Saturday, January 3, 2015

Indie Publishing: The Good, Bad and the Ugly



by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
(International bestselling author)

In 2003 I began my career as a published novelist. Previous to this I had published smaller works—in magazines, newspapers and one anthology. I decided to go the indie route because I was tired of trying to get published and only collecting rejection letters. It was the best decision I ever made.

In 2003 my novel, Whale Song, was released and it saw moderate success, along with two other titles, and I was able to hone my skills as an avid book marketer. I made the book signing circuit to bookstores in both British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. And I began marketing online as well.

In 2006 Whale Song was picked up by a small Canadian publisher. It was re-released in 2007. It sold well and surpassed 5,000 copies in sales, making Whale Song a national bestseller. It also made various Amazon bestseller lists: .com, .ca and co-UK, making it an international bestselling book. However, the publisher began experiencing financial difficulties, along with other problems, and I pulled out. This was definitely the “bad” period in my career.

In 2010 Amazon opened KDP to Canadian authors and I went back to my roots—indie publishing. For me it’s probably the best fit. I am by nature very independent and a strong marketer. Plus I’m an “idea person.” Even my former publisher saw this in me and often called me a “guru” or “marketing genius.” While I don’t consider myself a genius, I do know that I’m a risk-taker.

In 2012 I had nine ebooks published—most have made numerous bestsellers’ lists—and eight trade paperbacks. I’m also published in another anthology, What Fears Become. And I’ve moved from bestselling author to publisher, a move that has surprised me, yet is so rewarding that it’s hard to explain. My company, Imajin Books, isn’t like most publishers. We think ahead and out of the box.

I’m still technically indie published as I’ve published all my own titles now, but Imajin authors are traditionally published. We pay them advances and regular royalties. And we pay them more than most publishers. In many ways we treat our authors as though they’re indie published. They have more say in their books, titled, covers and trailers. We think of them as partners, even though they’ve put no money up front for publication of their titles. Like I said, I’m a risk taker.

During my career I’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly. But now I see a wide window of opportunity. Those who go the indie route will be successful if they have what it takes—marketing know-how and determination. What an exciting time to be in publishing! Especially if you’re an idea person like me.

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