Top four things to consider before going indie – Krystal Ford

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By Krystal Ford

So you wrote a book. Congratulations! Now what? If you can’t find a publisher or an agent to take it on, does that mean your book can’t cut it in the real world? That’s a question I grappled with before I decided to go independent route. The rejection rate in the publishing world is sky-high, but the road to self-publishing is neither smooth nor easy. ♥

Here are four things you should consider before going Indie:


The first and most important thing you should think about is how much money you’re willing to invest upfront. Major expenses include paying for an editor (a must!) and a cover designer. How much editing your book requires will determine how much you spend, but PLEASE do yourself a favor and get it edited. Part of what makes selling indie books so hard is people think self-published = crappy editing.

Which brings me to the next point: You know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, that’s not true when it comes to actual books. Amateur covers are going to have a much harder time getting attention. My goal was to make my book indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. Finally, you might want to consider investing in a publicity company and ads.


You think writing a book took a lot of time? What about trying to figure out how to create the physical book and then sell it? Expect to do a lot of research, not to mention platform building (that’s website and social media). And remember, you won’t have anyone holding your hand as you do this.


When you finally hold your book in your hand, you will have taken a crash course in publishing. Along the way, expect to learn about everything from pricing and marketing to publicity and distribution . . . and more. My advice is to browse blogs and websites, borrow books about the industry, and learn as much as you can before you decide to self-publish. And be ready to make mistakes along the way!


Here’s the thing about self-publishing: It’s chockful of self-doubt. Even though I thought I had a good story, and I spent the money on editing, there was still a voice in the back of mind, whispering that my story wasn’t good enough — that I was a failure because I didn’t use the traditional publishing route. Make peace with this demon.

I set very realistic expectations before I published my book. I knew I wasn’t going to strike it rich. I knew maybe a fraction of my friends and family would buy the book. My definition of success was whether I made more than what I spent.

“Sure,” you might be saying, “lots of self-published authors make money.” But ask them how many books they wrote and how long it took to get out of the red.

This is a marathon, baby. I don’t regret jumping in the race.

Originally from Montreal, Krystal Ford has fallen in love with the Hudson Valley, New York, where she calls home with her husband and two children. She has a Master of Arts from New York University and, when she’s not writing, works as a community organizer around environmental issues. Her favorite pastimes are reading books and gardening.

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