The Toronto Indie Publishing Meetup Group had it’s first gathering last week, and wow, what a great turn out. The bartender at Paupers Pub counted 29 of us, which amazed me since I was warned to expect only a 70% turnout rate, not 90%.
Some members of the group had already indie-published their books and simply wanted to find better ways to promote their work. Many authors and editors sought to network with people who share their passion. What surprised me was the number of traditionally published authors who wanted to explore the possibility of going it alone and indie publishing their new work.
The latter group are clearly fed up with paltry advances, confusing royalty statements, and general lack of support from traditional publishers. If an author has to do all promotion, what does the publishing house provide in return for the contract? Certainly not distribution, because that is easily achieved through Amazon, Smashwords, and Kobo Writing Life, etc.
How about editing? There are many good editors out there an author can hire who will work for a reasonable fixed fee, not a major cut of all sales of the book, and sadly, some of these editors used to work for traditional publishers but got down-sized in favour of lower-paid editors fresh out of college. Apparently editing is fast becoming an entry level job, and years of experience and skill development are no longer valued.
What about cover art? Everyday more freelance graphic designers join the industry, producing great covers for indie published novels. At first I found designers knowledgable about publishing difficult to find, but services like 99 designs began to fill the need for top quality cover art, while giving many freelancers an income and an opportunity to perfect their art. Again they work for a fixed fee, not an eternal cut of the book’s sales.
The best part of the Meetup was getting to know people who share my dream to present their art, whether writing, editing, or graphic design, to the world, and hopefully make a few bucks doing it so that we can continue to develop our respective crafts. Several have already provided me with useful connections and links, like one for royalty-free music that can be used for book trailers.
We’re keeping the ball rolling in September, when Mark Lefebvre of Kobo will join us to speak about Kobo’s Writing Life. If you’re in T.O. and you’re curious, feel free to join us. You can get all the details at: Toronto Indie Publishing Meetup. We’re all about the future of publishing.