Saturday, February 11, 2012

There Are No Internships In The Indie World

While a number of publishing folk have the advantage of learning on the job -- whether through an internship or starting off on a low-level ladder rung -- authors who self-publish don't generally have the same training opportunities to go with the publisher hat they're forced to wear. That's where following blogs such as Kris Rusch's (her business posts are a Thursday feature) and, I hope, this one can help us all better understand the changing face of digital publishing.

In the beginning, I do urge you to follow indie bloggers who are at different levels in their own careers. Konrath, for instance, started out with tips for the newbie, but his tactics and results are pretty unrealistic for the newbie today because he's no longer in the trenches trying to figure out what works when you're bunkered in a foxhole just trying to survive another day. Aspire to his success, but perhaps look elsewhere for the nuts-and-bolts of how to achieve it as a newbie working with today's digital options.

Separating the solid advice from advice that may be somewhat impractical in your situation will be the hardest part of the knowledge-absorption process. Dean Wesley Smith's (Kris' husband) creative habits may not be yours. His level of attention to detail in a quantity-over-quality strategy may not jive with yours. Maybe you only want to write series books and not branch out to test other markets. Maybe you don't have a series bone in your body. Maybe you're concentrating on short works. On putting out one book a year -- or maybe six books a year. All require different strategies and expectations. Be open to advice from all fronts.

The more indie authors there are sharing actual results from strategies implemented, the better indies as a whole will succeed in an industry that was once very closed and good-old-boyish.

I'm very pleased that my fellow authors at Steel Magnolia Press have agreed to my sharing their successes on this blog. Of course there will be some bragging. Of course there will be some promoting. Mainly, though, it will be a bigger window for you to see through: this is the promotion, this is what went well, this is what didn't happen that we wanted to, and this is the result -- not just the immediate result, but the longer-term impact as well. From that, plus my observations on trends and tools, you can maybe extrapolate whether a strategy is right or not for your book(s). What works for romance may not work for hard science fiction. Likewise, what doesn't work in a genre as competitive as romance may work beautifully for litfic. We offer no guarantees, just honest insight, commentary and best guesses.

One day, perhaps, our sales will be so stratospheric our strategies will have little in common with an author who's just starting out or is just a few months in. Meanwhile, most of the SMP authors with books out now have the exact same struggles you have for finding an audience and hopefully keeping it. Our consortium model may even inspire you to try a variation of your own.

Look for the first of these promo results tomorrow.

1 comment:

Landra said...

I love your desire to share your stories and tales from the trenches! It helps to have a small guiding light for this crazy indie publishing world.