As an indie writer, I believe in sharing my knowledge about the process of creating my business platform. Every indie writer should use wordpress (WP). Of course if you can afford to have some marvellous website developer create a site for you then go ahead and do that. WordPress is fairly simple, but to create a really useful site does require ‘some’ technical ability. If you have lots of patience, you could definitely make it something GREAT. I’ve been messing with WP for a couple of years now, so I’ve learned a thing or two.
How do you make a wordpress website? Well, there are many ways. But personally, I’m hosting with Hostgator. They have a function in the Cpanel (the back of your website where the technical stuff happens) that AUTOMATICALLY installs wordpress for you. They also give you ENDLESS tech support. So definitely worth the sign up fees.
As for the graphics on my website. So far, all done by me using Photoshop CS4 and DeviantArt brushes. I’m sure my graphics aren’t perfect, but honestly, I’m so busy with my writing that I don’t have a lot of time to create sparkly graphics. So that suits me. I think they look good enough.
Finding the money to fund indie writing can be a challenge so doing things yourself really helps to cut down costs.
Things you should not spare money on: Editing!
I won’t say how much I paid for editing. But it was above the mean, weekly salary for an Australian income earner and it’s worth it. Every. Single. Cent.
You’re a writer. You need to write well. You need to learn where your strengths and weaknesses are. A critique group could help you with this, but nothing beats an editor with experience.
Who did I go to for editing? Red Adept Publishing. Specifically, Lynn O’Dell who is a wonderful person. She knows her stuff and honestly, she talks so much sense into my gung-ho, newbie-writer mind. It must have been torture for her on the first draft of my manuscript because honestly, it was tragic. Since then we’ve worked together. I’ve learned so much and I stuck with my story taking 6-7 months to bring it to a publishable form. Is it good? I think so! 😉
But honestly, you need to have thick thick skin in this writing world. Does that mean you won’t have breakdowns? No. You will certainly have mini meltdowns. But you will grow, and learn, and when your editor has butchered your manuscript for the third time you’ll realise that you’re getting better. You’re improving and one day you’ll awe your readers. Imagine that!
As for the covers of my novels, I’ve decided to go with Streetlight Graphics. Tabitha is an indie author who knows her stuff. She is taking care of my novel art and formatting and so far has been responsive and communicative. But honestly, I wanted to find someone who was affordable AND good. For $260.00 I’m getting a cover and formatting for various different platforms. A really great deal!
If you want pro covers that draw the eye and leave the viewer breathless, you’re looking around $500 dollars a book (just for the art, no typography or formatting). If this makes you cringe, realise that the product is the artists business. They need to make a living from their work and have spent countless unpaid hours developing their skills. It doesn’t mean that the cost isn’t painful though, and after you’ve been through payment for editing, seems a huge investment for one book. If you want to compete with the vast amount of other writers out there, then sometimes you need to fork out the money.
But then there’s the money the book ‘might’ make. Let’s do a little maths. *cringes*
If you set your novel at $2.99 on Amazon. You’ll get 70% royalties. Which is about $2.10 in your pocket.
Let’s say your initial costs for the book were $1200. In order to come out even you would need to:
Divide 1200 by 2.10 = 571.
So you need to sell 571 copies to make back your initial investment. Over ten years of your novel being ‘out there’, I think that’s feasible. You’d only need to sell 1 copy a week for 10 years.
Personally, I suggest you don’t quit your day job. It will help you fund your art until you’ve built up an established reader platform. I already have an established business that helps fund my writing, but am hoping to go full-time writing some time in the future. If I never do, I’ll still be writing. And I LOVE writing.
So that’s a run down on ‘my stuff’. There’s probably a horde of errors in this post, feel free to point them out and also any other suggestions on how I can improve my process… I am ALLLLLLL ears! 🙂 Bye!