Overwhelmed By Indie Publishing? Wise Words....

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Overwhelmed by trying to publish your books independently? Me, too. And I suspect many others, as well. There are so many avenues to do this, so much you have to remember, do’s and don’ts and musts and mustn’ts, a writer could easy lose her mind.

So many of books on Indie publishing give the same advice, pretty much “follow my suggestions and the cash will come pouring in’. So you do. You follow them (even though you maybe need a publishing degree before you can actually figure out how to do that) and then eagerly watch your Amazon rankings.

Which may go okay at first. But soon it becomes like watching paint dry – you’re pretty sure something must be happening, but darned if you can see it.

The most often stated advice is: ‘Write a Good Book.’ Which is very true. But often this comes from people who were smart enough to get in on the ground floor of the Indie publishing ebook goldrush. They put out a good book, and people found it easily because it was, well, a new idea. An ebook (possibly with print to follow) at a great price and not handled by the weighty publishing companies.

That was a few years ago. Now the digital world is crammed with books; some terrific, some not so much. Anyone could put out a book, and some of them maybe shouldn’t have. Some readers at one point veered away from Indie published ebooks altogether after being disappointed in a couple of purchases.

I think that’s changed a good bit now; there are wonderful books out there and the prices of Indie published eBooks generally compare very favorably with the high rates asked by traditional publishers who are now dipping their toes in the ebook stream. So much so that several well-known traditionally published authors are trying out the Indie route for themselves.

I’m published by The Wild Rose Press, and would always speak very highly of them. But I wrote a book for writers, Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book, taken from years of teaching creative writing. I loved this book, and Indie publishing seemed a great way to go with it. The book did well for the most part, both print and ebook.

Next came The No Sex Clause, a book I wrote for fun (and it still makes me laugh) about a former High school bullying victim, now a famous writer (no, it’s not autobiographical!) who hires a companion to accompany her to a dreaded high school reunion, falls in love with him, and finds herself running home to the foster parents she hasn’t seen in years. Anna Findlay is forced to re-evaluate her childhood experiences and her own life, proving that Christmas – and falling in love – can work miracles.

The No Sex Clause did really well for a while. I offered it for free and the sales continued after the free time was up. Plus it got reviews. I have considered using the word ‘sex’ in all my titles!

Then another publisher I was with, who will be nameless, finally gave up her stranglehold on three novels she had of mine after a short fight. So there I was, three books that I really believed in and no home for them. Most publishers aren’t keen on looking at previously published books. It seemed logical to Indie publish them, too. And that’s where overwhelmed came in.

Naked Writing had been straightforward, my market was writers who wanted to either start or improve their books. But novels? Winters & Somers (Irish romantic mystery/comedy) Judgement By Fire (Canadian romantic suspense) are out there already, with Marrying Money (romantic comedy) soon to come.Suddenly, life seemed to get complicated as I hit a steep learning curve.  And I’m learning more – sometimes painfully - every day. Here are Wise Words that I didn’t know when I started to publish Independently:

• Wise Words: Know Your Market

• Write a Book you love

• Dream up a short, catchy title that says something about your book

• Use all the tools Kindle can offer, even though it means signing up exclusivity for 90 days for your ebook.

• If you do a print version, shout it from the rooftops! Make sure it appears on at least the major outlets, like Amazon, Smashwords, etc.

• Get a really good cover that speaks to your target reader.

• Price it properly – you’ll probably have to fiddle around with pricing until you hit on the one that readers seem to find most attractive for your book.

• If you do print and ebook, look into programs such as Kindle Selects Price Match – your readers who buy the print version can get the ebook version either for free or at a lower sale price.

• Don’t be afraid to experiment with pricing changes, sales locations, marketing strategies.

• Make sure you read the small print.

And if you’re looking for books to read that will help you, here are some I recommend:

Blog It! By Molly Greene

2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron

• No Rules, Just Write! by C.J. Lyons (Not sure if still available, but any of her writing books will work!)

How I made over $42,000 In One Month Selling My Kindle Books by Cheryl Kaye Tardiff

We Are Not Alone by Kristen Lamb (hard to get)

Do you have favorite books that have helped you with your publishing ventures? Please comment and share!


Categories: Writing Skills, The Writing Life

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