Indie publishing is a pretty complex collaboration between many highly skilled professionals all working together to produce a beautiful, impactful written work. With all the editors, layout designers, cover professionals, marketing and public relations experts, printers and distributors, and legal advisors, publishing is a logistical behemoth. Getting everything just right for release requires budget savvy, time management prowess, and a high level of patience. Maintaining contact with all of the people in charge of these moving parts means that, inevitably, you will nourish a lot of relationships, increase your professional flexibility, and boost your endurance for unexpected delays and mishaps. It’s a tough business, but you’ve built yours by leveraging your publishing partners in a collaborative way to orchestrate your books. But there is a partnership that is just as important that we don’t always think about in the same way. That partner is your reader.
A reader as a partner? Crazier things have been said (and written, and I’m sure you’ve come across it at some point in your publishing cycle). But think about it: Everything you’ve been working on is for their benefit, and their patronage of your business enables you to keep making more books. You’re giving them what you have to offer; in exchange, they are reading your books and, in a perfect world, telling everyone else about them. Just like you know what to hand off to your editor or your printing press, you need to know what your reader needs in order to make the partnership a mutually beneficial transaction. Otherwise, they are just a customer. Customers are good, but you’re not just selling a book; you’re producing information and handing it over carefully so that someone else can benefit from it. It is a relationship that must be nurtured in order for it to be fruitful. How your readers use and pass on your book can directly influence how you proceed in the future.
Read more on IBPA’s website.
Note: This article was originally published in IBPA’s Independent in January 2017.