Review: Becoming an Indie Author

Becoming an Indie Author (Smart Self-Publishing)Becoming an Indie Author
by Zoe Winters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Smart Self-Publishing / B004AYD90U

I want to be clear that I'm glad I bought this book. It was a good read, very entertaining, and had a lot of valuable information in it. I was jotting notes as I went and I feel like I've learned a lot.

However, this book could be a lot better. I would really like to see a few more end-of-chapter and topical checklists so that you don't have to dig back through prose each time you want to look something up. And while for the most part I enjoyed the author's conversational style, there's a *lot* of places where she goes off on tangents or repeats herself.

For instance, there are at least 3 or 4 tangents in here about piracy and how awful the author thinks it is, and while I appreciate both her opinion and her right to express it, after the second or third largely irrelevant tangent, I couldn't help but reflect on the irony of an author taking my money to teach me about self-publishing, only to instead... complain about thievery. Piracy, whatever one's opinions about it, is a fact of ANY kind of publishing, so I would prefer that more time be spent on the nuts and bolts of publishing and not on grinding axes.

Another thing that disappointed me about this book was the author's unwillingness to really think outside the publishing box. For example, several times she talks about her strong opposition to giving away books for free and how it "devalues" art. Again, she's entitled to her opinion, but I think this advice greatly limits the earning potential of the indie author. Let me give a few examples, just off the top of my head as a blogger:

1. Author posts a blog post with a free coupon/deal for their book. The description of the book is "It's like [AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKED BOOK] mixed with [AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKED BOOK] with a sprinkle of [AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKED BOOK]." Every person who clicked over to Amazon to figure out what your book is like just enabled a cookie in their browser that gives YOU a percentage of everything they buy in the next 24 hours.

2. Author sets up a blog site with their entire book "free for online reading", carefully sprinkled with Google Adsense ads.

3. Author sets up audiobook recordings or podcasts of their book on YouTube with Google Ad Revenue Sharing enabled.

In each case, the "free readers" (who might not otherwise have bought the book of an unheard-of author for $2.99) are now earning the author ad revenue. Silver bullet guaranteed to work every time? Of course not! Worth thinking about and advising new authors of the possibilities? Absolutely! I just wish this book could have stepped outside the "traditional publishing" box a little bit and mentioned that there's more ways to monetize your writings than to just sell it as one book, one price per admission.

For all my little complaints, I give this book 4 stars and it's well worth the price of admission. Read it from cover-to-cover and then keep it nearby as a reference tool. There's a lot of valuable information and you'll be glad you bought it -- I am.

~ Ana Mardoll

View all my reviews


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