Sunday, July 14, 2013

Indi Author Expenses

You know we all spend money on our own books if we self-publish. The problem is, where do you spend your money.  On covers, edits, formatting, advertising, or just buying your own books.
Now this is all my opinion, not connected with any other so I'm going to lay out what I think is important to spend your money on in self-publishing.

First of all, we no longer have to spend for typing paper, typewriters, ink, or much of anything except what it takes to keep our computers up and running the software we use, which by now is Word, in most cases. What we do have to invest in is a quality cover, which can cost a moderate amount to expensive. So how much do you spend on a cover. That should depend on how detailed a cover you want, and the quality of it. Stock photography is great for making covers yourself. If you however invest in a cover artist, then find a good one because no matter whether you think the cover sells or not, it does. An example I can give you on this is Pretend Mom. The first four covers I had for Pretend Mom did not sell the book. Now how can I possibly make this statement and back it up. Because recently I invested in a new cover and sales have really picked up for this book, and the only thing I changed was the cover, so I know it was effective. If you self-publish you should seriously consider a professional editor. But beware, this is a tricky expenditure. You can spend an enormous amount of money on it, or not. If you know editors, then you can probably find one at a decent price. It is a must! You must have a good editor, and I don't mean yourself. You can't look at your work objectively, unless you set it aside for a year or so and go back and read it. Then you can see the problems. So if you want to self-publish quickly, then I advise getting a good, but reasonable editor. Formatting is a matter of choice. I have found that by having my work professionally formatted for the print books it pays off. And it can save you headaches to have someone do it for you for on line sales. 
Now we come to advertising. Does it pay you to advertise your book for self-published books?  This is a tricky question and has several answers. I'll explain. If you are unknown and have no reviews and just got your site up, then I believe it pays for you to talk on list (free advertising) do blogs (another way to get free advertising). And yes, on certain sites that have a lot of traffic I suggest you advertise for a while. But if you are an established writer, you might just want to do a couple of favorite sites to keep your book up all the time to remind readers you are there. Always advertise your newest release when it comes out. But do not spend a fortune on doing this as it won't pay you.
What else can we do to promote our books and not spend a fortune? Traffic. Now you might think this silly, but buying traffic means reaching out to not just readers but the public and you will pull in a certain amount of readers this way that might not see you or your books. Traffic costs, so start small and be steady with it. Don't spend a fortune paying for traffic.  But traffic is what you want on a website full of books. Another thing is search engines. They can cost too, but there are low costs plans that keeps up a steady stream of visits for your site that will put your site up there in the rankings and this sells your books. So in a lot of ways this form of advertising is the most profitable, because traffic is people and people buy books.
Where you self-publish is monumental to success. If you are paying a company to publish your work and they take a huge chunk of the profits, you are getting ripped off. There are two places that pay a writer to self-publish, Amazon and Smashwords. That is the truth. You are making nearly seventy percent of your book sales in most cases. And the plus side of them is that they distribute your books to others stores and countries.
Now keep a record of all you spend on promoting your book as these things are tax deductible if you paid for them.
The good thing about all of this is that now days you can make a profit. But if you are a new writer I would tell you this, don't expect your books to sell like candy at first. Some might, most won't. It's a build-up of time and persistence that makes you a success.

Now where do you find all of this:

On the Google Search Engine, type in…royalty free stock photography-Editors:-Formatters-cover artist-Amazon-Smashwords.com. This will help you find most of everything you need. Also google:
Search engines, buying traffic.
Some of the places to advertise for romance is: The Romance Studio, Night Owl Romance, ARe, Bookstrand, The Romance Reviews, Coffee Time Romance, just to name a few.
Get on some lists if you are new to writing. Get to know people, as you'll meet fellow writers, editors, artists almost everyone you need and most of all…readers.
Do a blog, or visit other people's blogs and make comments. Do a review for someone and post it everywhere. Do you know that if you review someone and post it, it shows up in the search engines.
Build a nice website but watch you budget. For those that don't know html, I advise WIX.com.
Spend your money wisely, budget yourself, those are the keys to expenses. And keep a record of your receipts this is easy if you use PayPal.  You can tally your expenses in no time.

Rita Hestand


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Rita - there's so much more to writing books than simply writing. All those expenses, promo, you name it. *sigh*

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks for a truly informative blog. I've never tried self-publishing, but admire those who do.

Redameter said...

Self publishing used to be looked down on, that was when the people you used to publish with cost and arm and a leg, now there is Amazon and Smashwords. It doesn't cost except for the things mentioned in the article. However, I must warn some that self publishing takes a lot of a learning curve. You have to learn to do things and they are frustrating to learn and sometimes you have to get someone else to do it, like formatting for each avenue you use, Amazon, Smashwords, both different to submit to. Create Space is another place to self publish in print, doesn't cost except for the normal, cover, formatting and editing. And sometimes it cost to buy an ISBN #. But self publishing rewards you in the fact that you make most of the profit, once your book is up there. It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun too, but I love self publishing. You are still your own boss.