true story of resilience and determination as they also face wild weather, threats from pirates, gun boats, mines and thieves, a broken rig, scurvy and starvation in a journey that tests them to their limits.
Here are some of the questions asked:
What aspect of working with an independent press did you love?
I love having control over the look and feel of the book. I love being able to buy my books at cost and knowing that when I do an event, books will be there (because I handle that myself). I love knowing that I can implement any marketing idea without stepping on anyone’s toes. I love having a direct relationship with readers. I love knowing how much more I am earning than I would if a publisher were taking most of the profits. I love being able to do presentations and sell books afterwards and keeping the entire margin between the cost of the book printing and my retail price.
How did you market your book?
The most effective way to market my book came from targeting my primary readers – sailors and adventurers and reaching them through publications they read (articles and press releases), events they attend (boat shows, club meetings). On a secondary basis, I did presentations for other groups that need speakers on a regular basis. That allows me to sell books afterward at the back of the room. It also gives me free publicity and marketing which can lead to online sales before and after the event, plus excuses to post on social media (announcing events) and to send newsletter updates to that large mailing list I developed while we were out sailing.
You can read the full interview here.