Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Going Indie

It was with much thought, prayer and a good dose of nerves that I decided to go independent in publishing my latest novel, Unraveled, which I released in August. My former agent had tried to find a home for it in CBA, with no success, so when I told her I wanted to publish it myself, she gave me her blessing. I made the decision because I believe in the story, and because I believe the quality of the writing is equal to my other published novels. But it was apparent that if it was to be published, it would be done independently. The reader comments I’ve received so far make me glad I was brave enough to give it a try.

There were a number of ways I could go once I made the decision, but I chose to go with Amazon CreateSpace because our own gifted Latayne had used CreateSpace for The Hinge of Your History: The Phases of Faith. She gave me pointers on how to get started, and once I began the process, Amazon made it very easy to navigate through. I’ve been very satisfied with CreateSpace, and would go that route again without hesitation.

Now I’m in the marketing phase, which is a daunting task. But I was pretty much on my own in promoting Every Good & Perfect Gift and Lying on Sunday, so this isn’t new territory. Fortunately, I’m a lot more knowledgeable than I was in ‘08 when those novels were published, and I have many more contacts. That said, I’m still only making a ripple with my efforts, when my goal is to make a splash. I’d really like to connect with book clubs, but I’m not sure how to find them. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I'm marketing extensively to libraries, as I did with my earlier novels, which is already proving effective.

As you know if you follow this blog on a regular basis, Patti is also in the midst of going independent, and I’m happily benefitting from her research. She recommended Make a Killing on Kindle Without Blogging, Facebook and Twitter: The Guerilla Marketer’s Guide to Selling Your Ebooks on Amazon by Michael Alvear. I like his writing style, like his dry wit and humor, but after reading the first four chapters my assessment was: Just shoot me now. There was no way that I, a relatively unknown author, who is not remotely guerilla-ish, was going to succeed at selling books, whether traditionally or independently published. No. Way. I might as well hang it up. But then I got to Chapter 5, and began feeling less suicidal. Rather than telling me all the reasons why I should fail, Michael began to show me how I could succeed. I’m creating my strategy and will soon put his recommendations to the test.

James Scott Bell’s Self-Publishing Attack! The 5 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws for Creating Steady Income Publishing Your Own Books has also been helpful. The suggestions that overlap in both books are the ones I’m concentrating on first.

Is going independent the optimum course for me? That remains to be seen. What is certain is that there’s never been a better time to try. No longer does self-publishing require an outlay of thousands of dollars, or mean boxes of books in your garage. With a minimum investment you can have a quality product to put on the market, but that’s the key word here: “quality” is vital. From cover to content, don’t cut corners. Period. The old maxim holds true: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.  With the enormous changes taking place in the publishing world, self-publishing is losing its stigma. Many A-list authors are going that route, particularly with ebooks, because for many, it makes the most sense.

What about you? Have you considered going independent? If so, why? If not, why? And again, if you have suggestions about reaching book clubs, I'd appreciate hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

I have gone indie after several rejections for my YA novel Hag. So I feel your pain, I read some of those guerilla marketing books and said no way. But I did end up doing the smaller things recommended in them, like creating a newsletter/mailing list for my readers. Also, I got on social media and started an author's blog.

I guess starting small is the key if you feel overwhelmed. But the biggest point of all is getting started. Fear will paralyze you but only if you let it.

If you want to get into online book clubs, look no further than social media. Goodreads has a ton of book clubs most importantly active ones. Here's a link for you to check out:

Just contact the admin of the group and do a giveaway for their particular club.

Latayne C Scott said...

I just started reading Unravelled. Even if I didn't already love Sharon, even if I'd not previously read her previous book Lying on Sunday and other splendid books she's written, I would love this book.

Every turn of phrase, every wry insight, every undercurrent of coming crisis-- all keep me turning pages at night when my tired bones tell me to go to sleep. But I can't! This book is terrific!

Story and Logic Media Group said...

I love the reader questions in the back of books. I know I saw a tutorial for that somewhere but now I can't find it. I must not have the correct term in the
Google search box.

@SageXpert said...

Twitter is a key part of indie marketing communication. Go to - a powerful tool with excellent support

Sharon K. Souza said...

Thank you all for your guidance! I appreciate the information so much. Rachel, good for you for taking that step. I wish you all the best for Hag.

Latayne, you inspire me more than you know. Thank you for taking some of your precious time to read Unraveled. Mwah!

Sharon, have you tried Reader's Guide?

SageXpert, I love your name! I'm on Twitter, but I neglect it terribly. I will check out hootsuite. Thank you.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

Sharon, I'm so glad that you decided to take a risk and independently publish "Unraveled". I was glad to read it and recommend it to others.

Indy publishing is great. So much more attractive than it was 5-10 years ago. I think that it is changing the landscape of publishing in many great ways. Being with an independent publishing house, I've learned the flexibility, collaboration, and heart that goes into smaller publishing ventures.

Megan Sayer said...

I loved Unraveled. There's so much to talk about in that book.
I'm glad there's a way into Book Clubs via Goodreads. I wish you all the best with that Sharon!

Sharon K. Souza said...

Thank you, Susie. I wish you great success with your writing.

Thank you, too, Megan. Are you glad to be home? Getting rested yet?

Henrietta Frankensee said...

I gave Unraveled to the lady in charge of our church book club. She was very interested in the subject matter.
Sharon, we are waiting for the sequel! Those characters have too much potential to drop now!
I wonder about publishing a chapter a month on a website. My work would not be protected but it would be widely available. Then have a fee for downloading bundles and buying the whole work in one go, maybe as a print and go. Has anyone heard of this?
I prefer a paper copy but I know the latest generation is more sentimental about its gadgets.