What is an Indie Publisher?
You might be familiar with "indie producers" -- those intrepid filmmakers who work outside the big movie studios to create documentaries, independent films, and today -- a whole variety of digital media that is distributed to schools, over video services such as YouTube, on cell and smart phones ... and increasingly on movie screens, televisions in homes, and on the Web.
That digital revolution has also shaped the new "indie publishing" model. Authors and creatives are taking charge of their written words, their illustration and their digital media and are using their personal network of creative support services, online distribution and promotion platforms to get their ideas out into their communities ... and the greater marketplace.
I'm not going to say it is easy being an indie publisher. Believe me, I have the scars to show for my efforts! I published my first chapbook that was typeset on an ancient IBM Composer, and have moved with the digital revolution through the desktop computer, the Internet and now the e-book readers.
But what I've learned over the years of working as a graphic designer, editor, creative director, and self-publisher -- is that it's doable. You can't do everything yourself, but you can do more than you ever imagined! It's truly like a journey. You learn along the way. And the destination needs to be worth your effort!
The alternative is often NOT getting published. The traditional publishing world is expensive, very star-struck, being bombarded with the digital revolution (people like us!) ... and is now looking to the innovative digital self-publishers for their own salvation! Wow -- what a change that is!
So if you have lots of ideas, good solutions, and you know people who like what you share -- you could be a good candidate for independent publishing. We'll help you look at your options and then you can make an informed choice about the journey and where it could take you.
Publishing Best Practices
We'll learn from our traditional publishing ancestors, just as they learned from their forerunners and improved on the model. After all, few modern publishers still use movable type! Now we will leapfrog over some of the traditional publishing processes and take advantage of today's processes. Like these:
Project Selection Process
Not every project deserves wide distribution -- but every project has its own value. Sometimes an essay needs to be shared with family and friends. Sometimes it can be expanded into a chapter, or a book, or it could become the heart of a movie or series of books or a documentary. Today's media options have exploded like a volcano -- unexpectedly and with the passion of fire that can both create new landscapes...and burn!
It's hard knowing if your own creative work is worth the investment required to go public. We know that. And we provide you with not just our opinions, but ways to test your ideas inexpensively and with the right people so that you can gauge for yourself how you want to proceed.
I have been a writer and publisher about "sustainable communities" for many years and one of my basic beliefs is "buy less, buy better." I apply that philosophy to my creative projects, too. And we can help you take the fear out of making creative decisions.
Every creative professional needs editing.
Have you noticed that different people understand your ideas very differently? How bias and insults can creep in where you didn't intend anything of the kind? That's why an unbiased, but caring editor can improve your work.
And then there are the mundane matters of grammar, spelling, formatting, and spicing up boring sections of your otherwise inspiring or informative work. This is "work"... not ego stroking. And you will want best practices applied to your work because when it hits the streets, the critics and commenters on blogs and bookstores won't spare your feelings!
Product Design and Production
We live in a "high design world". The desktop publishing revolution, the snazzy design of electronic devices and glitzy special effects on TV and the movies have raised the bar on design expectations.
Your product deserves a second glance -- so you deserve good cover design, good messaging in your promotion and quality layout, linking, and other digital fundamentals in the digitized marketplace.
And HOW a product is delivered has become PART of the product. We help you make it easy for your prospects and devoted fans to find and purchase your works. E-commerce, promotional outreach and even the offer of specials and bonuses are all part of the "experience" people want when they buy information products today.
Administrative Copyright/IP Management
Everyone worries about their copyright. Everyone. But most people don't know the details such as: your "original" creative content is copyrighted from the moment of creation; registering your copyright can provide additional enforcement benefits -- but that means that YOU are in charge of actively researching, monitoring and enforcing your copyrights.
Another aspect to rights management is "intellectual property" -- the ability to license, sell and bequeath your copyrights, trademarks, etc. This can become important as your creative muscles mature and you develop a devoted fan-base and wide distribution.
Digital and Physical Distribution
Just because you won't end up with a closet full of books doesn't mean there isn't distribution -- or storage -- involved with digital publishing. You have promotional materials, displays, sample printed books, and other physical objects to manage. And you have digital files to convert, store (and find!), send to all your distribution platforms ... and update occasionally.
Marketing Research and Strategy
Knowing who, what, when, where, why and how is essential to knowing and serving your community. That's what market research helps you identify and update. And we help you translate that community's hopes, dreams and demands into your promotion, sales, reselling strategies to make this not just a hobby, but a real business that brings you cash and business value.
Promotion and Community Building
Speaking of community -- you probably would like some feedback and interaction with your fans. Right? That requires building a community based on activities, record keeping, and ongoing communications. That builds awareness and trust. And that builds sales. Your fans and supporters will spread the word about your books, promotional events, ideas and great personality! We help you build a reasonable strategy to meet your personality, your budget and your time investment.
And don't forget sales! No one -- well, almost no one likes to sell. The good news is that most people don't LIKE to be sold! So we help you make it easy for people to BUY and ENJOY your idea products. That is easier said than done, as you can probably imagine. Sales isn't easy, that's why most people don't like to sell. But if you plug into good sales systems -- it's a real business asset!
Business Planning and Operations
So we've explored the creative, editorial and production processes -- but what about your business? Authors are independent contractors when a publishing house licenses their books. When authors take on publishing their own book(s), they move into the small business world. The scale of your operation determines how fast you need to move from "hobby" size business to "mom and pop business" to "small business" to "conglomerate"! :-)
We can help you navigate the record keeping, licenses, etc. that a small business needs to stay legal with the government, manage your finances in a reasonable way, and measure your success against your goals!
And we can help you streamline many business operations for publishing by using online businesses that we continually research, evaluate and develop working relationships with. We are advocates for our clients and our business is helping you develop your business in a sustainable way.
I hope this explains the scope of the journey ahead of you. It is a fascinating, inspiring, joyful journey. But it takes work and faith in your ideas. It takes a community around you. And your ideas can flow like your favorite car cruising down the highway to your favorite destination -- a diverse journey that makes life worth living!