Indie Author learning the ropes | Skillshare Projects

Katharina Gerlach

Bilingual Author from Germany



Indie Author learning the ropes

link to my author page on Amazon (to sample my stories sinmply click on one of the titles):

and the link to my homepage for those interested in contacting me:



20th of January 2014 -----------------Lesson Four and Five-------------------------------------


I've been hiring editors all the time and changed often until I found the perfect fit for me. It's been trial and error, so Seth's advice would have been welcome a year ago. :-)


The same goes for naming. I did the brainstorming with my hubby and he came up with my publishing firm's name. To me that's another perfect fit. I called it:

Independent Bookworm

Do you like the name? I think it'd be difficult to change it after nearly a year of publihsing. Also, I am blogging with several other authors on a joint platform with that name and we've gained a lot of followers over time. I personally think I should stick with the name.



18th of January 2014 -----------------Lesson Three----------------------------------------


I am only using money I've got. I'm in the lucky position of having a husband who earns enough money that I can save up a little to make this business work. It's not much but as long as I can save up a little money each month, I can pay the business' bills when they come (every 3-4 months depending on my publishing schedule).

At the moment, the biggest financial liability is editing and I've got that well covered. The next step I'd like to outsource is translating (from English into German). I know how expensive that is and I'm still a long way from being able to afford that kind of money. But if I achieve it, the next step would be to find enough money to record one of my novels into an audio book (I did a short story which came out as a 1hr audiobook that costs about as much as a good sized german beer and I'm surprised at how well it was received), and then another one and another one. After all, I've got 6 novels (plus several shorts stories) out there already and another 4 lined up (with a 5th in the works).

I'm thinking about doing a kickstarter campaign too to fund printing of a graphic novel I translated for a friend of mine. He's got a very big community that might be interested in helping out, and my community is growing daily too.



17th of January 2014 -----------------Lesson Two----------------------------------------

At the moment, I have to be a freelancer, and this is what I do:

  • I write books
  • I translate my books back into German
  • I code the eBooks and do the layout for the print versions
  • I make the covers
  • I upload the books
  • I check revenues and handle bookeeping
  • I do all ym own marketing

The only external specialist I hire (have to even if I can't afford it) is my editor. He's good at what he does and he gives me a special discount because he knows my stories come relatively clean (few spellos and grammer glitches and barely any structural problems).

As you can see, I'm spreading myself thin there. For the future, I'd love to create income streams big enough that I can delegate everythign except writing the books to others. But at the moment, I just can't afford to since the money I can dedicate to growing the business is limited.

So, for now, I'm looking for ways to build an income stream that will allow me to become a freelance-entrepreneur-hybrid. ;-)



17th of January 2014 -----------------Lesson One----------------------------------------

my business-model:

I write YA Fantasy and Historical novels, novelettes, and short stories.
I publish them as eBooks through the main online stores.
I publish them as print books through Amazon and Createspace.
My readers buy their books from the retailers who will then pay me royalties.
For tax-concerns I'm considered a small scale publisher but I call myself an Indie author.
In the future, I will expand into audiobooks (I already did one that I consider a success so far).


my assets:

I'm well connected with other authors
I've got an eMail-list with 152 followers and an opening rate between 45 and 65%
I can tell stories well (or so my reviewers say)
I won two awards
I am good at editing (even line-editing) so I get cheaper rates from my editor
I am good at making cover art, so I hardly ever need an artist
I know how to code eBooks very well
I have 4-6 hours a day I can spend on growing my business


human resources I need to hire:

an editor for line-edits
a professional voice-over artist for turning my books into audiobooks


my customer/ideal reader:

- is 75% female and 25% male (meaning: she used to be a tomboy as a kid)
- loves strong female characters
- loves fantasy, scifi (not the hard kind)
- loves unusual settings where everything adds to the world (no two moons without consequences)
- wants conflict to be something significant that the hero/ine has to overcome to reach The End
- doesn't require romance in every novel but enjoys it when it's there
- loves to learn something new with every novel as long as it isn't preached
- is imaginative and extremely curious
- reads anything from chapter books to grown up novels as long as the story grabs her


what's hard:

Writing a novel takes a lot of time, and twice as much during revision. Marketing takes an equal amount of time. My best chance of becoming successful it to write as many novels as I can but that leaves me little to no time to do the marketing. I'm fairly well known in the YA Fantasy author crowd but not so much with the readers. I need to go out and find where they are to focus my marketing efforts there more effectively.


what's unique:

Since I'm a born and raised German, my perspective on the world differs from most Fantasy authors. Also, I used to be a tomboy, so my female characters are always just as strong-minded as the male ones, which creates great role models without being preachy. Not two of my story follow the same pattern (which also is a drawback because it makes branding harder), and the readers I've got appreciate that.


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