by Vicki Stiefel

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

—“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

I like being a captain

Am I crazy? That’s debatable. But for a variety of reasons, I kissed my publisher goodbye and jumped on the Indie ship. For me, the why of it was relatively simple—I’m a control freak. When it comes to my books, I want to choose the cover. I want to choose the sale price. I want to… well, you get my drift.

Whether or not that’s nuts is irrelevant. I did it, and I’m glad. Other writers want to do it, too, not to mention the authors who wish to become Hybrids by being both traditionally and independently published. Do you want to go Indie?

If you’re flush with moola, skip to the end. If not? Hoist the sails…

Tools, please

To go Indie, a writer needs a bunch of different tools in their tool belt, especially if they don’t have lots of dollars. The good news: the writing’s the same. The bad news: not much else is.

Here are the tools I needed

Yours might be slightly different, but most will be the same.

Caveat—Each person walks his/her own path, each road pebbled with sharp stones and thorny plants.

You’ve written and revised your novel. Now you need:

1. Beta readers

Some of you might already have these. I had Betas with my traditionally published books, too. With good Betas, your book with inevitably improve.

2. Developmental editors

After you’ve edited using your Beta readers’ comments, time to hire a developmental editor. Depending on your writing and structure expertise, you’ll either need a hard edit or a soft one.

A developmental editor works on the shape, structure, and content of your book.

He/she addresses tone and voice. Much like an acquisitions editor at a publishing house, a developmental editor helps mold your book into the best it can be.

Some folks switch the order of 1 and 2 around. Your choice. (More on editing from Career Author Dana Isaacson here.)

3. Copy editors

Now you’re in good shape, right? You’ve gotten your book back from both beta readers and a developmental editor. After you’ve edited once again, it’s time to hire a copyeditor. A copyeditor reviews and corrects written material. He/she improves accuracy, readability, and fitness for its purpose. This type of editor ensures that your work is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition. (You might want to look at this standard text: Elsie Stainton, The Fine Art of Copyediting.)


Cheering ensues. Your book is ready to publish! Right?

Whoa – wrong!

Your book isn’t nearly ready. Because simultaneously, you’re doing other stuff that’s essential to a successful Indie book launch.

Watch this space for part 2 of “Going Indie!”

And if you’d like to chat or have questions, let’s talk on the Career Authors facebook page.


going indychest of stone by Vicki StiefelVicki Stiefel is the award-winning author of the Tally Whyte Homicide Counselor series and The Afterworld Chronicles, her romantic urban fantasy series, which launched with Chest of BoneChest of Stone hit shelves in November. Instead of becoming an actress, as planned, she’s slung burgers, run a scuba shop, and become a college prof. She’s a mom to two wonderful humans and a furry pack. Her passions for movies, fly fishing, and knitting pop up in her novels.

Currently, she’s playing with her pup, Penny, going wild in L.A., and pounding the keys on Chest of Air.

You can connect with Vicki on her websiteFacebook or Instagram


Photo by Ludomil Sawicki on Unsplash