There are so many benefits to going indie but the truth is there’s also a lot of responsibility. To yourself, to readers. We’re not just writers but we’re business owners and as important as it is to put out a well-written book it’s just as important to put out a sophisticated and attractive product. Which is why cover design is such a big source of contention within self-publishing. And despite all we know about reader expectations there are still people out there attempting to make their own with no knowledge of or experience in graphic design. Indie is short for independent but let’s not push it. There are still things we must and should pay for which is why among talent and drive and all of the other requirements for self-publishing there is also money. It’s unfortunate but it’s true. You shouldn’t self-publish unless you can afford it. Which brings me to today’s gripe about being an indie author:the cost. And not in the emotional and intellectual sense but in the literal sense. Self-publishing is expensive.
I haven’t published anything new since September of last year and while I was planning on publishing something in early spring, I’m just not sure if that’s going to be possible. See, I’ve spent the past nine months working on my first series. The first book is pretty much finished, the second is embarking on its third draft, and I’m slowly working my way through the first draft of the third. I had a plan–to finish all three by mid-2014 and then publish them over the spring/summer months in conjunction with my first attempt at a professionally hosted blog tour. Something that would add another $150 to my overall costs. Something I could realistically afford until last week.
But then things changed, I had some unexpected expenses, and now I can barely afford my beloved kettle corn! And I’m angry–at the world for being so unfair and at myself for being in this position–but more than that I’m just really disappointed. Because this is one of those times when I’m not only faced with the reality of my choice to go indie but almost on the verge of kind of, sort of regretting it. Not really though. I don’t regret a thing I’ve done in the past year. But am I upset about potentially having to push back my release dates just because I can’t afford it? Absolutely. But the real reason I can’t afford it right now has more to do with the fact that I’m adamant about doing things the right way rather than the easy way and at least that’s something to be proud of.
And I will do this the right way. Even if that means waiting. Even if that means eating rice cakes for dinner every night for the next month. Even if that means realizing that even though I’m the one in control, that I still can’t control everything.
Fellow Indies, how do you manage costs, especially unexpected ones? And what’s your trick to planning a book tour on a budget?