Indie Author: A Steep Learning Curve

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So to celebrate my 1 month publication anniversary, I thought I would write a post about the lessons I’m learning in the exciting world of indie publishing. Part of my reason for creating this blog was to chronicle my journey as an author in the hopes that it would help and inspire other would-be or new indie authors.

It’s kind of funny that as I sat down to write, I noticed that I had a question posted from a reader on GoodReads about what advice I would give new authors trying to get their foot in the door. If I actually had a foot in any kind of door, I would feel much better about answering that question. 

So, 1 month and 2 days ago I made the decision to publish my debut YA novel on Kindle (it’s blasted all over the margins of this blog–feel free to buy it). I had spent a few months querying agents and no one seemed interested, so I figured I would just get it out there for people to read and see what the general public thought of my writing. I also went through the process of creating the paperback version (kind of a pain in the ass, but holding my shiny new paperback=love). I’m glad I made the decision to indie publish, because it seemed to improve my mood/outlook on writing in general. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s out there, in the hands of readers vs. daily watching my inbox  for yet another rejection letter.

My sales numbers during 5 day free promotion (so no sales, just free downloads) were pretty good: near 650. The actual sales since have been fairly dismal. Well, I can’t blame anyone since I like a free-read as well as the next guy.

I’ve been actively promoting myself on twitter, even paying for a couple days of tweet-your-books promos, which got me a lot of new followers, but, sadly, few sales. The main thing I’m trying to do on twitter is build relationships with other authors and readers by retweeting them and posting good articles and blogs about writing. I’ve also listed a giveaway on GoodReads (3 signed paperback copies) that seems to be getting a good response.

Reviews are an area I’m still learning about. I have 4 really great reviews on amazon and a 5  star rating on GoodReads, so at least a few people like what I write. I haven’t had any bad reviews yet and will probably cry/get drunk/jump off a cliff when that happens. I do realize that not everyone will love what I write, but I’m not ready for the reality of that quite yet. I’ve just been accepted by two bloggers to review my book, so I hope to have some more reviews soon. 

The main thing I’m working on is getting the second book in the series published soon, hopefully in a few weeks. I’m polishing it right now and getting some help with the book cover. I can’t yet afford to actually pay anyone for this, so it’s slow going. I have some lovely, loyal beta readers that I rely on for content suggestions. I’m thinking of making the first book in the series permanently free when the second book comes out, in the hope that people will get hooked. I would love to know your thoughts/experience with this.

Anyhoo, this is my publishing journey so far. I’d love to hear about yours. I hope this encourages and inspires someone. Best of luck to you.

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