Through an unusual set of coincidences and associations, I recently found myself watching a live-streamed international conference for indie authors, as they hosted a variety of panels on different aspects of indie publishing.
There was a lot of what I considered to be mealy-mouthed advice handed out, none of it particularly harmful, but guaranteed to slow an author’s career down by a gear or two if faithfully followed.
I didn’t start frothing at the mouth until the panel coordinator said, and I quote (because I wrote it down): “Many indies get heavily involved in business matters.”
Like…there is a choice?
It got better. The coordinator turned to one of the panelist, an incredibly successful indie author, and asked: “What business aspects do you get involved in?”
Yes, it really was a serious question.
The panelist was very gracious. He was also honest. “All of them,” he said, with a straight face.
And he’s dead right.
You don’t have a choice when you’re an indie author. You are a business. The end. Period.
That means you get to do it all, or hire contractors to do it, whom you must supervise. As in, what normal business owners do.
Marketing, sales, pricing, packaging, shipping, distribution, finance, bookkeeping, taxes, contracts, customer service…. Anything that a business owner does, you get to do. You do not have a choice.
Well, actually, you do. You can refuse to sully your artistic hands with something as boring as accounting and serve several years in prison for tax evasion. It is a choice, of sorts. One that Hobson would chuckle over.
My point is: There is a shit-load of advice being sprayed at authors from all directions. The tsunami of crap they accuse us of producing is actually what is being thrown at us. Pick what advice you chose to follow with care. Due diligence (a.k.a. research) will help you figure out what is the crap and what is genuinely useful. Look at the source. Consider motives (both hidden and not).
Make an informed choice. Do learn all you can about running a business, because you are.
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