Congratulations to my publisher The Wild Rose Press for winning “Best ePublisher” five years in a row here. Being with a #1 ePublisher feels good. About the same time I signed a contract with TWRP for The Paris Notebook, I self-published my first indie novel Sister Issues on Kindle. I thought it would be interesting to see the differences between doing it myself and having a publisher. I can now report that:
1. Money: the money I earned on each book so far is about the same. Quarterly earnings in 3 figures. Low 3 figures. Don’t let that discourage you. Other authors earn much more. They promote their work more effectively, write more books, write sexier books, paranormals, series.
Another money issue, if you go indie, you’ll probably have out-of-pocket expenses. Nothing like what a vanity press would charge. (Many people think indie publishing and vanity presses are the same but they are not. A vanity press will take thousands of your dollars and not even edit your masterpiece. Not even a spell check!) But a couple of hundred bucks if you hire out any of the hard stuff. With TWRP the author pays nothing and the publisher does everything.
2. Content Control: Going indie means I have complete control of content. It also means your book will need an editor unless you have two degrees in English and a super smart critique group, like I do. Freelance editors charge fees as low as $100 but some are much higher. Going indie, you’ll need to do your homework here. Ask indie authors you’ve read and enjoyed who edited their books. With TWRP, I worked closely with an editor.
My TWRP editor advised I cut a subplot and add a consummation scene. I really loved that subplot so I turned it into the free short story “Sarah’s Survival Guide” on my website. I paid a friend who is good with graphic design $100 to make a cover. I think the book would have been better with the subplot but it would not have been a romance.
As for the consummation scene, this is a personal decision. TWRP does have a “sweet” line of books for people who want to be sure they are reading “G” rated material. My book was not sweet, even without the consummation scene. I had four letter words and lots of sexy foreplay. So I wrote the scene.
3. Covers: As an indie, I had to find a cover that looked professional or hire someone to do it. After a long time of trying to stage a cover myself, I got permission from my daughter-in-law to use a pic of her and her sister. I paid them peanuts, but I think anyone who gives permissions like that should be paid. At TWRP I got a great professional cover by one of their artists. Didn’t have to pay a dime or do a thing but fill out an art-fact sheet.
4. Print: As an indie, I knew it would cost a little more ($100 working with Amazon’s Create Space) to have Sister Issues available in print. I decided not to do that. Yet. With TWRP, if you write 65,000 words or more, your book goes to print. That was a thrill!!
5. Format: As an indie, I had to find someone to format my Word document into KDP (Mobi). I tried several times and could not get it to work right. I found someone to help with that for $100. Turn around time was less than 24 hours and my book looks great. TWRP does all that for you:)
6. Marketing: As an indie, you are on your own. I read up on self-promotion and did what I could with the time I have. I want to write, not market my work. But with indies, self-promotion is essential. TWRP has a marketing department. They send galleys to all kinds of review sites and I pulled in a few reviews that way. They chat up your books on Twitter and Facebook. They ask you for ideas to partner with them to promote your book. I’ve done a bit of that, too.
7. Distribution: Most stores that sell books do not sell indie books. If you live by an indie bookstore, lucky you! But you need to make first contact. TWRP handles distribution. That is huge. Everything TWRP does for me is huge. I want no part of making covers, formatting, or distributing my books. So the clear winner, at least for me, is The Wild Rose Press.