The Author CEONaomi is founder of the Goodreads group Sisterhood of the Traveling Books, as well as the Nordic Noir group, dedicated to discussing Scandinavian mysteries. Last year, Goodreads ranked her at #11 on their top reviewer list, in both the U.S. and in the world (based on 2011 rankings).

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The Author CEO: Another Best-Selling Author Joins the Indie Family

by Naomi Blackburn

I love Judge Judy…absolutely love her snarkiness and full embrace of her strength as a professional woman. Her show has a top spot on my DVR and I have read several of her books numerous times. I think her book Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever should be required reading for our young females. I was chomping at the bit for a new release by this pithy, tell-it-straight author. When I saw her making the rounds on talk shows, I went on a search. Much to my glee, Judy Sheindlin had written a new book.

Judy Sheindlin at "An Evening With Larry King"

Judy Sheindlin at “An Evening With Larry King”

I went to Amazon to purchase it immediately and was shocked to see the book was only $5.99. OK, it was 116 pages, but still. Then, I noticed the little prime logo and really became confused, but ok… I clicked buy. My confusion exploded when the Amazon page stated, “You can loan this book to anyone you choose.” This confusion got me searching. What did I find? Judge Judy self-pubbed her most recent book through Createspace!

Judy Sheindlin joins the ever growing list of traditionally published authors who have done the math, looked at the control, and made the jump to Indie publishing. We hear of a new one almost every day.

There are things famous or best-selling traditionally published authors bring to the table:

  • An established following
  • Name recognition
  • A larger budget for hiring vendors such PR firms, editors, etc. to bring their book to market
  • The ability to negotiate for services

Is this bad news for current indie-published authors? Absolutely not! Every time a new traditionally published author makes the jump it gives the indie movement another pat on the back. Current indie authors are ahead of the game. They know the ins and outs of self-publishing and they, too, often have a loyal following.

What can indie authors take away from noting the strategies of big-name authors like Judge Judy?

  • A greater need to present a professional product. Indies should ask: Have I put adequate resources into the book to cover costs for professional services such as editing, cover design, etc.?
  • A need to look at best practices for unique marketing methods. Judge Judy is partnering this series with an interactive website: What Would Judy Say. What similar strategies might I use?
  • A need to put greater emphasis on development of the book and/or brand as a small business. Have I put as much emphasis on the book’s business model as I devoted to its storyline?
  • As the indie movement grows, as is the nature of business, more vendors will come into the market. To compete without busting the budget, indies must negotiate for necessary services. Ask: what negotiation strategies do I have at my disposal? For instance, might I barter?

As the saying goes, the cream will rise to the top. As with traditional publishing, authors who put the time, effort and respect into their product will see greater returns. Remember, it takes money to make money. Does that mean you have to go broke bringing your book to market? Absolutely not! Creativity is key. Writers are naturally creative people. It is time to foster that creativity while wearing a business cap.

The genius of the indie world is that one doesn’t have to be a millionaire business person to bring a book to market…just think and act like one!

Introductory video from What Would Judy Say

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