First off, hope everyone had a Happy New Year.
I’m not normally into the New Year’s resolution thing. (Why make promises I’m probably going to forget about. Right?) But this year, I’ve decided it’s time to change my writing outlook, to stop looking at my writing as a hobby and start looking at it more as a job. Yah, like a second, really, really low paying job, but still…
Why the sudden change? Because I actually started to built a bit of a fan base in 2015. Huh. Cool. That’s a rather awesome feeling, btw. Now that I have a few fans, I owe them well-edited, well-formatted, professional ebooks published in a timely fashion. Actually, all authors owe their readers that from the get-go, but there’s a learning curve to becoming a professional indie author. Some authors get it right away, others…well….never do.
My stuff wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t top of the line, either. (Okay, my first indie published novel so wasn’t ready for readers) but I had some editing done, and ebook covers NOT designed by me. Don’t get me wrong, some authors know their way around photoshop and can put together a respectable cover. Me? Not so much. So here I was puttering along, doing all the wrong things until I happened to read Lindsay Buroker’s blog mentioning Kboards. I’ve followed Lindsay’s blog for a number of years now–she’s a great author I met on the OWW (Online Writer’s Workshop for Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror) back in 2009 or 2010.
Anyways, I joined Kboards--you can just lurk if you wish–but I highly recommend all new/aspiring authors check it out. There’s a ton of great data there, shared freely by other wonderful authors. I’ve learned far more than I’ve had time to implement, so 2015 was the year of learning how to be a professional author and 2016 is going to be the year I become a professional author (or at least, improve my writing and publishing schedule. Baby steps.)
Here’s some jewels of wisdom I’ve gained from joining Kboards:
Get an author website or a blog up and running. (I already had one, but didn’t know what to do with it.)
Start a Mailing List using Mailchimp or the like. (Don’t know what that is? Go to Kboards and start reading.)
Write more books. Write every day, even if only for an hour.
Publish a book every 2-3 months. Otherwise, you’re fighting an uphill battle to win visibility on the big retailers like Amazon. Now, if you’re anything like me, writing that fast isn’t possible. To get around that, hold off publishing anything until you have 3 books done, and then publish them about a month apart. Get them edited by the best editor you can afford, get writing buddies to beta read them. Get the best ebook covers you can afford. Great story + great editing + great covers = a better chance that your book will maybe catch readers’ attention. There is no guarantee.
Back up one step. Before you publish the ebook, start sending out Advanced Reading Copies. Give these out to reviewers like candy. Get a paperback version up on Amazon and they will have a link where they can post reviews. (I made that sound way easier than it actually is. Reviews are a pain in the butt to get.)
Publish the ebook version or put it on pre-order. Now it gets complicated. Some authors say to start promoting right out of the gate, others say to save your money until you have more books for readers to move onto next. Both are good points. I don’t have a clear answer for you. It depends.
For my next novel, called Ishtar’s Blade, I’m going to try to get the number of reviews I need to get it accepted by the heavy hitting promotional sites and promote the snot out of this book. I’ll do a 99c release for a period of 2 weeks, line up blog tour sites, do Instafreebie and Library Thing giveaways and others and see if I can get it on the Hot New Release List on Amazon. Ishtar’s Blade is a standalone novel, so it makes sense to try to prime the Amazon algorithms right out of the gate.
Now, if you have a series in mind, don’t be afraid to give away boatloads of book one. Many readers will be reluctant to part with their hard earned $$$ on a new, unknown author, but will gladly go on to read the rest of the series if they liked book one. Freebies are a great way to gain new readers, mailing list signups, and facebook likes. All of which you can use to your advantage for your next new release.
With that in mind.
Betrayal’s Price is Free on Amazon today and tomorrow. Oh, and here is it’s new cover reveal. I had to get a new cover designed for it for the print version. Herd Mistress, book two, will eventually get a new cover and a print version, too.
Happy New Year!