Friday, February 3, 2017

Author Collectives, Independent Together

A lot of writers want to go indie, but are scared of the whole process.  As a self-published author, you have to hire people (or have extensive knowledge/learn) editing, formatting, cover design, etc.  It's quite daunting.  Marketing is something authors are required to do (mainly) on their own, regardless of what route to publication is taken.

There is a skyscraper of information out there on how to self-publish, and no shortage of companies offering to do all the work of getting your work in print... for a price.  While there are some very reputable freelance editors, cover designers, etc. out there, many more bilk authors out of thousands of dollars.  Publishing services offering all-in-one packages generally aren't reliable and try to upsell authors.

So, more indie authors are starting author collectives (also called author co-ops) to navigate a landscape where traditional houses aren't sheltering them and unscrupulous people wait.  It provides writers with feedback, recommendations for services that are good (or even an exchange:  one writer's editing expertise for another's incredible cover design help), a "company brand" where the publishing house logo would feature, etc.  Most collectives/co-ops don't pool money for anything (other than a joint marketing campaign, maybe) and copyright always remains with the author.  Promoting books in a group has more reach than what most people have on their own.

Some authors, though, haven't had good experiences.  They've tried to partner with people who expect different things or take more than they give.  A co-op can get too large with certain authors being lost in the deluge.

But, if you organize with people you trust and work out everything beforehand, an author collective can make a self-publishing journey more like a road trip with friends.  If traditional publishing takes too many royalties, finds your work too niche, or if you're overwhelmed by self-publishing alone, this might just be your ticket to a greater horizon.

For more information on author collectives, click this.

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