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The delicate balance between art and publishing.

I self publish. I’m an Indie. At some point I heard it was good advice to create a business plan. I did, even though it was simple and not filled with some of the intellectual language I’ve seen in other samples.

I also heard it was good to create a production plan, which I do. It’s on a digital sticky note and it goes into the year 2016. At some point I had to stop going so far into the future because I kept changing my mind. New ideas would rise up, demanding to be written. Or flashy ideas that I thought had merit needed more time to simmer.

That is the delicate balance between art and publishing.

If I were a robot, spitting out words just for profit, different stories would be on my production plan. Ones that made more sense. Ones that were part of a large series and with romance and kissing. Ones that fell into commercial genres. And sometimes, I write those stories.

Just today, based on the Create Bravely theme from NESCBWI and everything I talked about here, I deleted every project past this coming December. I will finish projects I’ve started and there’s a certain sequel I want to write. But then it’s all free and clear. And I love it!

Sometimes I have to follow my heart and write the stories that are a challenge, that are scary, that seem to fall outside those genres that sell well. Sometimes I need to write the stories that call to me, those that I will love writing, those that won’t let me go.

There’s nothing wrong with writing to sell, with choosing a genre that you know sells well. Nothing at all. I’m just saying that there is no guarantee no matter how you publish or which genre you write that a book will sell well, so you might as well write what makes you happy.

Right?

Anyhow, I am always thinking about what I’ll be writing next, trying to find that balance between art and running a small business. It isn’t easy.

So for now my calendar is open while different ideas push at the envelope of my creativity, wanting to be written. I honestly don’t know which one will win.

How do you deal with this balance? I would imagine a similar struggle exists for those pursuing the traditional path.

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Business decisions we make.

Deciding to self publish, go Indie, whatever you want to call it these days was a business decision for me. And along with running a business, I have to make tough decisions when it comes to my production schedule and what I choose to write.

For a long time I focused on middle grade. The first few manuscripts I wrote were middle grade. One was published briefly last year with a small press before they closed. I’m not ready to self publish it. Maybe someday…

There are certain types of middle grade books that are just as much meant for adults as they are for kids. One such book I recently read was a beautifully written survival story. It was Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Adults and kids will both love this one.

When I read middle grade I love, I end up shaking my fists at the sky and shouting (on the inside) “I will write middle grade again!” But for now, I am writing other kinds of stories that I love just as much. Business decisions.

Another great business decision is furthering our knowledge through workshops, reading, writing…etc. Here are two for you that are FREE!

Indie Recon with lots of great speakers and chats including the Indelibles’ Susan Kaye Quinn, Rashelle Workman, Chelsea Fine, and Chelsea C. Cameron. It runs this week the 25th-27th! Check it out.

And the second is a free YA science fiction thriller: Mindspeak by Heather Sunseri. Download it before the deal goes away!

I’m thinking that regardless of publishing route there are tough decisions to be made. If you want to share yours in the comments, I’d love to hear!

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Indie Life – Taking risks.

Welcome to what is the last Indie Life post. The Indelibles have streamlined their efforts as we are all busy writing and publishing. Thank you for joining us for the last one! Visit the Indelibles for all the links.

I’ve been thinking about risks and mistakes and how it’s almost impossible not to make them.

I don’t mean obvious ones like not hiring an editor. I mean subtle decisions that arise that don’t seem to have a right or wrong answer. Like our sales are down or never took off – does that mean I need to redo the cover? What about paying big bucks for ads or joining a costly Net Galley co-op? What about investing in print books and attending a signing?

Sometimes we take risks. Sometimes they pay off. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we have to eat the cost and try not to make that mistake again. Sometimes it wasn’t a mistake. It was just something we had no control over.

We’re going to have ups and down. We’re going to have decisions that pay off big time and vice versa. Just don’t let the ones that don’t pay off get you down.

What are some potential risks you have taken on the Indie journey?

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Marketing: What works? What doesn’t?

Do you ever wonder why some books become bestsellers while others can barely be given away? Why some businesses succeed and others fail? How does a blog post or a YouTube video manage to go viral? Is it a matter of luck or is there some magic formula for success?

Thanks to the hosts for this marketing blog hop: Arlee BirdYolanda ReneeJeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click on any of their blogs for all the links.

I’ve asked myself the answers to these questions all the time! I’ve done a lot of observing on book launches and marketing strategies for both traditional and Indie books to see what works.

You could seriously drive yourself absolutely crazy trying to follow all the marketing advice out there, thinking that’s what will bring success.

I’ve watched traditional publishers throw thousands into a lead book title to see it completely flop and vice versa.

I’ve seen Indie authors do everything they can from blog tours, to ads, to giveaways and their book never really takes off and vice versa.

Observed truths:

1. Word of mouth is the best marketing, and we can’t control that.
2. The best marketing is more content, in my case, more books.
3. All the marketing in the world won’t sell a book that readers aren’t looking for.
4. If you have a book readers want, then most marketing will work.
5. There is no magic formula.
6. There is no magic formula.
7. There is no magic formula.

My strategies:

1. Write the next book.
2. Connect with readers. (This is much easier to do when fans seek you out, not the other way around.)
3. Build my email list. (Slowly but surely.)
4. Offer free or loss leader books. (You can download Vanishing Point, the prequel to my spy series for free.)
5. Brainstorm creative more long lasting ideas for the launch of the first book in my new series this spring. For example: a free short story with an excerpt.

Last thoughts:

I’m looking forward to what everyone else has to say, but I’ll be honest. I’ve become more of a cynic when it comes to marketing. That’s why my biggest motto will be to focus on the aspects of my writing and publishing that I can control.

Do you agree, disagree with my observations?

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Indie Life – Genre hopping and why I’m not.

 

Going Indie means freedom! Rah! Rah! Shisk boom bah!

That means we can write what ever we want in what ever genre we want and no one is there to tell us no. I appreciate that freedom and the creative control of self-publishing. I do, really.

Of course, authors can do this all with varied results. The switching of genres could be a smashing success or it could result in little cross over of fans and basically rebuilding from scratch. How will it turn out for you? I don’t know.  🙂

I can say that with the first book in a new series releasing this spring, I am extremely happy that it is within my genre of YA contemporary. That means I can cross promote! For me, this is huge when it comes to marketing.

Among many ideas, a month before my new book releases I can put the first chapter in the back of A Spy Like Me and I won’t leave readers scratching their heads.

What do you think about genre hopping? Have you tried it with success?

Check out the Indelibles blog for all the participants!

**This is not to say you shouldn’t try a new genre. I’m all for creative freedom.
***This also is not to say that writing within genre will mean success or immediate sales, though one can hope.

 

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