Take it away Sky...
Hey All! It’s wonderful to be here at Catherine’s blog this week. She’s such a talented author so I’m truly flattered to be invited. Thank you. What I’d love to chat about this visit is a topic many authors, both published and un-published have pondered. Should I self-publish?
It’s a hard and very personal decision.
In my case, I’ve been with a wonderful publisher for years. The Wild Rose Press is top-notch and I would highly recommend publishing with them to anyone. In fact, my latest release, The Victorian Lure, was published through them on November 11th and I intend to publish more.
So why did I self-publish my MacLomain Series? Well, I wanted the world to read a newer version of this series. Brilliantly edited through my publisher originally, I knew that readers expected a different sort of writing style than what I’d produced in 2007. I had grown and changed with newer releases. I knew that it was time for a refresh.
It’s an unimaginable feeling when you stand at the threshold of self-publishing. I was both excited and petrified. There existed nothing between me and the reader but my words, my story. It’s a raw and vulnerable sensation. Yet it’s also a very gratifying feeling.
The MacLomain Series consists of one short story and three full length novels. The King’s Druidess (The MacLomain Series- Prelude), Fate’s Monolith (The MacLomain Series- Book 1), Destiny’s Denial (The MacLomain Series- Book 2), and Sylvan Mist (The MacLomain Series- Book 3). This romance time-travel series follows a medieval Scottish clan from its birth in ancient Ireland to medieval Scotland and its connection with colonial and present day America.
The series has maintained top 10 in Time-Travel Romance and Fantasy/Futuristic Ghost for almost a month now. I wish I could dish out a magical reason why but I can’t. I can tell you what I did first and foremost as an Indie writer.
The most important thing… I provided quality content.
What you publish should be your very best. After all, your readers deserve nothing less. You know how many hours you’ve put into your manuscript. You know how many critique partners have read over your work. You know how many have helped edit. You know what you’re willing to sell to your readers. If you gave your all, your readers will know it and they will appreciate it.
But… you can’t please everyone.
If you’re going ‘Indie’ you’re offering prices most likely unavailable to publishing houses so you had best be prepared for an expanded readership and an exposure level that invites added reviews. Some may be bad. I can’t stress this enough… Internet Etiquette. If you receive bad reviews and want to respond, always be gracious. It’s all about respect. You are, as an Indie writer, much more of a ‘product’ than you ever were before. If people don’t like your work, don’t get mad at them for it… but appreciate. Learn how to invite feedback and turn it around to the positive.
What have I done to make my MacLomain Series successful?
#1- I used my best marketing tool. My website. I pumped up my series at my website and provided easy-to-find links to purchase. Your top two tools? Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. Make sure you’re available on Smashwords as there are more downloadable formats.
#2- Cover all your networking sites. Blog. Facebook. Twitter. Don’t get wordy. Just pack a punch with your title for promo, that you’re out there with new books and provide purchase links. Always refer readers back to your website where they will, of course, find all links to everything most important about you in cyberspace.
#3- Take a ‘you’ night on the internet and TARGET your audience. I can’t stress this enough. One night I took four hours and simply surfed out sites devoted to my genre, whether they were blog listings, website listings or random sites. You’d be amazed at how many sites exist on the net that would love to share links with you. Those that would love to list you for FREE. They’re eager to make their place in the ‘wild world of the internet.’ I totally get it. Lord knows, I am too. Just be sure that you remember to ‘pay it forward’. That means you link back or brag about them on one of your social networks. After all, we’re all in it to succeed and to do so we need to help one another out.
The next day I sold over 1,000 copies of my books. Time well spent.
Coincidence? Maybe. I don’t think so. Karma.
#4- If you’re an Indie author it’s a good idea to learn everything about those who sell the most for you and how you can best utilize what they have to offer to ‘get out there’. My thought is Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Love them. Worship them. They are not only your ‘boss’ in a sense but they’re really great companies. Be a good person. Be a good seller. This refers back to Internet Etiquette which I really can’t stress enough. If dealt with in a courteous fashion, these companies will bend over backwards for you. They’re hard at work just like you and I. Treat them as such and they will treat you the same.
A HUGE thank you to both Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s rep’s. You’ve been beyond wonderful.
#5- I saved the best and most important for last. Take the time to hire yourself a good cover artist. Your cover WILL grab the reader’s attention even before your blurb. Your cover marks your, “Get Ready, Get Set…. Go!!!” moment.
Do it right.
My short story and novels aren’t sitting on top because of potential readers checking out the blurb. Nope. They saw the cover first, clicked through, and then learned more. A HUGE thank you to my cover artist, Tamra Westberry (www.tarawest.com.). You’ve been with me since the beginning and have never let me down. Your work is, indeed, proof in the pudding.
I hope everyone enjoyed the post today. There’s a ton more I could say but I think if you follow these basic guidelines as an Indie writer, you’re off to a super start.
Wishing you many, many sales!
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