John Birmingham Goes Indie

ABC News reports that Brisbane-based author John Birmingham is embracing indie self-publishing.


Birmingham’s David Cooper series had poor sales after its Australian publisher broke an embargo, and the first book was pirated. He waited eight months to pursue self-publishing.


A Girl In Time is Birmingham’s “first self-published novel” out now.


Birmingham’s experience has several lessons. Authors create unique intellectual property that reflects their voice. Publisher contracts have non-compete clauses that embargo new books. Agents respond to publisher incentives.


Birmingham will still work with trade publishers in the future. For now, indie publishing enables him to build up a mail list of readers and to diversify his intellectual property portfolio. If his self-published books are successful, it may improve Birmingham’s negotiation stance with trade publishers.


In negotiation terms, indie self-publishing is Birmingham’s Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.


I follow a few indie authors including South Africa’s Nerine Dorman and Masha du Toit, and Amy Lee Burgess of the United States. They have each been successful in indie self-publishing – sometimes after being signed to indie publishers. They have each developed a niche and effective, targeted self-marketing.


Birmingham shows that there are plenty of good indie self-published authors to discover.