10 Steps to Making a Living as a Self-Published Fiction Author
Step 1: Decide if Self-Publishing is Right for You
Being an indie author isn’t for everyone. For some, it might be the biggest mistake they could make. Every writer is different, and you should never follow someone else’s path without knowing where that person is planning to go. Heaven for them might be Hell for you.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How much control do I want over the content, editing, and cover design of my book?
How well do I understand basic marketing and funnel design?
How willing am I to learn?
How fast am I able to go?
Is writing a hobby or a business for me?
It’s a common misconception that I think indie publishing is the only way. The truth is I am all-in on indie publishing for me. For Sterling & Stone, it doesn’t make sense to go Traditional. We’ve tried.
Our four traditionally published books are like the redheaded stepchildren of our studio. We can’t control the content, the Calls to Action (CTAs) at the back of the book, or a single element of our marketing.
Our traditionally published books have a few infuriating typos that we’ve begged our publisher to correct. We’ve been told that this is too ‘high touch.’ Yet books we publish ourselves can have typos corrected in hours.
Our traditionally published books have CTAs at the back telling the reader where the publisher wants them to go, not deeper into the author’s catalog. Books we publish ourselves set our readers on a natural path leading from buyer to reader to fan to evangelist.
Our traditionally published books are poorly marketed, and there’s nothing we can do to fix it. We can’t change the cover or the product description. We can’t adjust our pricing. We can do exactly dick, so the (lack of) revenue on those titles mocks us from afar.
Most of the strategies we use to sell our own books don’t work for traditional titles – and even if they did, why would we try them? Why spend good money on traffic to a 15% royalty where we control none of the variables, when we could send that same traffic to a book that’s earning us 70%, where we can also measure, track, and improve our results?
We would never ROI – we’d just be flinging our hard-earned money into the publisher’s golden toilet. And that would be lunacy.
Besides, I want my fingers in the clay from beginning to end. I love the entrepreneurial part as much as the artistry of what we do. So does everyone in our studio.
So independent publishing makes sense for us.
But for other authors — authors who want to write, write, write, going from one book to the next without worrying about any of the publishing minutiae — a traditional deal might make more sense.
You have to choose the path that’s right for you.”