This weekend I visited a book fair in my neck of the woods, the Jozi Book Fair. It had the usual fare – a few best-selling South African authors, a few publishers, a few writing services and a few indie authors hoping to sell their books.
The indie authors had displays of their beautiful book babies piled high, some with parts of their impressive stories available for a squizz, while some were willing to chat about their babies and their journey to becoming a finished product. I was profoundly struck by the stories of each journey. More than just the steadfast belief these creative directors have in the birth of each book baby, I was also pleasantly surprised at the number of friends that helped along the way as well.
One of the indies I spoke to had engaged the services of an independent publishing company. A self publishing dream, it seemed. A reasonable fee was exchanged for layout, cover design, editing, printed copies and publishing on the various digital platforms without him having to relinquish control and final decisions. Marketing, and promotions were left wholly up to him though, hence him paying for a stand at the book fair and devotedly marketing his baby, National Park. Loved the quality of the book, Hinesh Vithal!
Another indie author had engaged the services of a marketing company. Well, I suppose if you have the money to get someone do the work for you, why not? Just to know that such services exist, well, it’s interesting to know.
Among other services I found useful, were the editing services offered by professional editors of the PEG (Professional Editor’s Guild).
Editing, I have been told by many of my indie author friends, is crucial. And it was good to know that there are a band of editors, who for a fee (you can compare rates and deals can be struck) will provide that extra TLC to turn your book baby into a worthy contender on the book shelves of the best book stores.
While I didn’t get to see a cover designer at this fair, I was told by an indie author that these friends are available. Artists, graphic designers and illustrators can be sought out to create the ideal version of what was envisioned for your book baby.
I stumbled upon another friend of an indie author, only a few weeks ago (and boy was I impressed by this friend)which is why I left this one for last. There are, believe it or not, bookstores out there who love the indie author. Yes, not only are they willing to embrace your book babies, they’re willing to help launch them into the world. One such bookstore, is the beaut of all bookstores in Johannesburg (my neck of the woods) Skoobs Theatre of Books. This gem of a place, in the heart of our entertainment hub, has been helping launch indie books and it is done with such class and a little bit of pomp. I had the privilege of attending one and was so blown away by the personal touch the store’s events manager, Deborah Du Plooy, afforded to the debut launch of a dear friend’s book baby. And what’s more amazing, is these launches are a regular feature, with almost 70 indie books launched this year alone.
To see your book baby sharing shelf space with the likes of JK Rowling, Paula Hawkins and James Patterson, well that is the dream.
Dear heart there is hope! To know that your dream is well within your reach, with a little help from your friends…
And here’s an excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book (finger’s crossed): We all Fall Down.