Friday, June 15, 2018

How to Build an Indie Empire—What You're Selling Matters

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

*disclaimer. This series is about following rules. I know that Indies don’t have to follow rules. That’s the whole point of being indie. But indies who pay attention to what rich and famous authors do, have a much better shot at fame and riches.*

I mentioned a software program called Vellum in part 5 of this series. I highly recommend you get this software, by hook or by crook. It makes life as an indie so much easier! Sure, you have to invest in a Mac computer to get it, but empires cost money. If you have Vellum, with the push of a few buttons, your perfectly formatted ebook becomes a perfectly formatted paperback, and having a paperback for sale matters.

It matters because people will judge if you are a real author or not by if you have paperback books for sale, as though the format of the book is what matters rather than the content. People are weird.

It matters because the ebook price will appear to be a “discount” on your amazon page if you have a more highly priced paperback available as well. They actually tell shoppers how much money they will save by buying the ebook. It’s wonderful that way.

It matters because you can opt in for some fun options like the discount for buying both ebook and paperback. 

Paperbacks aren’t all that matters—audiobooks do, too! And it is just as simple/hard to get those as it is to get a paperback. 
Amazon owns Createspace which is the site I recommend you use for your paperbacks, and ACX which is the place I recommend you use for audio. 

For your paperbacks, you will need a cover and a pdf file of your book. I have found, through the years, that there is a Youtube video for everything you want to learn how to do. If you need help with creating the pdf see what tutorials are available on Youtube. As for the cover, try first to work with the designer I convinced you to use for your ebook! Much easier than doing it on your own, and worth the money.

For audiobooks, the process is as simple as uploading your book and its info to ACX and waiting around for someone to want to narrate it. The waiting can take awhile. While waiting for auditions to poor forth, you can also listen to narrator samples and ask those you like if they are interested.

If all you have for sale is a series of ebooks, you are not making the most of your diverse income streams. And speaking of income streams, it’s time to talk about distribution options.

If you stick to “just” Amazon you can put your books in the Kindle Select program where you will be paid if readers borrow the book and read it. This can be a nice little chunk of change. It wouldn’t hurt to have some of your books in this program.

If you distribute your eBooks widely either going to each site on its own or using a distributor like Draft 2 Digital or Smashwords, you can tap other reader markets. This can also be a good chunk of change. It is also your one chance to get on a best sellers list like USA Today. They only consider books for the list if they can be bought at a variety of locations, even though many books that are only available at Amazon will outsell their best seller numbers on any given day. But the lists make the rules, and if you want to get listed, you have to play right.

Welp, this has been your six part guide to building an indie empire! Is this the sum of all indie knowledge? I wish! But it is a foundation that will launch you on an exciting career. As you work, you will need to keep up with trends and opportunities, but that, in my opinion, is half the fun.

How to build an indie empire—what you're selling matters - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

It's important to take advantage of the multiple income streams available to indie authors - @TraciTyneHilton on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven RomanticMysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at

Don't miss the previous posts
1. How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—What You Write Matters

2. How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—How You Advertise Matters

3. How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—How You Release Books Matters

4. How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—What You Write Matters

5. How Authors Can Build an Indie Empire—What Your Book Cover Looks Like Matter

1 comment:

  1. Good post and information. I thought Createspace had changed?I'm not up on it, but all of this has been interesting. Thank you Traci.