Because of authors like J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, James Patterson, etc., there tends to be a misconception in this industry, especially the Indie industry, that making money is easy. But it’s best to think of these authors as lottery winners who hit the jackpot while the rest of us have to work our butts off to make a living.
I’ve spoken to many aspiring writers who think being an author is like an assembly line, whereas they’ve done their part by writing the book, now to shove it on down the line to let everyone else do their part. Unfortunately, as an Indie author, you’re an assembly line of one, and the job doesn’t end at writing.
I’m going to list three questions you should never ask an Indie publisher, or perhaps any publisher.
1. How good is my book?
This is very subjective. Look at the reviews for top-selling books and you will understand. Fifty Shades of Gray, for example, has almost as many one-star reviews and they do 5-star reviews. The question is: How good do you believe your book is? As the author, you better believe it’s the best book ever written and be able to convey that to a publisher and to readers.
2. What will you do to promote my book?
Never ask this question of a publisher or agent. It has become as important to have a platform as it used to be to produce great manuscripts. In other words, this is something the publishers will want to ask you, not vice versa, and you better have an answer. With all the free networking sites on the web like FaceBook, Linkedin, Tumblr, Twitter, and others, you should have 100,000 connections before you even write a book.
This brings me to the one that always makes me cringe. After a title has been released for about a month, I sometimes get this dreaded question.
3. How is my book selling?
First of all, “selling” is a verb and a book is an inanimate object, so it cannot sell. Never will you see a book working a cash register or standing on a street corner wearing a huge trench coat whispering, “Hey, buddy.”
And I’m not simply saying that to rephrase the question. As the author, you have the most insight to know how many copies of your book are being sold. You are the one promoting, doing book signings, networking, and getting feedback. If you are not doing the things required to get this feedback, then I can tell you how your book is selling—it ain’t.
You want the world to see your book and think “Wow” and find you in the process. But you have to make the world see you and think “Wow” and find your book in the process.