How Do You Know You’re Ready To Go Indie?

Do you know the process you use when making decisions?  Are you a list-making fiend?   A feet-first jumper?  Or do you hide at the back of the crowd to watch?  Do you second-guess yourself? Or are you confident once the decision is made?  Do you follow through?

Everyone has a learning style.

Admitting to it, though, is a whole ‘nother kettle of worms.

I prefer to hang back, let others make all the mistakes so my choice can be error-free.

Classic introvert style.

Trouble is, that approach isn’t going to work for me this time. Bold. Out there is where I know I need to be.  A whole lifetime of hanging back and caution is gonna get flushed. This time, I’m taking the lead–at least with myself. And it’s as exhilarating and scary as it sounds.

I don’t expect or wish traditional publishing to disappear, but I don’t want my second chance at a career to fall victim to the paroxysms as traditional publishing moves fully into the digital age, either.  So I have come to the conclusion that my next move will be to self-publish.

Crickets chirp, and one hand claps in a mythic forest for Faith.

(Here is where introversion definitely becomes a plus.)

So. . . how do you know when to jump?

Aggregate the data.  Once the weight of what you have to gain tips the scales against your fears you’ll be ready.

What tipped the scales for me was realizing that I must treat this as a business.

My idea is to develop a team of experts.  This is different from finding an agent or a company to do it all or “take care of me.”  I’m going to be the boss. Responsibility for the final product lies with me. But by developing business relationships with people who are experts, I can speed up the process of getting my books out there and create a superior product at the same time.

For example, I value good editing and I know there’s a limit to self-editing. Therefore, I will budget both time and money for professional editing.  (I was a technical copyeditor for economists, so I probably appreciate what a good copyeditor can do for a piece of writing more than the average writer.)  Good copyeditors are like sculptors, revealing beauty by paring away excesses, pointing out inconsistencies, and asking for clarification. Bad ones, of course, are the stuff of legend among writers.

A good copyedit highlights far more than grammatical or even factual errors. Good copyedits reveal your substantive issues, too–but from the bottom (detail level) up, instead of the top down as a general editor might.  If you find a good editor of either type, treasure her.  She’ll be a integral part of your team and your success as an indie.

So what about you?  Are you ready to jump?”

This is the second in a series of discovery posts on going indie. Others areas I plan to cover are time management, business plans for writing and some analysis of what successful indie authors have done.  Comments and suggestions are, as always, welcomed and encouraged.

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