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As an indie author you have numerous avenues for getting your book published in today’s market.

But when I go to writer’s conference I’m still hearing that getting a publisher is the industry Holy Grail. But what many authors don’t realize is that publishers actually create systems that make it difficult for authors to sell books.

Yes, being an indie author is a great responsibility, because you retain all control over your book, including the creative, digital, international rights, and promotion.

But it’s a beautiful thing, because it gives you flexibility. Retail  is finicky, trends can happen overnight, and publishers are notorious for ignoring trends and opting to forge ahead with what worked 20 years ago.

But the average indie author is smarter than that. And here’s why:

Book Pricing

Being in control of pricing is huge. Publishers will often overprice their books in an effort to make their money back, but that makes it a long, hard road for promotion (which they’ll expect you, the author, to cover).

Unless you’re a mega-bestseller, trying to get someone to buy an overpriced book is like selling ice to an Eskimo. Indie authors can stay competitive with their pricing, offer limited time discounts around holidays, there are a lot of creative book marketing options that revolve around pricing.

Flexible eBook Options

Like book pricing, eBook options are another area where indie authors have the one up on traditionally published authors. Some publishers don’t even give authors their eBook file.

Why would you want it? Because different retail sites use different formats, and maybe your publisher doesn’t work with Apple iBooks.

And eBook pricing is a big part of a successful book marketing launch strategy. Playing with eBook price points, discount promotions, and free days are fantastic ways to gain more traction for your book.

Book Updates

Some publishers have rules that say they won’t update your book until you achieve X number of sales. If you write in non-fiction this is insane, and cripples your ability to stay up to date on your topic and relevant as a product.

Even fiction authors can get in trouble with this. Say you want to re-release a series that did well 5 years ago because your storyline and concept are back on trend – nope, not an option.

Amazon Optimization

Indie authors have full control of their Amazon presence, and this is discoverability and book marketing gold. You have full control of your categories, which are expanding all the time, and keywords, which should be updated regularly to match buying trends.

You can also update your subtitle, or your book description if you win awards or get a glowing review of your book.

We’ve worked with traditionally published clients who have gone to blows with their publisher over basic Amazon updates and it isn’t pretty.

Click here to read about what keywords to use to bring in more buyers.

Book Marketing

Most publishers offer minimal to zero marketing with their contracts. They use the majority of their budget on less than 1% of their authors. Let that sink in.

But most authors don’t realize this, or they bury their head in the sand. That is until they pull it out a year later when their book has flopped and they can’t figure out why their publisher didn’t make them an instant success.

As an indie author you know from the get-go that you’re going to have to handle your own book marketing. So you learn, you study, you go to writers’ conferences. You become publishing savvy out of the need to survive – and that’s a powerful thing.

The Takeaway

Traditional publishing is alluring, but don’t waste time waiting on a lucrative deal. Getting your book out there, even as an indie author, is going to get you farther, faster, than sitting on something that sounds better in theory then it is in reality.

And if you still want that publisher, be sure to get the contract written in your favor, taking the above into consideration, fight for your book and your chance at success.

If you still need more book marketing guidance, contact us so we can help you make the best publishing decisions!

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