Is Indie Publishing for You?

Guest Post by Heather B. Moore


Heather B. Moore is the USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than a dozen historical novels which are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She is not old and doesn’t remember the time period, so Google has become a great friend. Although she has spent several years living in the Middle East, she prefers to forget the smells. Heather writes her historicals and thrillers under the pen name H.B. Moore. She also writes women’s fiction, romance, and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore, including The Newport Ladies Book Club, the Amazon bestselling anthology series A Timeless Romance Anthology, the Aliso Creek series, and the USA Today bestseller Heart of the Ocean.

Heather graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Business Management–which has absolutely nothing to do with writing novels. But at least she can balance a mean checkbook and color-coordinate her kids’ school clothes.


In October 2012, I self-published my first book after spending 8 years as a traditional author. Now, I currently self-publish about 6 anthologies/collections per year and other projects, as well as write for 3 traditional imprints. When I was considering self-publishing, I had several reservations:

1. Image. “Self-publishing” creates a bad taste in a lot of readers/writers mind, and I didn’t know if I was willing to become part of that “label”.

2. Money. In order to self-publish right, it would take a financial investment for editing, cover, and interior design.

3. Team. Who could I trust and work with to build a team (editor/cover artist/typesetter/designer) to create a professional product?

4. Industry knowledge. I was at the bottom of the learning curve. Did I want to invest the time to learn the business?

5. Courage. Was I brave enough to put out a product that didn’t have the endorsement of a traditional publisher? A book that “I” alone felt had value?

What made up my mind:

1. Cross-over marketing. I needed to promote my contemporary romance coming out with a traditional publisher, and I needed to establish a presence in that genre asap.

2. Idea I could stand behind. I came up with the Timeless Romance Anthology series and invited two other authors/editors to join the board (Annette Lyon and Sarah M. Eden). We would write romance novellas, invite three other published authors for each anthology. Instead of me saying “buy my self-published book!” I had a great product with a lot of cross-marketing potential.

3. Confident in team. I contacted various cover artists and designers, and with Annette agreeing to be the line editor, it was coming together nicely. I also spent time asking indie-publishing friends about publishing e-books.

4. Quick release date. My contemporary romance was coming out in November 2012. I was able to release the first anthology in October 2012, the next in February 2013. In 5 short months I had 3 romance products by me.

5. Money. With the decision to do e-book only, the financial side only included investment in the cover, editing, and e-book interior. This was about a $1200 upfront investment, but with the royalty-sharing structure set up with the authors of the anthology, that money would be made back once 1000 copies sold.

Before you make a decision:

1. Study the market. Go to Amazon and see what is selling in your genre. You can look up the “publisher name” on any book’s amazon page and see if it’s self-pubbed. “Amazon” or “CreateSpace” or “Author’s Name” or another name that you’ve never heard of (which probably means it’s self-pubbed). Study prices. Study covers.

2. Consider novella or short story writing. This can be its own blog post as to why this market is taking off and you should consider having novellas in your publishing collection.

3. Read these books: Make a Killing on Kindle by Michael Alvear, and How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke. I don’t do “everything” I read in books, but I get my own ideas from someone else’s experience.

4. Attend a workshop or conference. Most writers’ conference offer workshops in indie publishing and marketing. I keep a list of local Utah conferences on my editing blog.

About Bonnie Gwyn Johnson

Bonnie Gwyn handles all guest bloggers on this website. Contact her if you would like to volunteer your time to share writing advice for The Authors' Think Tank.