As 2011 comes to an end, I’m looking back to figure out how I feel about it. Just a few days ago, I would’ve said it was a totally rotten year, but now that I’ve actually crunched some numbers and considered what I’ve accomplished, I don’t feel that way. I got a book deal and turned it down. I taught myself about indie publishing and put out four books. Sure, my goal was four of my series, and I didn’t manage that, but I’m not going to beat myself up too much over it. Getting Sideways took a lot longer than I expected, as did so many of the things I tackled. But I got the first two Full Throttle books published, as well as Alice Lynn’s Scattered Pieces.
I know you’ve got better things to do on your New Year’s eve than to read a long blog post, so I won’t go on and on, but I will leave you with some observations about being an indie author, now that I’ve been at it for a year.
Observation #1: It’s a TON of work. If you think you’re going to jump on the bandwagon, make a million bucks, and sit back and have time to write, you really need to reconsider things. This is something that you need to examine carefully, taking into account your personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
Observation #2: That said, I’m happy with my decision. I love the fact that I have total control over my content, marketing options, and timeline. I don’t think it would be the right choice for everyone, but for someone who’s been an overly independent self-starter all her life, it’s perfect.
Observation #3: If you have a paranormal romance or a fantasy for girls, this is a great time to go indie. If you’re writing for boys, not so much. Contemporary realistic for older boys is a particularly tough sell. I wrote the books I did because they were the type of story I wanted to read. I don’t regret that. It does make things harder for me than they might otherwise be, though. I can also now see why it was so difficult to sell my books to a Big Six publisher. I happen to think New York created this problem with their marketing and acquisitions practices, but even if that’s so, it doesn’t change things. If you happen to know any boy book authors (particularly small press or indie) who might be interested in joining a group for cross-promotion, please leave a comment with his or her name and book title.
Observation #4: There are a lot of resources out there that indies can make use of. There are also a lot of companies trying to take your money and scam you. One is Writer’s Digest, who has recently started a vanity press. Penguin has also hopped on this bandwagon. Do not give these people your money. Even though they’ve spent years cultivating trust among authors, they’re not looking out for your best interests. There are any number of small businesses that will provide the services these people are offering for a fraction of the cost. And you won’t have to give up any of your royalties. Anyone who is considering indie publishing is welcome to contact me for advice.
And now, for your amusement, I leave you with JibJab’s Year in Review