What, more commentary about writing? Isn't there enough of that?
I've been an "indie author" for over ten years. In 2006, I set up my own publishing label, figured out how to format / prep my WWI naval history book, got it printed ... the whole deal. (You can see it here.)
Of course I would have loved to have a publisher do all this for me. I really like to write. But the traditional publishing world is nearly impossible to break into. They have endless piles of manuscripts and plenty of authors. It doesn't matter if your book is fantastic. Just to get someone to look at it is an amazing accomplishment. Good luck with that.
In my case, the book was also an account of a tiny little corner of U.S. naval history: of very high interest to a very small audience. Traditional publishing wasn't going to fly. I tried it. After spending lots of time, I realized that the best-case scenario would be that in, say, two or three years, I might get some small niche-market press to take it on.
But I'm also a techie-geek. When wearing my Drupal Developer hat, I plan data structures and complex queries, build workflows – that kind of thing. And I'm remarkably stubborn. Sometimes it takes hours to fix a bug, or figure out the right query logic to solve a problem. I am like a pit bull when faced with one of these challenges. So I figured, fine. What is a small publishing house really going to do for me, anyway? I'll do it myself. How hard can it be?
And it worked. I got the book published, it came out nicely, and I made money on it.
When it came time to start releasing my works of fiction, I faced the same problem: I made an effort to land an agent/publisher, didn't get anywhere with it, got tired of that particular fight, and resorted to reading lots of posts about indie publishing.
I found that in the ten-plus years, some things had changed a lot, and others hadn't. It's still a gigantic problem to be noticed by a publisher, and in many cases it's not clear exactly what they bring to the table, aside from understanding the mechanics / technical parts. But on the positive side, there are much better tools available for authors in the indie space.
So: That's what I'm going to write about, on this site: getting ready to be published, and actually getting published, for indie authors like myself. I'll tell you what I did, and you can tell me if you know a better way.
So, here goes.