Saturday, August 15, 2015

Writers are Jugglers

I knew going in that writing would be a hard job to do, but I sometimes wonder if I had known all that was involved in trying to be a successful independent author whether I would have published that first book. I like to think I would have, but I think it's probably the ignorance of just how monumental a task sometimes is, is the only thing that makes people start out trying to do it.

notepad, pen, paper, writing, business, desk, officeFirst, there's the writing part, but that's not as simple as just sitting down to write. At this moment, I have three different works in progress in various stages of completeness. I'm polishing Shalan book three, which comes out on October 1. I'm about to start the second draft of the prequel novella. And this week I started the initial draft of book four, which is so preliminary that I have no idea even what the title is. And then there's this blog, which I write once a week, as well as contributing to Writing Wranglers and Warriors anywhere from one to three times a month. I also write a book review every month for ClutchMOV, an online lifestyle magazine for my area.

Then there are the various other things that go into the creation of a book. There's cover art and design to think about. Do I do it myself or do I have someone else do it? If so, do I go to my friend the art teacher whose life is probably ten times as busy as mine and hope she has time to work me in? And then there are blurbs and calls to action and the back cover's layout and acknowledgements to think about.

laptop, computer, macbook, apple, business, desk, internet, technologyBut that's not all there is to being an indie author either. You're also your own publicist. Most of what I do is electronic, though I do make occasional appearances in the meat world and, in actuality, most of my sales are face-to-face. But every day I do the rounds electronically speaking. I check my Facebook page, adding items regularly to remind people that I'm here and I have books for sale and a mailing list to join and a blog (sometimes two) to read. Then I head to Twitter to follow and promote other indie authors so they'll follow and promote me. And when I can, I also post there. And then I check Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, and CreateSpace to see if there are any new reviews to tout or any new sales. I also check my mailing list distribution program to see how many people have or haven't opened my weekly email blasts or if anyone has joined or quit the list. And finally, there's my website to maintain. As a little-known indie, I can hardly afford to pay someone to do that for me. And there are even publicity flyers to be designed and printed and distributed. When I have time to do more than that, I try to contact librarians and booksellers and organizations about scheduling a signing or reading or getting my book placed with them. And that's not everything. There are dozens of other little things that go into creating an audience and getting reviews and getting my book in front of people, but I won't bore you with the list.

And then there are the personal appearances. I have launch parties every time I come out with a new
book and readings and signings whenever I can. But, after the first launch, I've found them to be, at best, break-even propositions financially. Because of a recent financial setback, I've had to start really watching every penny I spend, so I have to seriously consider whether something is financially viable before I do it now. So I'm also a bean counter. Yes, ultimately, there's a return on that investment, but you have to have it to spend it and my pool of spendable cash is now much smaller than it was just a month ago, so I have to decide between projects sometimes.

In looking back on this, I realize it probably sounds negative. I don't mean it to. I really do love writing. And I love the idea of someone reading and loving my book. And I'm also aware that I would probably be doing a lot of these same things if I had an agent and a publisher. I just thought it might be interesting to take a look behind the curtain, so to speak, at all that's involved in the indie author life.

Buy on Amazon!
Buy on Amazon!
I'm the author of two novels, both Shalan Adventures. Harsh Prey and Kisses and Lies are both available in paperback and ebook format (Kindle only at the moment). In the Shadow will be available around October 1. A prequel novella, "Harry and the Redheaded Angel", will be free to mailing list members at the beginning of November and for sale in Kindle format the week of Thanksgiving for everyone else. 

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