Welcome to Indie Life, a monthly blog hop for independent authors To talk about their craft and share their joys and sorrows. Click on the image above to see the full list of participants.
I wasn’t sure what to write about this month. I never feel like I have anything constructive to offer to the conversation, so I think I’ll just write about my experiences as an indie.
First off, I didn’t think it would be so hard. “What would be so hard?” you might ask. Everything. Writing is hard. Finding time to write is hard. Marketing is hard. Selling a book is hard. Hearing/reading valid criticism is hard, because even though it’s valid, it’s still criticism. The easiest thing I’ve done in the past year is format my MS for Kindle and upload it to Amazon.
Marketing. LOL marketing. Are all writers introverts? I can’t imagine that’s a trait we all share, but it has to be common enough. Even if you’re the life of the party, it must be hard for anyone to go out and ask people to buy your book. I’m very wary of spamming, of being “that guy.” I’m also very wary of talking myself up and having it come back and bite me in the ass in the form of bad reviews. My novel hasn’t been moving much. I have only received a couple of reviews on it, and I know I have to do better to get the word out about it. I finally got my Goodreads author page set up, and I’m looking at doing a giveaway there. I’m also thinking of lowering the price, and/or participating in the Kindle Select Program. (If anyone has had success with these ideas, and makes it to the end of this post, please let me know in the comments.)
And speaking of bad reviews, my novelette, Snowbound, has been a steady seller, but I’ve started getting middling to poor reviews. Not about the writing so much (which is nice to know), but people are really turned off by the fact that they paid .99 for what’s basically a long short story, and for the way it ends. I understand the ending criticism; it does end rather abruptly, and many readers don’t like that. They like resolutions and explanations. This story had neither, but when I wrote it, I struggled over the ending. Everything I could come up with seemed trite and uninspired. So, I ended it the way I felt like it should end. I guess that’s the luxury I have as an indie author, there’s no one to tell me what to write about, and how to write it. The pricing complaint, however, irks me a little bit. I understand that with the advent of e-publishing, people expect more for less, especially for unknown authors. Dean Koontz (or his publisher,) can get away for charging .99 for a 30 page short story. Jennifer does it and she gets a review that’s basically a frowny face in word form.
You know what, before this post devolves into a 1000 word rant about pricing discrimination in e-book buyers, I’m just going to move on.
Really, everything I’ve done over the past two years has been a valuable learning experience. I’ve learned more and more about the art of writing and the business of publishing. I know it’s going to take a lot more work to get to where I want to be, and I’m comfortable with that knowledge.