Saturday, August 08, 2015

Going Indie -- A New Frontier For Me -- Thyme for Love Has Been Reborn!


Until July 29, 2015, I was a traditionally published author only, but things have changed. On that July day, my first independently published novel went on sale, making me a hybrid author.

About six months ago, I received my rights back from the publisher for Thyme for Love (TFL} and its sequel, Love Will Find a Way. The only choice I had to keep the book in the market place was to step my toe into the waters of independent publishing, bettern known as "going indie."

When going indie and publishing your book yourself, you become not only the author, but also the publisher, editor, cover designer, and publicist. Here is a rough breakdown of the steps I had to take:

1.  A professional edit is normally required, but since TFL was already edited by a professional editor when it was first published, I did not hire an editor. I tweaked the writing in some places and updated the technology, but the content remained the same.

2.  I don't have the ability to produce a professional looking cover (at least not yet).  The average cost of a good cover design runs around $400, but I was fortunate to win a cover design through an online auction and paid substantially less than the norm.

3. The systems for Kindle, print, and other ebook sellers do not accept a Word document. I considered formatting my manuscript myself with the help of written instruction, but in the end, decided to pay a professional formatter. I've never regretted it. When I uploaded the formatted manuscripts, they both passed on the first try. Well worth the nominal expense.

One of my memes.
4.  Within days of submitting my manuscript to Amazon's Create Space for print copies, I was able to order author copies at a very reasonable price. Within a week, they arrived at my door, every bit the quality printing I have received from traditional publishing houses. 

5. There are a few different packages you can use to upload to Kindle. I chose Kindle Direct for the first 90 days Thyme for Love is on the market. This program gives Amazon an exclusive, and the agreement can be renewed every 90 days. Several benefits come with this program, including promo packages and advertising. 

You can check out the Amazon page by clicking here!

6. Marketing is the last, and probably the most important, step. Unless you can afford to hire a publicist, you are the publicist. Word of mouth is always the best way to get results, but to get the buzz going you need to get your book title out there. I've become quite adept at designing memes and posting them in various places like Twitter and reading groups on FaceBook. There's a fine line between posting enough to make your book known, but not so much people stop following you. But once you hit a good balance you should see steady growth in sales. 

One of the best benefits of indie publishing is there's no waiting for a royalty statement from my publisher. The Amazon site not only tells me how many books have sold, but also the total amount of royalties I have coming. For a while I became obsessive in checking my sales, and anxious! More about that in my next post.

Does this mean I'm not planning to have my stories published by traditional publishers in the future. Absolutely not. I'm working on pitches right now for my editor appointments at the ACFW conference next month. The  landscape of publishing has changed and is continuing to change at a rapid rate.  At first the thought scared me quite a bit, but now that I've gone indie on TFL and will soon do the same for its sequel, I'm embracing the changes and finding the process quite enjoyable.

Have you published indie yet? Are you planning to? Please share your own experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!