This is a guest post by Coral Russell, author, marketer and pretty cool all around gal!
I know I should consider myself a self-publisher because Indie is usually associated with Small Presses, but I think the new wave of authors taking the reins and publishing their own books via the Internet and specifically eBooks are Independents in the true sense of the word.
As a life-long reader, I was a die-hard paperback fan and thought I'd never switch to reading eBooks. All that changed last year and I haven't looked back. I love my Kindle and a survey revealed that once readers switch to using eReaders, they don't go back to pBooks. I fall in that category.
So when the fiction-writing bug bit after winning a contest (I've been writing non-fiction for a long time), it was natural for me to look into publishing eBooks instead of pBooks. That look lasted seven months and is still ongoing. Here's what I've learned so far:
Write a darn good story or at least a story that you would want to read or at least a story that you are extremely happy with.
Write a short story that compliments the genre you're writing your novel in, then give it away – feedbooks, wattpad, BookRix, and others sites are great for this. Include it in an anthology-you have writing friends don't you? Collaborate. Include it in an anthology for charity-everyone likes contributing to a good cause and there are a ton out there (i.e. No Trees Harmed for First Book).
It's good to be a control freak. If you enjoy every aspect of the process of creating an eBook, then the only thing you may have to pay for is a book cover and for sure, editing. Editing is a must. Editing separates the writer from the hobbyist. Also if you enjoy the process, then you will be happy no matter what the outcome.
Adopt the motto – I don't know any strangers. That is fairly easy and painless with the Internet and social media. Don't know the first thing about building a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Technorati, Blogcritics, etc.? The Indie Book Collective has great seminars to get you on your feet. My daughter announced one day she wanted to build a homework robot. I told her, that's called the Internet, honey. If you have any problem or are unsure of how to do something, Google it. Someone, somewhere in the world has had the same problem and probably offered a solution for free.
Get to know your reviewers. You need good, honest, objective reviews and you can get them on shelfari, goodreads (eBook Giveaways group), LibraryThing (Member Giveaways), and more. Cozy up with blog tours – Novel Publicity, Nurture Your Books, Author Blog Tours, Indie Book Collective, BLB Book Tours – some are higher priced than others, so pick what you can afford. OR, you can go it alone. I add book review sites to my blog roll all the time and these three sites make it easy to find blogs that may be interested in reviewing your masterpiece – BookConnector, Step-by-Step Self Publishing, The Indie Book Blog Database.
Want to pay for reviews? If it's good enough for the first self-published million eBook seller, John Locke, it's good enough for you. He used 15 Dollar Reviews and BookRooster (I already went undercover at these two sites and blogged about it).
Support your fellow Indie authors. Tons of ways to do this through networking, collaboration, book reviews, exchanging forewords, linking to your books, sharing, retweeting, guest posts, etc.
And this is just the tip of the ice burg.
Sound like a full-time job? It is. I have a calendar set up with the times to do the different activities I need to do so I won't spend too much time on any one activity. But it is working, I sell every month and those sales are increasing every month. Good luck and feel free to connect with me, I'm always interested in meeting new Indie authors!
Coral Russell reads/reviews Indie authors on alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com Check out her Stalker Package to connect. She has written The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, Playing with Fire , Twelve Worlds, Peace on the Peninsula, and Amador Lockdown.