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10 self publishing terms indie authors should know

Are you an author planning to self publish? Does some self publishing jargon confuse you? Does it feel like other indie authors know things you don’t? If so, this blog outlining 10 self publishing terms indie authors should know will help!

For example:

  • What is an ARC?
  • What does going wide mean?
  • How is a hybrid author different from an indie author?

10 self publishing terms indie authors should know

1. ARC

The acronym ‘ARC’ stands for advanced reader copy – a copy of a book sent out to selected readers before publication. Often ARCs are sent as part of a blog tour (see below) in anticipation of early publicity and/or reviews. Some authors also have, or intentionally form, an ARC team. An ARC team is a group of dedicated readers (often from an author’s email list) who act as regular beta readers (see below) to catch any glaring issues within the book before it is published.

2. Beta readers

Beta readers are usually unbiased readers who read books before they are published. Betas feedback any problems they may encounter, such as typos or glaring plot holes etc., in much the same way as an ARC team. However, betas may read much earlier/rougher drafts than ARC readers, or read books as part of a one-off, informal arrangement. As betas aren’t usually as invested in the author, their feedback can be brutally honest, which some authors may prefer. Impartial beta readers can be found using Facebook groups or the hashtag #betareaderswanted on Twitter. Some beta readers read books for free, or in exchange for their own books being read. Other beta readers may charge a fee for their time and feedback. This blog covers the pros and cons of beta readers for indie authors.

3. Blog tour

A blog tour is when an author arranges a collection of book bloggers to read their books and then feature them in their blogs. It is important to ensure a good match between the book bloggers and the book’s particular genre, to minimise any potential problems. There are also blog tour organisers, already connected to a network of book bloggers, who act as middlemen (or women) to arrange blog tours for authors. This can take a lot of the stress out of the whole process. Sarah Hardy at Book on the Bright Side is a blog tour organiser, as is Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and Emma at Damp Pebbles Blog Tours.

4. Blurb

The blurb is the sales copy on the back of a book. This works in conjunction with the book cover to entice the reader to buy (or borrow) the book, so it is important to get it right! Bryan Cohen is a blurb magician and his webinar ‘How to Write Better Book Descriptions to Sell More Books‘, in conjunction with Reedsy, is a really helpful resource for perfecting blurbs.

5. Hybrid

A hybrid author is an author who chooses to self publish their books as well as sign a traditional publishing deal. Some authors have been traditionally published then decide to cross over to self publishing (often to retain full rights to their books, as well as enjoy a much higher percentage of the profits!). Other indie authors become so successful in their own right they are approached by publishers directly. Examples of hybrid authors include Sarah Painter (The Worried Writer), Libby Hawker, Mark Edwards and Chris Simms.

6. KDP

Next in 10 self publishing terms indie authors should know is another acronym: KDP. This stands for Kindle Direct Publishing, which is Amazon’s book publishing platform. Authors can choose to publish exclusively through Amazon or go wide (see below).

7. KU

KU stands for Kindle Unlimited, which is Amazon’s book and audiobook subscription service. Indie authors choosing to make their book available exclusively through KDP Select, allows readers to borrow the book within their monthly subscription fee. Indie authors then earn money through how many total pages their readers read (minus Amazon’s royalty fee).

8. POD

This acronym means print on demand. Once an indie author has uploaded their formatted print book file onto KDP, or any POD service, however many books are ordered is exactly how many will be printed. The benefit of this is that stocks of printed books don’t need to be stored anywhere. Even if you are exclusive to KDP Select for your eBooks, you can still sell your print books wide (see below).

9. Synopsis

Not to be confused with a blurb, a synopsis is an outline of everything that happens in a book. Traditional publishers will often require a synopsis, along with the first three chapter of a novel, when an author submits their book to be considered for a traditional publishing deal. However, indie authors may find writing a synopsis really helps clarify their storyline either before or during penning their book. Another of Reedsy’s recent webinars ‘How to Structure a Novel Before You Write it‘ advocates this.

10. Wide

Going wide means making your digital and/or print book available to buy from a range of online stores, not just Amazon. Some authors prefer going wide as it means they are not reliant on Amazon for all their book sales. Again, it is the indie author’s choice. Indie author Joanna Penn outlines the pros and cons of this choice on her Exclusivity vs Publishing Wide podcast episode.

If 10 self publishing terms indie authors should know has been useful, follow me on Instagram for more self publishing content and/or check out these other author related blogs:

5 editing terms indie authors should know

5 Tips That Will Make You Better at Creative Writing

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