What they don’t tell you about being an indie author

self publishingI was determined to self publish and I am not regretting that decision for a moment. Well, maybe a couple of moments. I understood that there would be a lot of work that I would have to do myself but I didn’t realise just how much time that would take, or skills that I don’t necessarily have.

 

There are a number of aspects you will need to think about:

Cover Design – which I did get help with from some very talented friends and so it hasn’t cost me very much as yet. I tried to do this myself early on and the covers I produced aren’t fantastic and they took me several hours to complete.

There is help out there if you want to do this yourself. And if you have skills with Photoshop then you have a good head start on me. But be aware that this will take time and the less skill you have the more time it will take.

 

Editing and Proofreading – I am reasonably good at editing my own work. I go over every word countless times. But there is always something that you miss. I like to have others look over my writing to be sure that all the little errors are picked up. I employed a proof reader for The Mark of Oldra just to be sure that it was smooth. I have heard suggested that you can do this yourself by reading over the work backwards. But we warned any read throughs for errors needs to be focused and will take time.

 

Website Design – this isn’t quite as important to the book itself but it is your base to sell and connect with readers. My website is not quite where I want it to be, but I can’t afford to pay a developer and so I’m doing the best I can with what I have. And what I have serves the purpose at the moment. Any changes or updates will take time, and again, it depends on the level of skill you have as to how long this will take you.

 

Marketing is harder than I thought. I don’t want to be ramming my books down your throat every time you get an email, or check my website or receive a tweet.

But I do need to work on this. That includes getting reviews and advertising.

This is one of those items that make me wish I had a publisher behind me. But I’ve recently discovered that publishers only market/advertise for a short time and it is the writer’s job to keep people interested. So either way it is something writers need to develop.

 

What I am doing about it:

I am researching as much as I can about design options and tools for writers.

I like to try things out, so occasionally I’ll have a play at making a cover, designing an advert, or working out how to improve my website.

I like to study, so I look for webinars and courses based on my problem areas – such as marketing and list building (I’m currently doing a course with Australian Writers Centre on Platform building).

I’m trying to connect with and learn from as many other self publishers as I can find.

 

Despite it seeming like a lot to do on top of writing, these things are all possible. I’m doing it and so are lots of others. It is worth noting that it will take as much time as writing, if not more. And it is ongoing.

I have noticed, as I’m sure many readers have, that some self published works are better than others. If you are going to spend on anything, I would strongly suggest an editor/proof reader and cover designer.

Helpful links:

28 Resources, Tools and Tips for Self-Publishing Your Next Book

The Australian Writers Centre

The Australian Writers Centre courses

 

 

Looking into Marketing

marketing

As I work through my edit of Snow I have started to think about the marketing side of publishing. This is because I have more or less decided to self-publish this one too.

The idea of selling myself is a really freaky thought. And if I’m going to self-publish that is just what I need to do so over the last few weeks I have been researching marketing for self-publishers.

 

Important or stand out things I have picked up

I need to develop a plan and there are lots of ideas out there. It does appear that most of the marketing can’t actually be done as such until the book is out, but I can plan before that happens.

Can build up expectations of the book before it comes out – so that readers are aware of it and the release date (but I am still a little way off that as my editing isn’t quite going to plan at the moment.)

Need to put myself out there – market myself not just the book and that in turn helps to sell books. Again this is the selling myself which is a concern. But it is really a matter of showing who I am – in my blog, on social media and the like.

I might need to consider using a promotional service. I am a member of a number of writing groups on Facebook and one of them also promotes books (for a cost). But if I am serious about writing it may be an avenue to consider.

 

Will this improve my confidence?

A little bit. There is a lot of help out there. There are a lot of self-publishing authors putting themselves and their writing out there and some of them are actually earning a living from it.

The main thing from all of this is that it is going to take time – time away from my writing to work on and time waiting for it to take effect and people to buy my book.

But it will be time well spent (or money if it comes to that).

 

My plan

Firstly, I am starting a monthly newsletter. It will include a range of information but not too much.

I will continue my regular blog – along the topics of my writing progress and processes and interesting information I find along the way. May aim for the blog is to help you to keep writing too.

Try to be a bit more active on social media – because I want to interact with my readers (and other writers) not just sell books.

 

Useful links

http://rachelabbottwriter.com/2012/03/19/hitting-the-amazon-1-spot-the-marketing-plan/

http://www.writersstore.com/15-do-it-yourself-tools-to-promote-your-book/

http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/promote-and-market-your-book/

a range of tips from the obvious to the obscure and everything in between.

 

In celebration of the new newsletter you can get my latest short story Searcher for free this week.