Evolution of an Indie: Stick Together

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #6 for 2012:

Seek lasting partnerships whenever possible.

Independent is a misnomer. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Indies are the the most codependent, sniveling lot. We’re worse than realtors (ouch! I didn’t!) The vastness of the Indie profession (from creation to publication to sales) ensures the need of complimentary individuals.

On top of the complexity of placing an final product (novel or illustrated ebook of boils or what have you) in the hands of readers, indies must be salespeople. In today’s digital world that means an electronic networker. (One of the reasons so many of us start pathetic blogs…)

Indie authors and publishers are indeed independent from the traditional institutions that have dominated publishing for decades. All that means is that we have to build our own networks to fulfill the evolving demands of the market.

(*Read standard disclaimer at the bottom of this post.) Captain obvious requires I go on record stating series writing to increase efficiency. Writing series means more product in less time. But, much of these potential gains in the time it takes to get a product (novel or illustrated ebook of boils) from formation to consumer can be eroded without consistent partners.

Although freelancers typically work on set fee rather than commission or royalty, this arrangement could be shifting. I’ve investigated sites like Libboo.com that allow writers, editors, artists, contributors, advisors, etc. to contractually share royalties in a product pushed to market. But these sites are in the early phases, and don’t appear to have what it takes for widespread adoption yet.

Let us not forget the tried and true barter or swap of services. This is proving to be most indies bread and butter.While virtually no indie has every skill it takes to publish successfully (ie. make a living), most indies have multiple skills (other than naval gazing and summoning fart gas at will). Thus developing a network of indies ready to swap services appears critical.

The trick in the service swap is to endeavor to give more than you get in order to keep folk happy to swap again. This might fly in the face of efficiency, but those who can’t pay have to play. And besides what better way to break down the system than the old barter/swap?

However these folk are payed, I’ve made it my goal to find trustworthy people I can keep coming back to. People who like what I’m doing and want to see me succeed. At the same time, I’m also trying to be a trustworthy person that others can come back to as well.

***Standard Disclaimer: There are 3 brands of Indie:

  1. an artist expressing him/herself for the pure joy of it
  2. an artist or idealist who wishes to express an emotion or idea to the world
  3. an artist/entrepreneur who wishes to make a living as a writer

An indie can be one, two or all three of these. But knowing the composition is critical. I am all three of the above, but first and foremost I have to be #3, or I won’t be able to continue doing #2 and #1 full-time. Not all of the above applies to someone seeking #1 or #2. Man, this is sounding scatological, isn’t it?

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