Last weekend I attended the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta.
I had a great time and connected with my editors, publicist and agent, as well as author friends like Robin Lee Hatcher and Voices June Bowen and Elaine Clampett. To name a few!
I can’t stress enough how key a conference is to a writers journey.
Not only for the workshops but for the networking, relationship building and information gathering outside of workshops.
And oh, did I mention the book signings with free, yes, free books?
Then there’s the Golden Heart and RITA Awards which believe it or not I always find inspiring.
I’ve entered the RITA twice and finaled twice. Won zero.
But when I saw author Eloisa James get up there with her hand full of silver RITA pins showing us how many times she’d been nominated but not won, I was encouraged!
For new authors, the chance to pitch to editors and agents is invaluable.
But all can network with booksellers, marketing and promotion people, distributors, all aspects of publishing.
Which leads me to the workshop I attended on Indie Publishing.
The panel consisted of Amazon’s Jon Fine, Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre, Smashwords Mark Coker and B&N Nook Julie Conlentz.
They talked about trends and opportunity in Indie publishing as well as lessons learned.
Let me say before you read further: INDIE PUBLISHING IS NOT THE ANSWER TO TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING REJECTIONS!
If you are getting rejected from traditional publishers take a long look at why. Ask the hard questions.
Indie Publishing still requires good, no, great, well written stories that are edits and proofed with exceptional packaging.
Remember, you get what you pay for!
That being said…
“What are some of the trends in self-published romance?”
Opportunity. You don’t have to wait for traditional publishing to accept your manuscript.
Proliferation. You can write and publish as fast as you want. Traditional publishing requires time and turn around.
Indie publishing doesn’t need a lot of lead time. Since practically all indie books are e-books, there are no print cost or restrictions.
Access to resources. Meaning, programs, artist, publicists and e-publishers who enable you to get your book out there to readers!
But these things cost money! You have to pay for the cover, the editing, the promotion. Even though e-publishers allow you to publish for free, you have to give them some of the revenue. So do your homework.
New Adult and YA are on fire.
Box set series. Even in e-publishing combining books in a series is doing well.
Let me say before you read further: JUST BECAUSE YOU E-PUBLISH A BOOK AND PUT IT ON AMAZON OR B&N FOR FREE DOES NOT MEAN YOU’LL GET A TON OF DOWNLOADS! FINDING AN READERSHIP TAKES TIME!
“What are some trends and ideas to boost publishing opportunity?”
Authors collaborating. Work to share audiences and keep up with demand. Short content a way to bridge time between books.
Recover books slumping in sales Gives books a refresh to jump start sales.
Go for good review. You sell more books with higher star ratings.
Go back to description copy and add great reviews or blurbs.
Fan Fiction has gone legit.
I’m not into fan fiction but apparently it’s all the rage!
“What are some ways seasoned authors can diversify?”
Maxine to as many retailers as possible. Market across platforms. Meaning don’t just publish in Kindle or Nook or Smashwords. Publish everywhere!
Be proactive and produce shorter content pieces to feed the readers between the bigger books.
Books are an asset. Earn money for a life time. Get your rights back. Back list is crucial to move forward. Pay attention to reversion rights.
Think globally. Maybe you can get foreign rights and sell those if you can’t get American or English rights from your publisher.
Remember publishing is the “long game.”
Make work as available as possible. Keep you face in front of readers.
People searching for books online via key words. Meta data becomes increasingly important. Keep it up to speed. Search inside turns book itself into Meta data.
“What pitfalls should am author avoid?”
Joe Konrath said, “Don’t write crap.” (Okay, I translated but you get the picture.)
Let me say before you read further: DON’T WRITE CRAP!
Avoid the devaluing of your work. Low price point are good introduction to work. Don’t price too low because it does tell the reader “might not be good.”
Be flexible, nimble. Control your work.
Packaging is important. Don’t just through stuff out there. If you’re not an artist, don’t create your cover. Be professional. Not cheap.
Balance being author as well as entrepreneur. Leave enough time to really focus on the business side.
Remember WYBOW — Would You Be Better Off Writing? Don’t get distracted!
“Discoverability. How to get seen?”
Go where the readers are.
Maximize info that exist about you. Be on Twitter, Facebook etc. Books found mostly through recommendations. Be in place where people most likely to find you.
Focus on target audience.
Find the right ppl who love your work. They ate your street team.
Word of mouth more necessary than before.
Indie bookstores key!
Engage in social media as a human who cares not a marketer or book hawker.
Create your own email list!
Build a street team!
Look for reviewers of books like yours. Go on Amazon or B&N, look at books like yours and study the reviewers. Find those who seem to be readers and fans of what you write. Email and ask if they’d like to review your book.
Authors are the future of publishing.
Power shifted from publishers to authors. Rights and power in authors hands.
Stigma of self publishing going away.
Growth slowing. Facing more competition. Indie authors becoming more sophisticated.
There are great publishers who are putting effort behind authors.
See more diverse opportunities among trash publishing.
There are benefits to self publishing and traditional publishing. Great to be both. Opportunities to be in both worlds.
Publishers aren’t going away.
Consider both roots but don’t give up digital rights.
Indie 3.0 is a drive for quality and professionalism. Books must be as good as they can. Professionalism is key!
Sooo, there you have it. A summary of indie/self publishing.
Let me say, however, there is NOTHING like a professional publisher as a partner.
They have connections, resources and sales avenues indie authors DO NOT have.
So, do all you can to write the best book possible.
Build relationships with publishers.
Consider indie publishing for backlist titles or your spec fic no one wants.
Best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She excels in seeing the deeper layers of a story.
With a love for teaching and mentoring, Rachel comes alongside writers to help them craft their novel.
A worship leader, board member of ACFW and popular writing teacher, Rachel is the author of over 16 novels.
She lives in Florida with her husband and her dog, Lola. Contact her at: Rachel@mybooktherapy.com. Her next book, Once Upon A Prince, releases May 7!
Go forth and write!
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