Monday 29 January 2018

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Working Your Budget


You've all heard this before, a creative pursuit does not always make a lot of money. Oh I know there are authors out there making huge amounts, and more power to them. I also know there are indie authors who make lots of money, but this piece isn't really for them, but for authors like me who have a tight budget and need to make it stretch further and further all the time. One part of being indie is that a lot of the promotion, editing and such come out of your own pocket. It's something you actively choose when you come down this path, but it can still be a bit of a shock when you realise just how much money is needed. Today I thought I would go over a few tips I have used to help keep my budget out of the red, while still promoting my works and making sales.

I don't mean spam your twitter followers (or Facebook etc) with buy my book messages all day and every day. I mean using the free promo when it matters. Like for release day, or a cover reveal, and all of that. Be warned that sometimes free promo doesn't have as big a reach as the paid kind. Simply because they're also operating on a budget and their reach is somewhat limited. You can use sites like thunderclap to have a message spread over multiple platforms by a wide array of people. This usually works to some extent, but on top of that you need to be aware of the fact that sometimes there's not all that much follow through.

Since you'll have been building an audience for your book since before they were even close to published, you can always reach out to them and ask for them to share a post or other such things. Just be aware that not everyone will want to do that, and always, always, thank those that do. Thanking them sounds like something I shouldn't have to say, but yeah I do.

If you have a relationship with some big blogs, great, but anyone who can help spread the word is a good thing. Reach out to blog for reviews, make sure you check their guidelines and follow them. Also be aware that you'll have to provide them with a copy - either e-format or paperback - for them to review. On top of that they get hundreds of requests a day, so don't feel too disheartened if they don't respond either quickly or at all.

There are some good promo sites around that will help you get the word out. Sometimes it might mean going for one expensive and shoring it up with several low-cost promo sites to help yourself get maximum exposure. Those sites depend on your genre, but there are some great ones for YA, such as Ripley's Booklist and other such sites.

A lot of my points refer to promotion, but they can apply to other things too. Having said that, there will be some things that you can not, under any circumstances, skip or skimp on the cost. And that is editing and the cover design process. Yes, these things cost money and yes, they are on the range from too cheap to very expensive, but they need to be done to allow your book to sell. Depending on what you're looking for in a cover depends on how much you'll spend. Editing wise depends on which type of editor you use, their payment scale and all of that. My point is to be prepared for these costs because they can't be skimped on.

So there we go, my five tips for working within your budget. I have been very lucky to have a great cover artist, editing team and all of which allow me to pay for their services on a payment plan. This isn't unusual, at least in my experience, but you should be sure to discuss it with your chosen team. So go forth and work within your budget!

Do you have any tips of low-cost promo? Or tricks that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below!

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