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

 

 

The Mark of Oldra

The Mark of Oldra

The Mark of Oldra

Release date – 1 February 2016

Gerry Ryder shivers violently as the snow settles around her. Huge, black trees glisten with frost as their naked branches clatter in the wind. She isn’t sure if it’s hard to breathe because she’s scared out of her mind, or if this strange, new world is so cold that the air freezes in her lungs.

Gerry struggles to be the soldier the Penna needs her to be. Her dark dreams and visions don’t help. Although she craves a place in Essawood, she really wants to go home.

It is only when the shadows of her dreams appear solid before her and the power of the Oldra is revealed that can Gerry find her place in the snow; a place where a greater threat lies beyond the shadows. One that will devastate everything she thought she knew. One the snow whispers it is her destiny to defeat. But how does she fight a shadow?

 

Available on any platform you wish from 1 February 2016.

To find a copy at your favourite vendor, please see My Books page.

The Mark of Oldra was written as a stand-alone book but I miss them already. There may be more stories from this world or about these people but I don’t know when or what they might be.

In celebration of the release of The Mark of Oldra, I am offering my short stories for free from 1st of February for 5 days. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of these short reads, this is your chance to grab them.

Christmas Presents and a little Break

The Legend of Iski Flare Episode One The Legend BeginsEpisode One of the Legend of Iski Flare will be available 24 December, 2015

 

It is that time of year again – whether you celebrate Christmas, as most of us do in my house, or something else it is time for a little break.

After a hideous festive season last year we have decided to rebadge Christmas, if just for lunch.

We are having a Non-Festive Non-Denominational Family Gathering. But we are exchanging gifts and we will be consuming the usual traditional Christmas fare. It appears there is a lot in a name and if we need to rename something just to get certain members of the group to participate then I’m all for it.

Now my little gift to the world is the release (finally) of The Legend of Iski Flare, Episode One: The Legend Begins. It will be available from 24 December in a number of formats for the electronic device of your choice (including Amazon, Nook, iBooks etc)

I hope your Family Gathering is as festive or non-festive or religious or otherwise as you require it to be. And that you are well rested and revived for the New Year.

I will be returning on Sunday January 10, 2016. I’m spending my non-blogging time writing and preparing for next year – because it is going to be a big one.

Stay safe and happy writing.

Why I’m choosing to self-publish my writing

Self Publishing

Do you only self-publish when you can’t get a traditional publisher to pick up your book? Or do you go it alone because it is the best option for you?

And deciding to self-publish wasn’t an easy decision. There are times as I wander through the book shop that I think it’s a bad idea and that I should be submitting to someone else.

 

But after careful consideration this is why I’m choosing to go this way.

1 Getting my stories out there

I am doing this not to make money (but it would be nice if I could support myself through writing). I am doing this because I love to write and I want to share those magical stories with others. I am still amazed at what unfolds across the page and the wonderful characters that appear and start bossing me about. I still get lost in my own stories (still cry at times even though I know what’s coming) and I want others to experience that too.

 

2 Getting more stories out there

I can publish as often as I like and I can write different stories within the worlds I have already created. Such as short stories or novellas based on the characters of those worlds. I already have a list of short story ideas to develop from ‘The Mark of Oldra’ and as I work through the Raven Crown draft I am developing a similar list for minor characters or what might happen to characters after they leave the main story.

 

3 Control

I may be somewhat of a control freak – not that I would openly admit to that. But being able to determine when my book is released and that I don’t have to change the story to suit a publisher, or the cover, seems like a bonus. I get to determine when the sales periods are and I can give it away to whomever I like.

 

4 Easy

It is much easier than I thought to self-publish. There may be some fiddling about with readers, editing, covers etc but I think you would have that working with a publishing house too. Then it is uploaded and away. No waiting six months for it to hit the shelves. There is a lot of help out there and I have found that Amazon does make it easy.

 

5  Freedom

This is kind of related to the earlier points. I get to produce whatever story I want (or that wants to be created). I don’t have to think within strict genre guidelines, I can label it as what it is. As long as I am clear for the reader then all good.

 

This is not the only option. But it seems to be what is best for me at this time.

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.

A taster from my next book

Searcher Cover-page0001

I may have got a bit carried away now that the parents are home and my time is (more or less) my own again. I have started the major edit on my fantasy novel (and that is scaring me silly) and trying to finish off Searcher for release.

I am hoping I haven’t pushed myself too far too quick. While I edit away I thought I would introduce you to my next story and share a taster from Searcher.

 

As the siren sounds I join the queue at the nearest machine. I pull the translucent white cup from the allocated space where three small pills sit innocently in its bottom.

One green. One white. One red.

I gulp them down and reach for the small cup that sits in the second compartment of the food machine. It contains not quite a mouthful of water but enough to help rinse the food tabs down. As I move away from the machine to let the next in line take their turn, I chew on the edge of the cup but there is no flavour. There is no flavour in anything.

The tabs satiate but I still hunger.

Food in its tablet form has no substance and I often wonder if the colours are meant to indicate something. Someone ahead of me received two green and one white. He lived through the experience.

I once licked a colleague on the return from a search. A desert planet: hot and dusty. At least the dust had flavour, as did Brin. Salty dust. He did not approve and I did not get to try again. Licking colleagues does not fit the Searcher brief.

I promise this isn’t too far away but given my recent puppy sitting it is a little further away than I had hoped. The edit on my fantasy novel is going to be much bigger than I originally hoped but the story needs the work and it will be much better for it. As I get underway I will let you know how it is going and the strategies I’m using.

P.S. Check out my new page My Books. There are more books on the way.