I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know it all, but eventually I’ll figure it out. This self publishing machine was built piece by piece with my blood, sweat, and many tears. I’m a firm believer that if you really want something, you have to go after it with all you have inside of you.
If you want to be an independant author — you need to learn how to do the techie stuff. I learned how to format for kindle, but it wasn’t easy in the beginning. I spent more hours pounding my head on the keyboard than I could tell you. Shoot, it was days… weeks. Were you ever that frustrated? Believe me it wasn’t fun, but in the end I feel empowered and well… independant.
I could name hundreds of writers who helped me along the way, but advice only goes so far. What you need to do is pull on you big girl pants and do it!
Editing is the one thing you cannot do for yourself. Sure you can do the best you can, but you are not the best judge of well… your books. There are so many great editors out there that are affordable! So don’t think you can’t find one that won’t work with you. Even with an editor you need to learn to listen to well meaning advice. Beta readers are another way to go. I do appreciate the readers that have stepped forward and assisted me. You are my backbone. Without you I wouldn’t be here.
When it comes to covers I cannot stress enough if you are not tech savvy, please hire someone to do it for you. You can find a great cover for under $100 if you look. In the beginning I did what I could do when it came to covers. My fiance at the time, Nick Rose did my first cover for Armed and Outrageous, but even though it did encompass elements from my book, I knew I needed a signature look. Two books later I finally found a cover artist via Leighann Dobb’s books. Susan Coils is forever my cover artist. My Agnes Barton series finally has a signature look and it’s everything I have ever wanted.
When it comes to promos I’ve tried them all and have figured out the ones that work for me and my series. I no longer use KDP Select in favor of bargain book ads and I have had great success doing so. My experience with my $.99 promo of Grannies, Guns and Ghosts ripped the door open for me sales wise. I was blown away with how two promos I did the week of June 16,2013 kept that book on the bestsellers list for humor for the entire summer. What is it about this one book that has inspired so many sales? It has an awesome cover done by Paul Beeley, but I’m still amazed. I went from a struggling independant author to profitable in a mere month. I have made back all of the money I have spent for editors, proofreaders, print formatters, cover artists, and ads! That’s a great feeling, but most of all I have touched readers, many of whom contact me. I always make myself available to readers. They don’t wait days for a response from me either. They are important to me.
With my third installment of my Agnes Barton mystery series I went with Senior Snoops forever proving to the critics that senior citizen aged characters can become widely accepted by readers. This is also the first book that I paid over $200 for two cover both of which I hated. When finally I found Susan Coils, this was the first cover I had revamped.
When it comes to social media I will admit that I spend way too much time on Facebook, but that is where my readers and followers are. That’s where I interact with readers and overall friends daily. It’s an addiction for me… one I’m unwilling to quit. Smiles. I love the writers/readers groups on Facebook and this is where I first promo’d my books, but the tides are changing, and as an independant author, I struggle to find new ways to find those readers. There are many writers that are so helpful just as I try to be, but you have to find your own way. I learned that some writers groups decided to become publishers and suddenly the help I received from them ended. Suddenly I was thrown out with the trash although I’m still on this group. Wow, now I really am alone, but am I? I have this amazing group of friends and subscribers on Facebook that cheer me on and I lean of them for support. I have yet to be disappointed by them or this journey as an independant author. I just know I have found my own way. Regardless of the marketing advice of other writers I have truly found my own way. Is either wrong? No. We all have to continue to find our readers. I don’t consider other writers to be my competitors… there is room for all of us and our books.
In closing: I’m extremely humble and thankful for everything I have been given… this gift to write…
I’m now starting to read more and there are so many talented writers both traditionally published or indie. Writers that write much better than me. I’m in awe. All I can do is continue to churn out books that readers embrace and present them in a positive manner.
Smiles one day at a time