What's next for indie authors?

Last month's London Book Fair had its usual abundance of business wheeling and dealing under the bright lights of Earls Court, but over at the Author HQ, possibly unnoticed by the majority of attendees, self-publishing showed that it is stronger than ever.

I popped in to listen to self-published authors Polly Courtney, Rachel Abbott and Orna Ross give an admirable display in front of a bustling crowd. In fact, the enclosure was so full that I was told I couldn’t come in, but in the style of many self-published writers, I managed to find a way through.
A lot of ground was covered and while the authors spoke, those in attendance were captivated by the moment - some taking copious notes, others recording on their digital devices. For those serious about making big leap into self publishing, there was much to ponder.

When the issue of ‘first failures’ was raised, Polly Courtney mentioned the problems she had with the first edition of her first book. She felt strongly that the book had a “terrible cover,” and she said: “That was the biggest mistake. It sold really well, and I always think what would it have sold if it had actually got a good cover?” She then gave pointers on how best to get a good cover designer.

Rachel Abbott was next, and she absolutely agreed with the importance of a book’s cover and admitted that she was lucky with hers. But with regards to her book Only the Innocent, she felt that her biggest mistake was that the first version wasn’t properly edited. She said that she would: “Never, ever, ever launch a book now without having a proper editing process to go through.”

Alliance of Independent Authors founder Orna Ross summed it up by letting the audience know that "It’s okay to make mistakes," and that: "Most of us, I would say, especially when we’re starting out, publish too soon.”

The eager crowd wanted those sort of tips, and to hear them from dedicated authors that had been through their own harsh learning curves made them even more valuable.

In music, it is widely accepted that if an artist has the right equipment and applies the creative process in a professional way – with talent of course - then the music will be accepted if it is of a certain quality.

Publishing has been a bit slower to catch up, but now there’s a real sense that the barriers are being broken down. Events like the Author HQ are a sign that, for those that are able to hit the right notes in self-publishing, the possibilities are endless.

Lloyd Paige is a freelance writer, reviewer and online consultant.