So, you’ve read the fancy color brochures, you’ve heard the rumors on Facebook and Twitter, maybe you’ve even signed up. But you’re still not entirely certain what it is you’re signing up for.
Well first, I suppose that depends on what you do. It may not be obvious, but Professional Indies aren’t just authors. We are made of authors, bloggers, editors, designers, artists, narrators, producers, web developers, and of course readers, all working in the industry at a professional level.
What Being a Professional Indie Author Means
Having just said we aren’t just authors, it’s authors we primarily support. Other professionals in the industry come onboard, really, to help us support the authors. For more information, see The Pumpkin Patch if you’re a reader, Blogger Bites if you’re a blogger, and The Marketplace if you are anything else. And of course, you quite likely may be (in fact probably you will be) someone who wears many different hats, because that’s the way we’ve learned to survive in the indie world.
As an author, by declaring yourself Professional Indie, you are making a sort of “pledge” that your published product is as good as and, hopefully, indistinguishable, from a book published from a traditional NY publishing house. In doing this, we, as a group will be able to command more respect to everyone, but really the people we want to notice us are on the inside of the industry. Booksellers, distributors, etc. etc. Now, nobody here is ever going to tell you your writing is not good enough to be published. Well, they might if you pay them to a developmental edit for them, but we’re not here to judge your prose. If you think your writing rivals that of other professional authors, and you’re willing to put the resources behind it to present it that way, welcome to the team. As long as you continue to publish quality products that uphold our standards, you’re welcome to stay. To find out what that means and how that works, see The Professional Indie Standards Definition.
That definition is not yet final, and may be subject to change, and, even after we launch, it may from time to time be tweaked. Notice that nowhere does it mention anything at all to do with the “quality of prose.” Who the heck are we to tell you whether you’re good enough to be published? Only you really know for sure. We just want to make sure you do it without continuity problems or spelling errors or terrible design and colors painted by your six-year-old who I am absolutely certain makes fantastic macaroni art for your fridge.
Where might these standards change? I can’t really answer that right now, but one place completely ignored right now is marketing and promotion and it’s something we need to completely address as one group once more of us have come together. There are so many aspects to it and so many variables, many of which are unavailable to the “self-publishing” world that this is where the huge changes will happen. If our books are as good as those midlist books coming out of the Big Five, why aren’t we making tens of thousands of dollars a year per title? The bigger question is: Why do none of seem to care that we don’t? Being a bestselling traditional published author as well as an indie author, my experience is that, barring some weird act of God, I can anticipate literally thirty times more money to come in from my traditionally published books. And I even have a fan base looking for new work from me. This is crazy and a completely unacceptable state of affairs.
It’s time to fix all that. Now.
Think about this. We’re great writers. We know we’re as good as many traditionally published writers, so why it the thought of being paid money for this such a ridiculously absurd dream to everyone? If we’re honestly great writers—and if you’re here, I must assume that, like me, despite the humble, mumbly facade you put on at your writing group and when you appear at cons, you know you kick ass and take names all over the place. It’s really time we quit thinking that being successful at something you are fantastic at is some sort of immature daydream that your brother-in-law finds acceptable to respond to at Christmas dinner with, “Wow, still doing that? I figured you’d grow out of this phase.” It’s counterproductive and, worse, could potentially become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a New York editor once told me (and I realized at the time he was paraphrasing and modifying something Joseph Campbell had said): “Follow your bliss. Eventually, the money will come after you.” It’s good advice. Don’t plan to be poor. Plan to be rich. Of course, don’t go running through the midnight Halloween highways dressed all in black or anything crazy like that. Be prudent. But you don’t have to treat your career like you just sold the cow for four magic beans. Or, maybe you have, but there’s a good chance that those beans might really be magical.
There’s a lot more benefits from being Professional Indie than I’ve described so far. Here are a few of the major ones that will be available when we go live.
Although this site isn’t finished, you are welcome to check them out, but until you sign up and create an account, access to these area is blocked. Making an account, like everything else we offer, costs you nothing. Being Professional Indie comes with a certain level of expectation not only from you, but from us, and from your fan base. Tell them you’re Professional Indie by using our badges and banners wherever you want to build a level of trust with your readers. For more information, see, Leveraging Your Career as Professional Indie.
Want to Do More?
Your only requirement for being a Professional Indie is to keep publishing great books, but maybe you like what you see so much, you’re interested in helping us right now. If so, that’s fantastic to hear. We’ve already had many great people write us asking if they can and our answer is always the same: Of course! If you are like them, see How Can I Help?
Also, if there’s things we’re doing you believe could be done better, or if you just want to tell us you like what you see, please do so. Let us know all your thoughts good and bad. And hopefully, we can come together and unite for a common goal: change. But, we don’t want to change the world, we just want to change some of it.
Welcome to Professional Indie.
Professional Indie Benefit Details
Many Professional Indie members offer professional services that are valuable to Professional Indie authors. And the great part is, because the service provider is Professional Indie, anyone who has previously worked with them will have left testimonials describing the experience, so you can be pretty confident when contracting with someone that you know you’ll get a professional-level job done. If your experience happens to be a bad one, you can submit the service provider for review and your complaint will be considered and, if found valid, depending on the severity of the problem, that service provider will either be given a warning and put on a watch list, or be suspended membership. The details of service provider rules and policies are not yet available, but if anyone wishes to discuss it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By being a service provider, you agree to do work for standard rates that are posted in the members’ area. These rates are by far not the lowest in the industry, but they aren’t insane, either. But by setting the numbers right across the board, everyone knows there are no surprises.
What sort of services are available? Everything you may need. And if there’s something you provide that we seemed to have overlooked or something you, as an author, need that we somehow missed, please let us know. We want to give you access to all the resources you’ll ever need, everything from developmental editing, to proofreading, to copy editing, to cover art, to interior design, to eBook formatting, to video trailer productions, to copy writing. You name it, you’ll be able to connect with quality people at an already established price.
Of course, you’re under no obligation to use any of the service providers from our Marketplace. And if you’re a service provider, you certainly don’t have to only be providing services to Professional Indie authors. It’s just a nice convenient way for each of us to work together.
For more information, Marketplace Terms and Conditions.
Although still very early in development, the Freedom Library will be the nexus of knowledge all Professional Indies will heavily draw upon. Books written by professionals working in the trenches in the industry today. Written specifically for indie publishers, targeting specific and precise topics with none of the mumbo jumbo you see in a lot of writing and publishing books currently on the shelves. And the best part? All the books are free if you’re Professional Indie. These same books will be available in assorted mediums (eBook, audiobook, trade compilations, etc.) for purchase on places like Amazon and Audible. But they cost you absolutely nothing.
This may bring a couple of questions to mind:
Why are you just giving these to me?
Good question. If you haven’t noticed yet, we put a lot of importance in making sure everything our members publish (and indeed, their process in doing so) is at a professional level. We are building a reputation for ourselves—and that means you, if you’re one of us. And we strive for this professionalism because it’s so important. Far, far more important than it even is to traditional publishing houses. How can that be? Easy. They can afford to occasionally look bad. They can even afford to have one of their books occasionally be a complete flop. They’ll still be publishing the next day.
It is unlikely that you have these luxuries. Yet, anyway. So yes, for us, every single detail must be analyzed and done in as professional and high-quality and commercially beautiful way possible. So we’re telling you how to do it. And we’re giving the information to you. For nothing. Well, actually, your job is to use the information and be fantastic.
Or maybe you’re wondering: Aren’t you shooting your service providers in the foot by telling me how to do all this myself?
No. In fact, quite the opposite. You see, a lot of the reasons “self-published” books are so obviously self-published is because the author doesn’t understand the value of paying for professional work and does it themselves without really understand what they’re doing. These books will tell you how to do it yourself. However, a lot of these things aren’t easy. They are quite hard, and some require practice and time before you become good enough to do them at a professional level. By showing them this, there’s a good chance they will finally recognize the value in hiring a professional copy editor brings far great advantages to their book than the eight hundred dollars (don’t read anything into this price, it completely depends on word count and genre) they would save if they had their nephew who is a first-year English student do it for free.
Or maybe that doesn’t happen and our books allow authors to step up and learn new skills they can hone and perfect and increase their value in the marketplace. Either way, for all of us, it’s a win-win for all of us, because it results in boosting the quality of indecently published fiction across the industry and that’s what we’re all about. As we’ve been starting to say, Welcome to the Revolution.
If you would like some free promotion, consider allowing us to pull examples from your work in our books. See Promote Your Work in Our Books.
If you would like to promote yourself and make money, consider writing one of our books. See, Write Our Next Craft Book.
The Pumpkin Patch is our beta reader program. It’s where authors wanting some fresh eyes to go through their work before it is completely finalized come to connect with readers wanting to read specific genres and story types. Authors can post calls for reads, or they can look through available beta readers to find a match. Likewise, readers wanting to beta read can peruse available books. The author always gets final say whether a reader’s request to read a book is approved or denied. Please note, that the beta reading program is for books ready for publication. The actual release date may be months or even a year away due to marketing plans and pre-launch promotional strategies being put in place, but the actual work should already be copy edited and considered “clean.” Beta readers will expect to receive galleys in the form of eBooks.
Readers are encouraged to write reviews for books they beta read and these reviews can be posted in places like Goodreads before the book is even published and provide feedback to potential customers right away on places like Amazon if the reviewer posts them the day of publication. Please note, beta readers are in no way required to give feedback or reviews or post anything and please understand that all reviews must be honest reviews. Any reader reported as being biased and found to be in breach will lose their Professional Indie membership eligibility and cannot ever return.
Like service providers, writers will have the ability to post endorsements about their experience with beta readers for other authors.
For more information, see Beta Reader Terms and Conditions
Our Blogger Bites provide ready-made, useful content that bloggers, or anyone for that matter, can feely use for their website, blog, or any media venue. It’s a great way to add very useable content quickly. All of the information is given in an intentionally sparse form allowing you to modify and personalize it for your own needs. All the copy and high resolution images may be freely modified (with some restrictions, see the link below) and posted or used however you wish. This is a great resource for information providers and an even greater resource for Professional Indies with news they want to break to the public. It’s sort of like having a press agent working for you around the clock and charging you absolutely nothing. All of the information is cross-linked with similar information, allowing anyone to build “spotlight” articles about your newest release, including biographical information and more. We also feature Blogger Bite interviews, again left intentionally Spartan. These can be modified so that a blogger or a magazine may “reimagine” the piece is a way that it looks as though they are performing the interview.
For more information, see Blogger Bites Content License.
Our Kindle-All Star program is still coming together, but it will be a way for the elite of us to really spotlight themselves and promote their work. Through short author interview clips shot on green screen and tightly edited, authors will be discuss their process, their new books, their opinions, and anything else their fans are interested in with our AuthorShots. As well, many of our other promotional programs will dovetail into KAS. We own the URL www.kindleallstars.com—a pretty cool web address—but don’t bother looking yet. We’re still a long way from release. But once we’re done, it will be just another tool in your toolbox to build you a successful career as a professional writer.