Sunday, January 22, 2017

Indie (Hybrid) Writerville

When my plans for world domination failed, I decided to take the self-publishing path for Midnight Sisters.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
I'm grateful every day that Cedar Fort took a chance on me and Becoming Beauty. Traditional publishing taught me about editing, storytelling, and character arcs. I also learned that traditionally published authors have no time to sit back and eat bon-bons. Nope. Cedar Fort managed book distribution and formatting while I set up my blog tour, book launch, arranged for signings, and scheduled author visits to schools and libraries.

Fast forward two years. As a Indie Author, I had complete control over everything including the things I had no idea how to do. Luckily, I had an amazing team behind me who was willing to pick up the slack.

Editing: My fabulous editor friend Margaret Zerkle got to the root of all my book issues. Meg asked the hard questions and didn't care if it made me cry or throw things. (I didn't actually cry or throw things. But I appreciate that honesty.) It made my story clearer and my characters more interesting.

Cover Art: My official graphic designer, Cindy, created everything from my coverart to bookmarks and other promotional materials for Midnight Sisters' Blog Tour and Launch Party. The experience of shooting the cover with Cindy convinced me that this indie author thing was definitely for me. Collaborating with someone to bring your vision to life is intoxicating.

Formatting: Hybrid author Jo Ann Schneider and her hubby Jon came to my rescue on book formatting. I am less than computer saavy, people. But with my crash course on formatting, I'm much more comfortable with the process. (But yes, Jo, sometimes I still need you to hold my hand!)

Marketing: For Midnight Sister's release, I contacted everyone I knew in the writing world and politely asked for their help. Because Becoming Beauty's Blog Tour went so well, many people came on board immediately and several more continued to ask me to guest post, send them a copy of Midnight Sisters to review, sell my book in their bookshops, and host author events at their venue. These are the amazing people who share you with their readers and fans. Why go to all the effort of setting up blog tours, book launches, and giveaways? The reality is that running blog tours, giveaways, and other promotional events makes your book more visible to a wider audience and grows your following on social media. And in case you haven't been paying attention, that's what really sells your books. 

At this point you may be wondering how to build a team of awesome individuals like mine. Here's how:

Be kind.
Be respectful.
Work your butt off.

People sense when you've put forth your best effort. They respond when you come through for them. Connect with them. Be available. And when they ask for your help, say yes! Just ask Ms. Etiquette, it works.

The Indie Author life isn't a cake walk, but with a whole lot of work, you can pull it off. But what do I know? I'm still learning! But yes, I will share what I learn along the way.

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