It was my pleasure this week to chat with indie author, and founder of Indie Exchange (www.indiepubexchange.com), Oliver Ryan, about the self-publishing industry and how his new platform can help authors save time, and avoid some of the major pitfalls involved with the self publishing industry.
“Indie Exchange is for every author who has struggled to find editors, designers, and marketing that they can trust.”
What’s your background in the self-publishing world?
Well, I started in self publishing about five years ago. I was looking for a job I could do from home and when I stumbled upon self publishing I knew it’d be perfect for me and dove in head first.
It took probably a year for me to reach the income I desired but once I was doing this full-time, I immersed myself fully in the industry. And for five years, I’ve loved it!
Describe for our readers what exactly Indie Exchange is.
Indie Exchange is a platform for service providers in the indie publishing industry to offer their services and for authors to seek them out. Unlike other freelancing ad sites, Indie Exchange is a subscription based membership service where you can browse ads, look at sample galleries, leave comments and reviews. It’s more involved than your usual ad site and a lot more private!
I think on other freelancing websites, it’s very difficult for providers to get paid what their creative work is worth and it’s similarly difficult for authors to find quality work that they can market to their readers. Indie Exchange is a curated platform that aims to create a community of both quality providers and clients.
Who is the Indie Exchange platform for?
Indie Exchange is for every author who has struggled to find editors, designers, and marketing that they can trust. It’s for experienced authors who struggle to efficiently find new providers and promotional services and feel they waste a lot of time vetting new providers.
It’s also for providers who struggle to market their services to the indie authors who need them.
Basically, it’s for anyone who offers or needs a service and struggles to get connected!
“It’s hard to get started in this industry when you don’t know what to look for in an editor or a cover designer.”
Tell me about the day you decided to build Indie Exchange.
It actually was an idea I had back when I did ghostwriting. I was making some money on the side to supplement my self publishing and I realized I loved ghostwriting, it paid really well, and the clients were generally very good… But it was hard to find clients. I mostly had to do so by word of mouth from friends and acquaintances in the industry. And I just thought to myself… why should it be this hard?
This is a multi-million dollar industry and there are tons of people who want ghostwriters and new writers who would like to ghostwrite and yet there is not a central place for these people to connect.
As a writer, I couldn’t find well paying jobs on freelance websites because people were looking for dirt cheap pricing. And, likewise, authors can’t find quality work on these sites that are marketable in our industry…but they’re willing to pay top dollar to providers who are qualified.
And it’s really from that Idea that Indie Exchange was born! It’s years later and there still isn’t one central site to connect quality providers and professional clients. I hope Indie Exchange will eventually be the place that bridges that gap and providers and authors alike find it an effective way to find every service they need.
What are the main challenges facing indie authors today, and how does your site help?
Well, I think the number one challenge is that it’s more competitive than it’s ever been. So it’s extremely difficult to break through right now and become successful.
And I think Indie Exchange can help with the competition for both new authors and experienced authors alike. For those experienced, I hope to offer a wide range of the best service providers in the industry so that can efficiently find designers, editors, and writers at the touch of a button.
Likewise, with ads for marketing consulting and promotional opportunities, I hope we can help new authors break into the market. It’s hard to get started in this industry when you don’t know what to look for in an editor or a cover designer. Indie Exchange should make it easier than ever to get into this industry if you don’t already have connections to providers.
“On other freelancing websites, it’s very difficult for providers to get paid what their creative work is worth”
What were some of the biggest challenges you came across when putting this project together?
Honestly, to my surprise, the project came together very smoothly! I happened to find an amazing developer through a friend of mine and through his experience, I learned so much. I sketched out my vision for the site, hired a designer to make it all pretty, then hired a developer who really built on all my ideas. It was very much a collaborative effort and I’m so glad building the site went so well.
I think the real challenge comes now that the site is done! The hardest thing is bringing this idea forward into the community and getting the word out so we can get quality providers and members. But I’ve gotten a ton of great feedback and thus far it seems everyone who’s using the site really enjoys it.
So as long as word spreads, I see things going great for Indie Exchange!
What’s your favourite feature of the site?
Well, if I had to pick just one, I’d say our reviewing system is my favorite just because it allows clients to really discern one provider from another.
I don’t buy anything these days without reading the reviews online and I don’t know that I’d be able to work with someone without any knowledge of them beforehand. And I think it’s an awesome bonus that you’re able to anonymously review as well!
What’s next for you guys?
I’ve got a bunch of updates in the works with my developers and I’ve got my ears to the ground as I really try to figure out what members want to be next for Indie Exchange.
I have so many ideas for how to build upon Indie Exchange but it’ll really be the opinions of my members that help me decide what to move forward with first!
What’s your #1 tip for someone thinking about getting into self publishing?
Research, research, research!
The only reason I was able to pave a career in self publishing was because I researched it obsessively. It takes a while to learn the ropes and build an indie author career but it’s very rewarding when you do.
This also folds into Indie Exchange a little bit but long before Indie Exchange came to be, I told people to develop their side hustles. It may take a while to learn the ropes of self publishing but there are so many ways to make a living in this industry. If you’ve got a graphic design background, learn how to make marketable covers! You can edit, you can ghostwrite, there are so many people making money in this industry who aren’t self publishing. While you learn, find something that pays the bills.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Where can people reach you if they have any questions?
Anyone who has any questions can email me at email@example.com
Indie Exchange is a subscription-based classifieds website curated specifically to the indie publishing community! Publishers and service providers can offer their services or seek out jobs they need, from editing to cover art to promotional services. Members can leave reviews and comments on their favorite services or their clients’ profiles so others can make informed purchasing decisions. You can also browse categories or use Indie Exchange’s advanced search option to find the exact service you’re looking for.
For more information on this new platform for self-published authors, head to www.indiepubexchange.com.