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10 Decisions Every Indie Author Needs to Make

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Novel Marketing
Duration: 57:06
You’ve decided to self-publish your book. Congratulations! You’re about to begin an exciting journey.



Now there are nine more decisions to make before you’re published! Some of these decisions will affect the rest of your career, and you don’t want to make the wrong decis
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You’ve decided to self-publish your book. Congratulations! You’re about to begin an exciting journey.



Now there are nine more decisions to make before you’re published! Some of these decisions will affect the rest of your career, and you don’t want to make the wrong decision.



But never fear! This article will help you make good choices.



If you are trying to decide whether indie publishing is right for you, this is an episode that may be helpful. If you’re already planning to publish independently, you can’t afford to skip this post.



To give you two perspectives on these decisions, I interviewed Chautona Havig, an indie author who has written over 80 books and hosts the Because Fiction Podcast. She knows the indie publishing process inside and out, and she will help you avoid the pitfalls.



Decision #1: Book Size



Thomas Umstattd, Jr.: The first decision you need to make is what size of book you want to publish.



The most common formats are 6 x 9 inches and 5.5 x 8.5 inches. The ideal length for a paperback book is 200-250 pages. If your book is too short, consider the 5.5 x 8.5 size. If it’s too long, consider going with the larger 6 x 9-inch size.



A 200-page book is the sweet spot where you tend to make the most money and have the happiest readers. For every additional page beyond the 200-page mark, the cost of your book increases. When you’re printing your book on-demand, which indie authors do, the cost of printing goes up faster than the cost of the book.



People expect to pay more for longer books, but they don’t expect to pay much more. The cost of printing a 450-page book is almost twice that of a 200-page book, but you can’t sell it for twice the price.



Warning!



If you are writing a series, you are committing to this format size for the rest of the series. If you want your books to look good on the shelf, consider keeping the same format for all your books.



Chautona Havig: You may want to consider which size is more important to your reader. Some readers don’t like my 6 x 9 books, even though that’s the size I started with. Some hate it. Consider whether you want to make more money per book or sell more units.



Thomas Umstattd’s Recommendation:



Pick whichever size gets you closer to 200 pages. If your books tend to run long, consider the larger format. If your books tend to run short, consider the smaller format.



Decision #2: Print-on-Demand or Offset Printing?



Indie authors can choose offset printing, which is the same technology that traditional publishers use. You can print 5,000 copies of your book for $1-2 per book, depending on your printer.



Print-on-Demand (POD) costs $3-4 per copy, which makes offset printing sound like a good decision.



However, there are many hidden costs with offset printing, like warehousing, distribution, fulfillment, and shipping. The upfront cost of offset printing for 5,000 books at $3 per book will cost you $15,000 upfront. If you can’t sell 5,000 books, you may never recover your costs.



The upfront cost of print-on-demand is almost nothing.



Chautona: A friend of mine printed 3,
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