For anyone hoping to be a successful writer, I have these words to impart. You must be patient if you want to ever have any success. Why do I say this? You can look around the landscape and find all sorts of indie authors who are enjoy loads of success. Take, for example, Amanda Hocking. This indie author seemed to hit Amazon.com like a storm. With sales blowing out the roof, it seemed she was an over-night success. This was not the case. In fact, Ms. Hocking worked very hard to get where she is now.
For most indie authors just getting their work distributed to the various ereader distribution sites (check out my work on Smashwords, or on your Kindle, NOOK, or iPad) it is a very slow, almost painful, process. Here’s how it works.
- You write your work.
- You edit your work (or hire an editor to polish your work).
- You design and format your work.
- You submit your work.
- You promote your work day in and day out.
- You watch your sales go no where.
- You start to doubt your work.
- You think maybe your work isn’t worth reading.
- You realize you work is of value and change your covers, your descriptions.
- You promote even more.
- You give your books away.
- You change your prices.
- Your sales start to pick up.
- Your sales continue to pick up.
- Your sales fluctuate, but stay strong.
- You smile…a lot.
What might surprise you is the time involved with marketing your ebook far exceeds the time you spend writing and perfecting your book. But then the time waiting for your sales to pick up (which is where I currently am) will seem to weigh more heavily on you than did the overwhelming concern as to whether or not your book was worth public consumption. That waiting period between publication and validation can seem interminable. You see the sales trickle in, one by one, and you keep thinking “Today is the day!” or “This will do the trick!”
And although not all stories have a happy ending, if you have cared for your work, treated it with a level of professionalism, and made sure it is as good as it can be – it will sell.
I first published Shero a couple of years ago. But I did nothing with it. I assumed it would simply sell itself. After all, who doesn’t want to read about a transgender super hero through the eyes of a snarky narrator? My mistake was not understanding that my books would not sell themselves. I was new to the process and the industry and completely unaware of how much work it took to build a following and start the flow of sales. I followed Shero up with two more books, A Blade Away and Gothica, but made the same mistake. No marketing. No PR. No “footwork” on my part.
It wasn’t until I published the first in my Zombie Trilogy, I Zombie I, that I realized just how much work it takes to have even a modicum of success as an indie writer. So much so, that I am currently in the process of giving my earlier works the care and treatment they deserve. I have hired a professional editor to polish the books, I have created new covers for both A Blade Away and Gothica, and (once the editing is complete) I will re-launch the first two books with an “introductory” lower price.
These are exciting times for me. With the addition of an editor and my eyes fully open to the reality of what it takes, I now feel like everything is going to start picking up steam the likes of which I never dreamed of.
And for those of you out there suffering the same concern, to you I say “have patience”. Do your work (and do it well), give your books the attention and love they deserve, and when the time comes, launch them to the world with a huge fanfare. But know this…once they have launched you will then have to keep the public constantly aware of your work or no one will know about them.
With patience, success will come. Much patience. Much, much, much patience.