Author Dara M. Beevas draws on her years of experience as an editor, mentoring indie authors to explore the ins and outs of self-publishing. She starts with vetting your book idea and getting it written, then discusses each step of the process in publishing your book and getting it to market, including design, production, printing and distribution. Finally, she wraps up with helpful tips on marketing and publicity to get your book noticed. In the back, there is also a complete glossary of publishing terms and several resources to help the indie author on their journey to self-publishing success.
When I saw The Indie Author Revolution available for review, I eagerly requested a copy, thinking it might be helpful to me in my journey toward indie publishing my first book. Unfortunately, after reading it, I find myself rather disappointed by it. For starters, the author seems to focus more on non-fiction books rather than fiction, which is what I write. Granted, a fair bit of the general information would apply to both genres, but a lot of the specific tips and advice are geared toward the author who is writing non-fiction. Examples of this would be the author saying things like, you might have a good book idea if "you're a known and respected expert on a particular topic" or "if you have a business and your book would educate and inspire clients." She also asks questions about your book idea such as, "What important problem are you solving?" and "Why do people need your solution?" In the marketing section, she talks about contacting your local news stations with a press release or becoming a speaker through your Chamber of Commerce, local clubs like Rotary, Lions, etc., or volunteer organizations. Comments like these are liberally peppered throughout the book, and were very difficult for a fiction writer like myself to relate to, as well as being mostly unhelpful. Ms. Beevas does discuss fiction writing occasionally, but the sections are usually much shorter than those that seem to be directed more toward non-fiction writing.
The next weakness of the book was that a large part of it seems to be geared toward the writer who is looking to hire an indie publishing company (aka a mentoring press) to do all the work for them. Not only is this essentially the "old-fashioned" way of self-publishing, but it's also exorbitantly expensive and not even an option for someone like me with limited funds. I soon figured out that the probable reason for this focus is that the author herself is the vice president of a mentoring press, but in narrowing her focus like this, I felt she gave short shrift to much easier and cheaper self-publishing platforms, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace, Smashwords, and many other similar companies, which are rapidly becoming the wave of the publishing future. She does mention these, but usually only in passing. The author also largely ignored the digital revolution in publishing. She does have one chapter dedicated to e-books, but it's the second shortest one in the book and falls far short of giving comprehensive coverage to this rapidly expanding aspect of indie publishing.
The last issue I had with the book is that the sheer amount of information and steps the authors takes the reader through are completely overwhelming. She offers the prospective indie author a plethora of checklists and step-by-step guidelines for the publishing process, some of which, to my way of thinking, are simply unnecessary. If I did every single thing on these lists that she told me to do, I'd never have time to write another book, because I'd be too busy worrying about things like goal-setting, researching the competition, and writing publishing plans, marketing plans, and press releases. If you're only planning to write one book (which might be the case for those expert, non-fiction writers that this book seems to be tailor-made for), this might be OK, but for the author who hopes to write lots of books in the years to come, there has to be a balance between the amount of time spent writing and the amount of time spent on the publishing and marketing process.
I don't deny that for what it is The Indie Author Revolution is a well-organized and technically well-written book. When it isn't being unrelatable to a fiction writer like myself, focusing too narrowly on mentoring type presses, or being too overwhelming, it does have some decent information to impart to the indie author who knows little or nothing about the publishing process. Unfortunately, that person is not me. I've done a great deal of research into this on my own, and can't say that this book covered anything particularly new or groundbreaking. I did pick up a few useful tidbits from the marketing section, things I hadn't thought of before, but overall, I've learned far more from attending writer's conferences and from reading the Romance Writer's of America's industry magazine, Romance Writer's Report, as well as online articles.
The bottom line: If you're a non-fiction writer or a fiction writer who doesn't mind sifting through information geared toward the non-fiction writer, if you're an author who is seriously considering hiring a mentoring press, or if you're a writer who knows virtually nothing about the publishing process then you might find this book to be quite helpful. If, like me, you're a fiction writer, you're an indie author who is planning to do it yourself via Amazon or other online publishing platforms, and/or you've already done your homework, then, in my opinion, there are much better resources out there for you.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author via the publicist, Bostick Communications, in exchange for an honest review.
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