Wednesday, August 14, 2013

IndieLife Intro

So I am not yet Indie published, but by this time next month, I will be, so I decided to join in with some great people and start getting to know them… this Indie Life Blog  is the 2nd Wednesday of the month… (go join if you have or will Indie Publish!)

Since I am new at this, let me start with a brief intro, THEN I will list the things I plan to do this month before pressing publish on September 5.

What I hope to get from YOU is a reality check of what I’m MISSING.

I’m Hart (hi, Hart) and have traditionally published a couple Cozy Mysteries. I’ve always written, but only learned how to FINISH books in about 2006 (and those first three were fan fiction).

I’ve now written 15 first drafts (plus the fan fiction, so 18) but only published 2 (my 3rd Cozy comes out in March and a 4th Cozy I plan to sell traditionally-I don't suspect I will have trouble).

Probably half of those remaining are fixable to be published… but I’ve been waffling how to go about this. See… I believe the decision of the HOW has to do with genre and personality. And my personality is really more suited to traditional—details stress me out. Control’s not my thing. DETAILS aren't my thing... I just want to WRITE.

But I also HATE the ‘shopping the stuff’. The mystery is pretty easy. I had a referral and an easy first sale (7th book, mind you, but 3-book contract), but my other books I’ve queried haven’t gone that easily.

The serial collection cover
And then I fell in love with the serial.

I have three very strong stories in various stages of development that are definitely best suited to the serial format, so I decided it was time to set aside my fears (and detail aversion) and give it a shot.

I will see how it goes and see if I learn what I need to before I decide how I’ll publish my standalone books, but for now, I’m committed to the serial release of A Shot in the Light, a flu apocalypse thriller… (10 ‘episodes’ about 100 pages a piece) And here is what I need to do:

Production (by the end of August)
(the stuff I know how to do
Book 1 is with editor (scheduled release 9/5)
Book 2 is getting an edit (scheduled release 9/19)
Book 3 is with first readers

Need to write book 4 (the core is done)
(first 3 covers are ready)

(the stuff I need to figure out)
Need to learn to format for ePublication
Need to investigate Kindle Special Direct—considering this for initial publication, then expanding formats in maybe December when I’ll put out my first ‘bundle’

Need to write cover copy
Need to write acknowledgements

The first in the serial (99 pages)
Need set of blurbs (15 words, 50 words and 100 words)


Update Author Profile on Amazon
New Author Profile on Goodreads (first need to get them to allow me two names)
Look into additional book venues (Book Bub?)

Solicit reviewers

And I know there are a thousand other things. I want to do this RIGHT or I probably would just wing it. I tend to do that. But I LOVE this story--really I do. And I want everybody ELSE to love it, too!  Which means I need to do all I can so people even KNOW about it.

So if any of you have MUSTS on your list for first time indie authors, especially if you know about serials, I would LOVE to have you share!!!


Sean McLachlan said...

Serials are doing well in Indie publishing right now. As for marketing, I'm still trying to figure that out too. I can give you a little boost when your first comes out by mentioning it on my reader news feature. Drop me a line when it's about to go live. Also, if you want to do a guest post, I'd be happy to have you.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Looks like we're in sync...I made a checklist of release tasks when I self-pub and it's on my blog today. :) But I don't really go all out, so I'm expecting better ideas in my comments section. I listed stuff like update my bios and LinkedIn, etc.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Andrew Leon is just finished his serial - check with him! And he's on the Indie list there.

Cherie Reich said...

It sounds like you have a great start on what you need to do, Hart! As for Bookbub, they usually only take novels, so you might have to wait until you have a collection of the stories out. Good luck!

ViolaNut said...

Well, you already have me... ;-) (Although I will be less useful on the selling end soon, alas.) I think your checklist sounds perfectly reasonable (although your "dates" database is terrifyingly organized, y'know) - and if any of your new Indie friends need an editor too, feel free to fling them in my direction. ;-) Meanwhile, now that I'm awake for the day, I really need to DO the edits in my inbox, eh?

Faith McKay said...

Yay, I love serials! Definitely look into all of your options, but keep in mind that there isn't really a single right way to self publish, which means there isn't a wrong way, either.

I think someone mentioned already that Bookbub isn't a very likely option for serials, although possibly when you have a collection available. Maybe look into hooking up with other authors of serials for cross promo?

Good luck!

Patti said...

I would happily review for you, my friend... in part because I love reading and trying new types of books (you and Stacy have gotten me reading things I'd never have chosen had I not known y'all), but also because I've never been solicited, and it sounds fun in a somewhat pornographic kind of way. :)

Johanna Garth said...

You are a whirlwind Hart! I'll review for you. I'm a super fast reader :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Hart,
Hope everything works out for you on the journey. As to learning to format, I used the Smashwords Style Guide and while it seemed challenging at first to wrap my head around the instructions, I was able to do a decent job with the finished product.

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like you have a good plan on what to do. Good luck!

Liz Blocker said...

Ok, first, let me just say HOLY CRAP YOU ARE PROLIFIC!! I'll say you've figured out the finishing book thing. This is impressive.

I'm not in the Indie world yet, so I don't have a lot to offer here except encouragement, which I offer happily, in spades :)

Unknown said...

Cool beans, Hart! Well, you know Sue Quinn is the serial know-all, so I'd stalk her blog. As I'll be new to the indie world later this year too, I'm still gathering the info. We can be newbies together. :)

Gina Gao said...

It sounds like you have a good plan!

Unknown said...

YAY!!!! I'm so excited for you, Hart. Please know I'll happily help announce your book. Anything you need me to do.

I know you have Leigh for all your questions and she rocks, so I'm sure you're covered.

One thing I've learned from releasing under a pen name (so starting over because I don't want the names connected - at all) is that the way to sell books is to have a following (and not a blog following) but a Facebook and Twitter following. Another thing is connect (on Facebook and Twitter) with those in your same genre. I solicited 2 reviews when I released my first novella BUT the best thing I did was this: Release my book... let it sit on amazon about 2-3 weeks and plan ONE free day (so yes, I did KDP select). The reason, it got my name out to the masses. (Doing this requires contacting websites about my book being free). Also, paying for advertising. This is the big thing INDIE's forget. You have to spend some money up front. But getting your book out there is soooooo important, especially with Fall and the Holidays coming.

Just some things I've learned (All four of my books under my pen name are already amazon bestsellers and are sitting at a ranking in the low thousands ~ PAID. So I'm doing pretty good.)

AND please email me so I can help with your series release ~ if you want. Can't wait to read them!!! <3

Helena said...

Wow, you say you're not good with details, but your list of plans and the work you've lined up for yourself is stunning! Other writers are far more knowledgeable about serial publishing than I am, so I defer to their judgment. Certainly it sounds like a very good idea.

I'm not sure quite what the sign-up list is for, which shows you how dense I can be. But I'll happily support you any way I can. I'll give you a shout-out on my blog and anything you'd like. Since I've read three of your books I can testify that you're a damn fine writer.

And sheesh! I can't even give you advice on formatting because I paid CreateSpace to format Compass Master. There was only so much do-it-myself work I could handle. So again I defer to others on their experience with formatting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Hart -- good luck - should be a huge learning experience ... happy times - Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

You really sound like you have it together. Congratulations on what I would deem a success so far and looking forward to your future accomplishments. Keep at it!

Tossing It Out

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like you're pretty good at details to me! I bet your serial does really well - they're pretty popular right now! Good luck with it :)

CA Heaven said...

I've never finished anything. Seems like this will be postponed to my retirement, which is still 20 years into the future. Never mind, I write just for my own entertainment >:)

Cold As Heaven

Denise Covey said...

It's great that you've learned how to finish a book. I just learned too. Hard work for sure.