Monday, October 12, 2015


I’m an indie published author of over ten romance titles. I began publishing in 2012 and intend to keep publishing until I die, or until an eccentric billionaire asks me to join a superhero team (whichever comes first). I call what I do “indie” publishing rather than self-publishing because I don’t work alone. A host of professionals work with me nearly every step of the way. If you’re considering indie publishing, but think you can’t do it on your own, good news! You don’t have to!

Writing is still job #1
Remember, if you don’t write, there’s no book to publish, and nothing to sell. No agent or publishing house will keep you in line. So develop word count goals, a production schedule, and launch dates for your books. Then stick to it. Turn that manuscript into something you can hand to an editor!

Editing with a Pro
ALL BOOKS NEED EDITORS. NO EXCEPTIONS. Going indie is your opportunity to make your book the best it can be, not just “good enough”. So you’ll need to find and hire a freelance editor. You may need to try out a few before you find one who fits your style. Your editor should work with you, be honest with you, and support your vision for the book.  

Proofreading is its own job
My editor does include a proofreading pass, but I also hire a dedicated proofreader to check the final draft for typos and mistakes. Don’t do this by yourself. Trust me. I have four to five people proofread the book (volunteers, that is, in addition to the paid proofer). Everyone catches something the others missed.

Formatting is a skill
If you’re indie publishing, you’re likely focusing on ebooks. You can learn to format the files to upload to various retailers, or you can hire a professional (I happen to rely on my computer programmer husband). Don’t be afraid to demand fixes if necessary—readers will not tolerate shoddy formatting.

Cover designers are artists worth paying
Unless you are a designer, don’t do your own covers. Seek out and hire a professional cover designer. (This is especially true if you plan on a series!) A striking, well-made book cover is a marketing tool you will use again and again and again. It reinforces your author brand and speaks instantly to readers, even before they click a link.

Create a virtual office
Once you hit publish, you’re going to be making sales. That means money. YAY! If you’re not comfortable handling all the financials on your own, don’t. Hire an accountant you can email or call when you have questions (and when tax time comes around). Hire an author assistant to help with marketing management or other tasks. Use your true fans to build a street team. Doing research? Pay a short-term intern to gather information. Hire an agent just to handle foreign translation rights. It all depends on what you need.

Design your own system, with you at the top
Indie publishing is a growing market, which means that there are now many services for authors. It seems daunting at first, but once you find those professionals you love, you don’t have to look again! I have built relationships with my pros over time, and I can now rely on them to offer advice and insight I would never have access to otherwise. Yes, working on all the aspects of publishing does take some time away from writing. But the reward is a book you can truly believe in!

Got questions? Get in touch with me at!♥

Elizabeth Cole is a romance author with a penchant for history, which is why she lives in an old house in an old city. She can be found hanging around libraries and archives, or curled in a corner reading, cat on lap. She believes in love at first sight. Then again, she also believes that mac 'n' cheese is a healthy breakfast, so don't trust her judgment on everything. Find about more at

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