Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting Debarshi Kanjilal, author of SuperBu: Homecoming, to share some secrets of being a successful independent author.
Note: Read author Debarshi Kanjilal’s interview with TRB here
The Four Secret Ingredients of a Successful Indie Author
I wanted to be a writer since the age of eight but didn’t know the path to becoming one. At the time, my idea of being an author was being published by Penguin Random House or Bloomsbury. Indie publishing had too much stigma around it.
Years later, when I did end up choosing the path of indie publishing, I was still fighting against similar stigma. But several books, blogs, forums, and courses later, I now know the reason for that stigma as well as the way to avoid it.
A traditionally published author enjoys a few unfair advantages because they’re backed by a big money business. But the unfair advantages created by that money can be offset by the additional effort and time put in by an indie author. So, what are these unfair advantages?
People often jump to the conclusion that big publishing houses sell more because they have a bigger marketing budget. While not untrue, they don’t just put money into marketing. They invest heavily in their editorial team – professional proofreaders, copy editors, substantial editors, they make sure that every book is editorially perfect. An indie author doesn’t always have the budget for all of that, but most rookie indie authors make the mistake of publishing without any editing whatsoever. I have been there and I still have some books out in the market that suffer due to editorial inferiority. But having learnt from those errors, I now have a formula that works – I try to work with at least three beta readers and at least one copy editor and implement their feedback before publishing anything. This ensures that my books have minimal editorial issues without shooting a hole through my pocket.
Typesetting and Formatting
Books are for readers – a very finite market segment. The truth is not many people who are not readers will buy and read your book. And readers are conditioned to expect a certain way of typesetting and formatting books. A good book will just not capture a reader’s imagination if it is formatted or typeset in a way that distracts them. The good news is that the bulk of indie publishing happens on Amazon, and Amazon has a product called Kindle Create that makes it easier to properly format and typeset both print books and e-books. It is important to utilize these resources efficiently.
While big publishers have access to a vast group of readers who are already waiting for their next book, indie authors do not have such a vast pre-existing audience. They need to cultivate that audience and regularly engage with them. A mailing list is the most effective tool to this end. Yes, you can also cultivate your audience via social media, but email is still the most effective way to connect with them on a personal level. A person who receives an email from you will care more about you and your book than someone who stumbles upon your post about your own book on social media. Social media works best when other people start talking about you and your book.
Lastly, big publishers have access to thousands of physical bookstores to display their books and therefore putting their books in front of innumerable eyes. As an indie author, you and I may not have this luxury. However, if your book cannot get any eyeballs then your book isn’t going to sell any copies. This is where digital marketing helps. Amazon ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, etc. democratize advertising to the extent possible. Even an indie author can set aside a small budget to test an online ad, see how it performs, optimize it further, and get in front of thousands of eyeballs. This is an opportunity you wouldn’t want to pass.
Being an indie author can be a rewarding as well as a fulfilling journey. But make no mistake, an indie author needs to work harder and keep toiling alone much longer in order to achieve success. That said, a good story supported by these four secret ingredients can make your journey absolutely worthwhile.
About the author:
Debarshi Kanjilal (DK) is an urban fiction writer based out of Bangalore, India. His debut novella, Based on Lies, was touted as a gripping psychological thriller by several reputable reviewers.
His latest novella, SuperBu: Homecoming is an emotional journey of a family and their dog. Debarshi ran the ‘God of Absurdity’ blog from 2012 to 2015, which published humorous anecdotes and reflection pieces.
He is also an accomplished learning experience design professional who has helped shape adult learning strategy for some of the most well-known organizations globally.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
ABOUT THE BOOK:
This is not a children’s book or a fairy tale. This novella is not all about fun, or that fuzzy feeling you get from stories about dogs. It is a dramatic story of a family who brought home a dog. If you are looking for a book that’ll keep you continuously smiling through the antics of an adorable puppy, this is perhaps not the book for you.
So, now that you know what not to expect, let’s talk about what you can expect from this book. Have you or someone you know ever felt like something is missing in your life and getting a dog could help you fill a void? Did you, or an acquaintance of yours, end up actually getting that dog? Did you and your dog figure out how to navigate through life together?
This is the story of that dog, or a dog like that one. But more importantly, this is the story of that version of you, or that acquaintance of yours, who decided to act and bring home that dog, or of people like you who went through similar experiences in life.
You can find SuperBu: Homecoming here:
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