Career Indie Author

Career Indie Author coverWith the rise in self-publishing, more and more authors find themselves running a business without any training or education.

Currently a work in progress with a proposed publication date of late 2017, The Career Indie Author page publishes posts every Monday offering a variety of best practices you can use to build your business. Chapters cover maintaining your health, staying in financial shape, time- and resource-management and moves on to tracking your research, organizing your calendar and lists, setting up your website and making decisions about whether you should blog (only if you want to) and engage in social media (probably not, depending on your goals).

“The Career Indie Author” stays away from offering advice on how to write your book — there are plenty of excellent resources to draw on — it guides you through the editing and book production processes, and into publicizing and marketing your book.

“The Career Indie Author” will be a cookbook of advice to draw on throughout your writing career. As new online services become available, you’ll be able to draw on the CIA’s advice to decide if they’re for you. It promises to be the last word on managing the business of book publishing.

The posts up on the website are listed in two ways: as part of the table of contents, and as they were published with the latest one at the top.

          A Day in the Life of the Indie Writer
          Who Is The Career Indie Author For?
          Indie Writing As The New Vaudeville
          Negotiating the Writing Sieve
          The Types of Career Indie Authors

I. The Principles Behind this Book


How to use this book

II. Taking Care of Yourself
          A. The Healthy Writer
          B. Money
                    1. How much money do you need?
                    2. How to Save Like a Writer
                    3. Case Study: The Complete Tightwad Gazette
                    4. Case Study: Patricia Cornwell and Neal Gabler
          C. Life and the Afterlife
                    1. Copyrights
                    2. Wills
                    3. Life Insurance
                    4. Archives
                              a. Do you need one?
          D. Organization
                    1. The best system is the one you use
                    2. Master To-Do List / Week’s To-Do List
                    3. Time Management
                    4. Case Study: Don Aslett
                    5. Case Study: Getting Things Done
          E. Choices and Consequences
                    1. How to avoid bad advice
                    2. Behavior

III. Caring for the Writer
          A. Building good habits
                    1. Start with little tasks done regularly.
                    2. The power of feedback.
                    3. The power of intermittent reinforcement.
                    4. Distraction-Free Writing Software.
                    5. The power of 10 percent.
                    6. The power of a deadlines. Flaubert’s motto.
          B. How to battle procrastination
          C. File system
                    1. Writing by File Folder
                              a. Keeping Track of Your Research
                    2. Using Scrivener
          D. Calendars, Notebooks, and Lists
                    1. Calendars
                              a. Using MS Publisher
                    2. Notebooks
                    3. Lists: I Hate Them / I Love Them
                              a. The power of the check box
                    4. Keeping track of your production
          E. Spousal Support

IV. Building Your Company
          A. What type of company
                    1. Sole-proprietorships
                    2. LLCs
                    3. Corporations
                    Case Study: Boss Life review
          B. Your company’s name, logo
                    1. Fun with your logo
          C. Mission Statement and Motto.
          D. Domain names
          E. Should You Hire Help?
                    1. Judging book marketing services.
                    2. Accountant and tax-preparer
                    3. Lawyer: Intellectual property and wills/estates
                    4. Avoiding the pitfalls
                              a. Book marketers
          F. Technology
                    1. The lure of the new
                    2. Regular backups
          3. Defending your computer
                    a. The Best Defense: A Second Computer
          G. Data
                    1. Recording Book Sales
                    2. Recording Income/Expenses
          H. Accounting
          I. Taxes

V. The Life Cycle of a Story
          A. Book Production Checklist
          B. What To Write
          Sidebar: Where Do Story Ideas Come From? (Part One) (and Part Two)
          C. Calculating Profit / Loss
          D. Research
          E. Promotional opportunities.
          F. Tools
                    1. Word
                    2. Scrivener
                    3. Distraction-Free Writing
          G. Editing / Revision
                    1. Difference Between Developmental and Copy Editing
                    2. How to Revise
                    3. Beta readers / editors-for-hire
                              Case Study: But What of Earth?
                    5. Organize MS for others
                    6. Consider again promo opportunities
                    7. Convert to an ebook
          H. Design
                    1. Book Covers
                                        a. Cover Design
                    2. Jacket and Sales Copy
                    3. Ebooks
                    4. Trade Paperback
                              Sidebar: Should You Offer A Trade Paperback Edition?
                              Sidebar: Book Design Checklist
                              Sidebar: Library of Congress Programs
                              Sidebar: How to Make a PDF CreateSpace Will Adore
                    5. Audiobooks
          H. Post-Publication
                    1. Copyright the book
                    2. Free books
                    3. Review copies

VI. Marketing/Publicity
                    Sidebar: Book Marketing as Watering Holes
          A. Your Persona
          B. The Web Site
                    1. Your First Web Site
                    2. Website vs. social media
                    3. A brief word about search engine optimization
                    3. Minimal needs
                              a. Book cover
                              b. Description
                              c. Excerpt
                              d. Buy links
                    4. Optional stuff
                              a. Blog
                              b. Essays
                              c. Host podcasts and videos
                              d. Yourself as a personality
                    5. How much do you need to know about how your website works?
                    Case study: Why I Learned to Love Gmail
          C. Mailing List/Newsletter
          D. Social Media
                    1. Goodreads.
                    2. Twitter
                              a. Lists
                              b. Stream of advertising.
                              c. Broaden readership through Retweets.
                                        Case Study: Paulo Cohelo RT story.
                    3. Pinterest
                    4. Facebook
                    5. Tumblr
                    6. Instagram
          E. Publicity
                    1. An onion model of publicity
                              a. Local
                              b. Regional
                              c. National
                    2. Press releases
                    3. Videos
                    4. Podcasts
                    5. Public appearances
                              a. Booksignings
                              b. Speeches and Presentations
                              c. Media Interviews
                              d. Conventions
                                        Sidebar: York Book Expo
                    6. Email blasts
                              a. Case Study: Paul Bishop Discovers the Power of Tribes
          F. Reviews
                    1. Pay to Play?
                    2. Soliciting
                    3. Handling bad reviews
                              a. Do not feed the trolls
                              b. Flood the zone
                    4. Awards: Scam or Fraud?
          G. Cheatonomics
          H. Amazon Authors Page
                    1. Putting reviews, excerpts, other material through Author Central

VII. Final Words

Bibliography and Reading List


  • How to Take a Great Author Photo If you want to give someone the heebie-jeebies, pull out a camera and ask if you can take their picture. If you want to see them collapse in a sweat, ...
  • When Should You Create An Author Pen Name?While you’re setting up your company, you should think about the need for an author pen name. A name conveys an image or meaning. It tells the reader something about you ...
  • Setting Up An Author Social NetworkRemember the Far Side “Cow Tools” cartoon? It showed a cow, standing up before her display table that showed a bunch of sticks and lumps. In his book, Gary Larson ...
  • Basic story editingThis is a Career Indie Author post that won’t go into the book, because it’s about basic story editing. This came about after reading a genre novel that was by someone ...
  • Case Study: Amazon Author Pages and Author Website Mistakes I’ve been exercising to The Author Biz podcasts, and heard about an author who I wanted to check out. I listened for her name, and her character, and when I ...
  • Case Study of an Author Press Release We all need Hemingway’s shockproof bullshit detector, but it’s vital when you’re running your own business. Career indie authors have so many options to promote themselves and their books that ...
  • Author Advertising for BeginnersAs mentioned before, there are three ways to reach customers: through marketing, publicity, and advertising. Marketing is anything you do to spread the word, such as blogging on a website, ...
  • Launching and Writing an Author NewsletterProbably the most effective way of staying in touch with your dedicated readers is through an author newsletter. It’s the perfect match: you have something you want to sell, and ...
  • Your First Author WebsiteThe website is the one of the few requirements for the career indie author. It acts as your online headquarters, where everyone can reach you. This post will outline what ...
  • Book Marketing Advice: Ministers and Teachers When I sat down to write a CIA post, I knew what I wanted to do. I had an outline for an article full of book marketing advice, specifically online ...
  • What Does A Book Launch Campaign Look Like?Part of the reason why I’m writing The Career Indie Author is to educate myself about the business. I’ve been writing and publishing – in books and newspapers and other ...
  • When does a genre specific cover work This episode of the Career Indie Author is overdue. This week has been full of editing my wife’s first book, “Suburban Stockade.” It’s in the hands of CreateSpace, and if ...
  • Masterminding Your New Book LaunchI confess, this draft on your new book launch is a bit of a mess. As a longtime observer of the publishing scene, and a longtime website owner (since about ...
  • Eight Ways to Damage Your Career on Amazon So you’ve got your books up on Amazon. You put some of them in the Kindle Unlimited program, so you’ll get paid if someone reads them. Great! Now all you ...
  • An Indie Writers Glossary: M-Z The indie author world has a unique vocabulary. Words are drawn from traditional publishing, These are commonly used terms in the online world used by indie authors. Many of them ...
  • An Indie Author Glossary: A-LOne thing I learned from my membership in the 20Booksto50K group on Facebook is that there are always new writers appearing who need a guide to the lingo we use. ...
  • Website vs. Social Media: Which Path Should You Take?Website vs. social media? There are people who decide to ditch the website in favor of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. This is not a good idea. You can invent ...
  • Calling on Beta Readers to Help Polish Your ManuscriptIt used to be that an author would have one or more people to act as beta readers to look over a manuscript. It was a spouse, family members, a ...
  • Writers Health CareThe best writers health care starts with prevention, but when minor illnesses get you down, you don’t have to lie back and take it. It is not the job of The ...
  • The Writer’s Curse: Carpel-Tunnel Syndrome and Other Aches and PainsSpend enough time at your desk writing, and your body will start complaining. It could take the form of muscle ache, swelling in the joints, a buzzing feeling in your ...
  • Your First WebsiteB. Your First Website 1. How to build your website The Career Indie Author is intended to be used as a map, showing you the wide, expansive terrain of indie publishing. Doing ...
  • Audiobook PublishingThe explosion of audiobook publishing in the past few years, fueled by smartphone sales, presents a significant revenue opportunity for indie writers. There are two major decisions in the process of ...
  • Cheatonomics“Cheatonomics” describes techniques that you should find offensive or unethical. Adopting these tactics can damage your reputation and sales if you’re caught. The author does not endorse or recommend anything ...
  • Library of Congress ProgramsBefore I begin with today’s excerpt about the Library of Congress’ programs, I want to mention that mega-best-selling author Michael Anderle has a great Facebook group where more than 2,400 ...
  • How I Stopped Worrying And Learned to Love Ebook PiracyIt’s bound to happen: You get a Google Alert email for your name or your book title, click on it, and see the Jolly Roger appearing over the horizon. Your ...
  • Peeling the Onion of Author PublicityDoes a writer need publicity? We’ll never know for sure. There are indie writers who are successful without performing what we think of as publicity. They write books that readers ...
  • Buying Book Reviews and AwardsReviews and awards can be an effective tool in spreading the word about your book. Readers can encounter them on your web site, Amazon Author’s page, and your Twitter, Facebook, ...
  • The Career Indie Author and MoneyThere is nothing quite as wonderful as money. — Monty Python Money makes the world go round. — Cabaret The scary thing about owing your own business is the yawning gap between what you ...
  • Bookselling scripts at Hershey Winter Arts and Crafts Show 2016It’s said that pressure makes diamonds. It also can make something unexpected. The Winter Arts Show was this past weekend. It was our third appearance at the show. We have done ...
  • Preparing for ShowsNext weekend (Nov. 5), we’ll be at the Winter Arts and Crafts Show at Hershey High School. We’ve talked about preparing for book festivals, art shows, conventions, and other special ...
  • Book Festivals, Art Shows, and Specialty ShowsAnother way of promoting your book locally is by buying table space at shows and festivals and selling your book directly to the public. Many authors have a natural resistance ...
  • Revising Your Novel (I swear this is not going to turn into another how-to book on writing. But I do have a couple technical points about revision that I want to say.) Writers have ...
  • Writing ToolsBack before computers appeared on every desktop, I wrote a fantasy story. I tapped it out on a manual typewriter during a Carolina summer. I was renting a room in ...
  • Book PromotionsAs regular readers know, “The Career Indie Author” is being written in parts. The section below on book promotions belongs in Section V, “The Life Cycle of a Story.” This ...
  • Anatomy of a Kickstarter Campaign Even though this post is part of Career Indie Author, it’s not an excerpt from the book. Instead, it a link to an article by Comic Curmudgeon Josh Fruhlinger about ...
  • Life Insurance and Literary ArchivesThis week’s episode is short but important, particularly the section on literary archives. I have many sections of it written, but here and there you’ll find small sections that needed ...
  • Technology and Computers for WritersF. Technology 1. The Lure of the New I’m not a Luddite.* Really. I love technology … when it works and makes my life easier. Computers that hold millions of words, ebook ...
  • Do You Have a Writing Hobby or a Writing Business?I. Taxes I’m not versed in tax law. I only pay them. This section will focus only on how best to handle your dealings with the government. Specific tax strategies should ...
  • Open Your Own Harlequin Mine For Fun and ProfitAt the Career Indie Author, our goal is to give you the tools to launch yourself on a successful career as a writer. Our job is not to teach you ...
  • Guidelines for Indie Book CoversIndie publishing means everything is on you to get the job done. You either do the work yourself or hire someone to do it for you. On this issue, I’m ...
  • How to Battle ProcrastinationProcrastination is something almost every writer deals with. We make ourselves feel worse when we compare ourselves to hard-working writers who publish four books a year or more. When you ...
  • Choices and Consequences in Your Author BusinessOne of the most valuable skills you’ll exercise in running your author business is making decisions. It’s also one of the most frightening. If you’re in charge, you have to ...
  • Writers, marriage and workLove and marriage, as Sinatra sang, may go together like a horse and carriage, but love and writing can get along like a house on fire, if you like yelling ...
  • Should You Offer A Trade Paperback Through CreateSpace? As I write this, there are 13 books on the shelf behind me. All of them have my name on them. One of them is “Writers Gone Wild,” published by ...
  • Case Study: Patricia Cornwell and Neal Gabler Today, we’ll be looking at two authors who found themselves in money trouble: Patricia Cornwell and Neal Gabler. It is a truism to remember that persons who do one thing very ...
  • Choosing a Filing SystemAt first, the idea of having a file system seems ludicrous, maybe even pretentious. You’re writing short stories, maybe sketches. A couple of printed pages. Maybe keeping a notebook. Not ...
  • Defining Your Indie Publishing CompanyAs you may have guessed, I’m writing “The Career Indie Author” in chunks. I already have a tentative table of contents written, and every time I have a spare moment, ...
  • Tracking Your Work: Calendars, Notebooks and Lists Tracking your work with the help of calendars, notebooks and lists is probably one of the most neglected aspects of being an author, and yet I don’t think we can ...
  • The Types of Career Indie Authors Late at night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking about the Career Indie Author and wondering ‘Who the hell is going to buy this book? Why ...
  • Case Study: The Complete Tightwad GazetteBack in 1980s, Amy Dacyczyn began fulfilling her dream of having a large family and living in a pre-1900 New England farmhouse with an attached barn. She married a man ...
  • Keeping Track of Your ProductionRecently, Sarah Dimento lamented that she found herself stuck writing the first draft of her novel. Worse, she was stuck on the first chapter. For a month. She’s stuck in ...
  • Simple Book Cover Designs Being an indie author does not demand that you know everything about your profession before you publish your first book. Pastry chefs know how to make the desserts. The counter ...
  • Story Ideas (part 2) Last week, we looked at how mundane events and encounters can spark story ideas. This week, we’ll look at other sources for stories. I like to read and I like to ...
  • Where Do Story Ideas Come From?Everywhere! The difficulty has never been to have an idea. Ideas are all over the place, so many of them that I have to kick them out of the way ...
  • Negotiating the Writing SieveThis may or may not be the introduction to the “Career Indie Author.” My wife, who has accompanied me on my authorial journey these two decades, wanted to write something ...
  • Indie Book Design Checklist As a follow-up to our Book Production Checklist post, I wanted to share with you a set of guidelines we’re developing that will guide the design of our books for ...
  • Book Production Checklist Now that I’m running Peschel Press, I’ve discovered a need to automate as many of my processes as possible. There are tasks that have to be done on a regular ...
  • Setting Up Your Indie CompanyWhen setting up your indie company, some questions will probably be easy to answer, such as how should you set it up? Probably the best rule of thumb is: a simplest ...
  • Book Marketing as Watering HolesWords are important. Finding the right words to express your thoughts clearly is vital. But finding the right words that your audience gets is paramount. Here’s what I mean as ...
  • Why I’ll Learn To Love Gmail (First, if y’all have been following Suburban Stockade, my apologies. I put up an old post before my morning coffee, and I didn’t check my work. The correct post is ...
  • How to Make A PDF CreateSpace Will Adore (2015 edition using Word 2007) If you are impatient with carefully written explanations and confident in your ability to navigate Windows 7 and Word 2007, jump to the end for the ...
  • The Power of Tribes in Marketing One way to approach marketing your book is to think of the tribes out there that not only would be interested in it, but want to know more about it! ...
  • Indie Writing as Vaudeville How is indie writing like vaudeville? Let me start with a history lesson. It’s been said by people cleverer than myself that history doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes. I rather ...
  • Distraction-Free WritingA writer these days needs more than Virginia Woolf’s “money and a room of one’s own.” She would probably add “and tools for distraction-free writing so I can stop spending ...
  • Last Words: Protecting the Author’s Estate The most important story that you can write is the one that’s read after you die: your will. An author’s estate leaves behind something potentially more valuable than money, insurance ...
  • Your Online PersonaHave you seen what the politician leading Australia just said? What a load of rubbish! How can any right-thinking Aussie support such a menace is beyond ...
  • How to Save Like A WriterIn his novel David Copperfield, Charles Dickens defined happiness as having an annual income of twenty pounds and annual expenses of nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings, and six pence. While it’s debatable ...
  • The Healthy WriterTo make a career out of writing, it’s important to be a healthy writer. But why is it more important than you think? Chapter II. Taking Care of Yourself There is a ...
  • How to Record Author Expenses and Income Keeping records is an important part of your business. There are two reasons why: one that’s important for the business and another that’s important for you. It’s important for you to ...
  • Public Appearances: Speeches, Interviews, and Cons(This is a continuation of a post about author appearances. Read Part One covering book-signings.) 2. Speeches and Presentations The one disadvantage of doing a book-signing is that it relies on people ...
  • Reflections from the York Book Expo Sometimes, I really am slow on the uptake. That’s part of the reason why I’m writing The Career Indie Author. Sure, I’d like to help you learn how to become ...
  • A Day in the Life of the Indie Author When my newspaper career left me back in 2012, I thought I would become a full-time writer. For the previous 22 years, I would write in the morning, go to ...
  • Personal Appearances: Author Booksignings As you keep on publishing books, the inevitable will happen: You’ll be asked to make a public appearance. It could be to hold a signing at your local bookstore, to ...
  • Case Study: Boss Life The owner of a small business that makes high-end furniture, particularly conference tables, describes a year of his life. He tries to open markets in Germany and the Middle East, ...
  • To Blog or Not to Blog The question is not why you should blog. As I’ve said before, there are very few things you must do. You must write books, produce them, and make them available ...
  • Keeping Score by Tracking Book Sales When it comes to winning and losing in business, money is the way to keep score. If you have a lot, you’re winning; if not, you’re losing. Now, there is a ...
  • The Career Indie Author: Introduction When it was introduced in 2007, the Amazon Kindle didn’t look like a revolutionary device. It was a white rectangle with a blank cover, and when you turned it on, ...

(c) 1995-2016 by Bill Peschel