Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ The Indie Two Step

Being an indie author is no easy task. It's the Indie Two Step. It's the latest rage and everybody is trying to learn this dance craze. Including you if you're reading this.

This dance has intricate twists and turns.  It has no particular moves because different steps work for different authors which makes it ever hard to teach to someone else. There is no magic formula in spite of all the blogs, articles and books.

So why do it?

Well that's what I'm telling you to ask yourself before you even attempt it. You have to be honest with yourself.
  • How much time are you willing and able to invest in your project?
  • How much money can you afford to invest in your project?
  • Is your project good enough to withstand the market and shine?
These are the three questions you should contemplate before going indie. But situations change. There are always evolutionary changes within your life which affect your first answers.

I side stepped traditional publishing. I understood what was at stake by doing this. It's a bold new world. I am an innovator type person although an introvert. I've always made things happen. Because of real life situations made it possible for me to publish, market and sell my books in spite of having a terminally ill husband.

How much time was I willing and able to invest? Every waking moment when I was not
doing my duties of ministry, caregiver, and a living, breathing person. That averaged out to about 50 hours a week. But I was realistic, life would intrude on that 50 hours so I devoted 30 hours a week to my publishing, marketing, production, and selling efforts. That equated to a part time job. Now with a part time job you don't aim for the stars but a realistic high mountain peak.

How much money could I afford to invest? Almost none. That meant I had a whole lot of learning to do on how to put together a book in various formats, cover art, editing, the best way to market my book, and be realistic about the returns for my efforts. Currently meager effort = meager return on investment (ROI) but more on that in a minute. 

Is my book able to withstand the competition and shine? Possibly. I'm still working on the Indie Two Step moves. I started with good intentions. Don't we all?

But a funny thing happened on my way to success as an indie author. Life bumped me out of the running. My husband's cancer got worse. In fact he's on a downward spiral and he's looking forward to meeting his Maker. I had a stroke. So I'm treading water because my life as an indie author came to almost a screeching halt. My marketing efforts have dwindled down to nonexistent.

As a result, the new formatting of my books to Kindle have been derailed. Kindle once accounted for 85% of my sales. The second books in the areas espionage/suspense, southern suspense, horror/suspense, and six children's books in the Sweet Haven series sits idling on my hard drive while I await my brain recovering enough to set the next stage in action. Also books 2 &3 of my survival nonfiction series, and the full text of the "Author Business" sit in equal idle mode. Hard life blows for any writer.

Everyone knows to sell more books you have to have a bunch of them to get noticed? That's true with traditionally published authors too. The more books; the more exposure.

So how do you learn a dance when there are so many conflicting moves for the same dance? You don't. You do the best that you can and pray for a miracle!

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

7 comments:

Nick Wilford said...

You're an inspiration, Jo, to be able to focus on this at all with everything that's going on. It's true that we have to constantly adapt to what life throws at us, but you remain levelheaded about it all.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

More books, more exposure - if only I wrote faster!
Duties of a living, breathing person - that made me chuckle.

J.L. Murphey said...

Nick, I try to be but don't always succeed.

Alex, I wrote fast before my stroke...now everything is up in the air. Now it's looking like three years to publish 1 book instead of six in two.

Deniz Bevan said...

Nick's right - and thank you for offering advice to the rest of us along the way!
I'm thinking I'll go the indie route when I reach a final "I can't handle another rejection" point from the traditional world. But first I've got a lot more editing to do...

Deniz Bevan said...

By the way, I like your book collage background!

J.L. Murphey said...

Deniz- Thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jo - the important things for now are being with your husband, looking after and improving your body as best possible - and keeping that positive streak going.

I found blogging so helpful and the learning I experienced via so many other great bloggers, supporters, experienced people in their various fields .. there was always positive going into my brain.

You have your books and you have that writerly wisdom from your advice articles .. a great resource there ..

With thoughts ... and I love your new addition (she'd make me itch! and I can't wear wool .. but she looks very cute!) - then the salt and pepper toys - practical yet fun. Cheers Hilary