Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Indie Life: Celebrating Two Years as an Indie

This weekend, Lyon's Legacy celebrated its second birthday, making it two years since I began my indie journey. If my novella had been traditionally published (which is a big if, since traditional publishers tend not to publish stories at this length as standalone stories), it probably would have been long gone from the bookstores. Thankfully, Amazon can keep eBooks on sale indefinitely, and I can transfer my work into other formats, such as paper and audio. I can also continue to promote my work, and though sales take a while to build, they have gone up each year.

I'm celebrating my second anniversary by putting the Amazon eBook of Lyon's Legacy on sale for $0.99 all month long, so if you haven't read it yet, now is a good time to get it.

Here are some thoughts on indie life after two years:

1. Patience: Even with book promotion (see my thoughts on that below), it takes time to sell books and develop a fanbase. It can be frustrating when you have little time to write but want more time for it and can't get it. It's also frustrating when sales are slow, especially when you're investing your own money in editing, book covers, and book promotion, and you need to earn it back. How do you handle this? I remind myself this is a long game and that every writing session gets me closer to my goal.

2. Goals: I originally planned to publish six stories this year, but I don't think I'll make it. I published two short stories in January and a novel in March, but it's taking me longer than I planned to write the next works in the Catalyst Chronicles series, and one project that I thought would be a novella has turned into a novel. I'd rather take a little longer to get the stories right than to push them through prematurely. However, as my craft improves, I'd like to cut down the number of drafts I need to make a story publishable. Even if I don't make my goal for this year, it helps to have an idea of which projects I want to write and when I want to publish them. This will be especially important once I start juggling two series.

3. Book promotion: I personally haven't seen much response to Goodreads ads/giveaways or blog tours, though they do provide exposure. Ads on sites like BookGorilla have better results, though they're not outstanding. Maybe I need to work on my book descriptions, or maybe it has something to do with the genre. There could be other factors involved too. I think with book promotion, you have to be willing to try lots of things, but you always have to keep writing. According to writers such as Kristine Katherine Rusch, the best book promotion is your next book, and the more works you have available, the more your books can promote each other. (That's why I want to get more shorter works out.)

4. Support: I've been touched by the support I've received from my friends and high school classmates. I also enjoy being part of the indie community and the larger writing community. Whether it's helping out at the BroadUniverse table at a convention or promoting another author on my blog, it's good to give support too.

5. The good stuff: Here are a few things I enjoy about being an indie writer: Picking the editor and cover artist I work with; taking my family out to dinner to celebrate when I publish a work; being able to write what I want, put it out when it's ready, and release it in as many formats as I can manage; and having control over my career.

Here's to many more years of indie writing and many more short stories, novellas, and novels!


Andrew Leon said...

It's definitely a long game, which can be frustrating, but has to be remembered all the time.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Science fiction is a tough genre to promote anyway.
If you do it right, blog tours still work. (Which is why I'm doing one right now.) Goodreads giveaways also work if the giveaway occurs months before the release date. I know that's not always an option for an indie since Goodreads only allows print books though.
The next book part is right though. Look at RaShelle Workman - hundreds of thousands of books sold and she just keeps writing more.

Sandra Almazan said...

Andrew: I think I need to make myself a big sign to remind myself!

Alex: Yeah, SF isn't the most popular genre, but it's what I love. Maybe I shouldn't expect instant results from blog tours and giveaways, but I also have to think about this as a business. I have to focus on the things that do show a good ROI.

Nissa Annakindt said...

The advantage to SF is that the readers are loyal to the writers they like. In time, some of them will be loyal to YOU. Scary, isn't it?

Sandra Almazan said...

Nissa, I can only aspire to be worthy of such loyalty!

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats on your two-year mark, Sandra. Sounds like you have a solid plan for writing for the long haul. I've experienced some of the same frustrations and the same joys.

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