Just a quick note to share an interesting post on an indie author’s experience on marketing, complete with valuable information on review providers – all from an indie’s perspective. Come and see. Meet Dan O’Brien.
Tag Archives: independent writer
Nobody respects writers, yet everybody wants to be one. This disturbing thought occurred to me a while ago and is proving to be a very, very stubborn one. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t banish it.
Add to that the relentless bombardment of articles from respected voices in the publishing industry, articles that commiserate our career choice and tell us that we’d be better off buying a lottery ticket – we’d have a better chance of winning, that is, than making a living as a writer.
Even if you’re stubborn enough to ignore all the above and keep working, keep slaving over that book because you believe in that story, you believe in yourself, even then the road ahead is not easy. Don’t write this genre, that one sells better. Not that long, shorter, and not stand-alone novels, but a series. Don’t rush, but don’t take too long. Formats, covers, promo work – all is skill and it all needs to be learned from scratch. As if researching and writing a serious book is not hard enough… There are no signposts, just a knot of roads, some neat and tidy-looking, some hardly walked, and you only have one lifetime to get this right.
So, tell me, fellow writers. Why do we do this? Pride? Stubbornness? Masochism? To teach a lesson? To have a voice? Prove someone wrong? Or maybe because it’s in the blood?
You might want to share your motivation, or you may not. I don’t much care about your reason, either, I know my own. But there is something else I know. I know there is no right or wrong way, no best and worst, no should or shouldn’t. Any obstacles are, really, merely insubstantial, paltry bumps in this road we’ve chosen. In this new dawn of writing freedom, the rules have been tipped upside-down, the waters muddied and somewhat rough, but we can swim. We can barrel right through them. Because the only way that matters is our way. Our story. Our work. Our sweat and tears. Our reason.
So burn those maps. Burn the heaps of advice. The pieces of card that prove you’ve sat and listened to someone else’s theory for years and years, the seminar attendance notes, the videos and presentations. Stop wasting precious time and money on someone else’s idea of ‘how to’. They are destructive and distracting. They pull at the threads of your concentration and stop you from focusing on your one true goal: SUCCESS.
You have yourself. Rely on yourself. Do things your way. Set your own standards. Before you know it, you’ll get there, you’ll achieve your goal. Don’t look at someone else and don’t compare yourself to others. One size indeed does not fit all. Not now, not ever.
Success? If, in fact, it is your goal, then shouldn’t it be your own recipe?
As many of you already know, I’ve had a very busy three or four days. No, busy doesn’t cover it. I’ve had the kind of days where you spend a twelve-hour shift in front of your computer and limit your food and drink intake to the absolute minimum necessary for basic life function, and after a short and screamingly necessary break you return to do just a little bit more work.
I went to bed tired and wrung out and woke up exhausted but determined to keep going. It took two solid days’ editing, but finally I was happy with the end result. One more half day to check for the millionth time that no errors could have crept and hidden between the lines overnight and then another half day playing the self-publishing game, first by Smashwords‘ rules, and then by KDP’s.
Ta-dah! By the end of the third day the ‘Publish’ buttons had been clicked and there was no turning back. No more worrying about formatting, the copyright page, any table of contents links or acknowledgements and dedications. The typos (though I don’t believe there are any) and too-English turns of phrase are there to stay now. No point worrying about details anymore.
I spent the fourth day making it known to all and sundry that my book was available for download and I am very happy with the result. I wouldn’t have imagined the number of people interested to run into three figures in just the first twenty-four hours. If only ten percent of them would post reviews, I would be hopping about with joy.
Today I’m feeling a bit like my balloon’s been punctured. THE BIG JOB has been accomplished and now I can go back to my editing and reading and reviewing business. Sure, I have a backlog, but that’s not going to get in my way for more than a week or so, and then what?
Yes, I plan to publish an author resource book in September and a sequel to Blood Is Heavier in December, but those plans are far away kind of plans. Right NOW is when I feel lost. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wasting time. I’m reading with a view to writing a book review tomorrow. It’s not put the sadness of saying goodbye to my baby out of my mind yet. Up until now, Nick Hunter’s story was my secret. Now it’s out there, open for everyone to pick up with one click. In a way, it feels like bereavement. I’m not sure my reaction is entirely logical, but there you are: that is me.
Has anyone else felt that way before? Is it normal or am I losing it? I would appreciate your comments. Thank you.
One of the nice things about being an indie writer is the creative freedom. You don’t have to worry that a publisher (or all of the publishers) will reject your story because it doesn’t fit into some well-known, easily-marketable niche. The market you have is the market you create. The only limits are those imposed by your imagination and your skill with words. It’s really quite liberating.
Of course, it’s also really terrifying.
There’s no one to tell you no. There’s no one to stand in your way. There’s also no one to keep you from falling on your face, which is a fear most indie writers face with every book they release. Or, at least, I hope they do — I’d rather not be the only one. In any case, it’s a fear I confronted head-on when I wrote my most recent novel, Atticus for the Undead.
When I set out to write the book, the idea that it might not attract a large following didn’t bother me much. I didn’t have high expectations going into the project. Mostly I wrote it because the idea of putting a zombie on trial for eating brains tickled me, and also to give my brain a break between volumes of The Weaver Saga. (I try not to write two books in a row in the same world, to make sure I don’t burn out on that world.) In other words, I wrote it on a whim.
But as I settled down to the (frustrating, tiring, headache-inducing) business of writing, something happened: I fell in love with the story a little bit. Then a lot. I got four chapters into the writing before I realized that it was no longer acceptable to me for Atticus to sit quietly on Amazon’s e-shelves, collecting dust. But it was an urban-fantasy legal thriller. How was I supposed to market that? I wasn’t even sure a big marketing firm could market that.
I finished the book and sent it out to some review blogs, waiting on pins and needles for the results. To my shock, the reviews came back glowing — 4 and 5 stars across the board. Mentions were made of the book’s cross-genre appeal, which was my first glimmer of hope that I might be on to something. I had started the snowball rolling.
So I decided to keep it rolling. I offered the book to fellow authors and bloggers for free in exchange for their reviews. I didn’t discriminate based on gender, genre, or country — anyone who would read and review it, I sent it to. The reviews still came back glowing. People who were not fans of the paranormal praised the book anyway. People who dreaded legal fiction gushed about how much fun it was to read. I was definitely on to something. The snowball was getting bigger.
So now, here I am. I’ve got 21 reviews on Amazon’s American outlet, with an average rating above 4 stars. I’ve developed a community of friends among authors and book bloggers who are helping me to make Atticus a success. But promoting a book — any book — as an indie is still bringing the mountain to Mohammed.
If you’re still reading this, I’m hoping that means you have some interest in my little novel. I’m hoping it means you’ll take the chance those authors and bloggers I talked about took.
Let’s keep the snowball rolling.