Observations on Another Year Gone By

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

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18 Responses to Observations on Another Year Gone By

  1. It’s amazing how we can look back at our work and see why New York turned our work down or why we never tried in the first place. I think you’ve had an amazing year! And it’s all about the long tail and moving forward!


  2. Robin Koontz says:

    Happy New Year! Endeavor to persevere, that’s what I do. And “Don’t let the meanies bite your head off.”


  3. Elle Strauss says:

    You actually accomplished quite a lot! So happy to have gotten to know you a little right at the end. 🙂 Happy New Year!


  4. Lisa Nowak says:

    Thanks, Laura and Elle. It’s been great getting to know you in 2011. I’m looking forward to working with you in 2012. Lots of great stuff on the horizon. 🙂


  5. Pat Lichen says:

    Oh shoot yeah, girl, you’ve done so much this year! And here’s a toast to all you’ll accomplish in 2012!


  6. Beth says:

    I’m with Pat. A toast and a heartfelt Woot! May 2012 be even better.


  7. Jone says:

    Here’s to you Lisa, congrats on taking the plunge into indie publishing. Gotta get together in the new year.
    Love the JibJab..


  8. To me, it sounds like you’ve accomplished a lot this year. I hope your next year is as equally productive and successful. Even if you didn’t get all four out, two books is nothing to be ashamed of.


  9. Barb says:

    I’ll whoot and hoot along with Beth. Congrats on getting so much done.


  10. Rose L says:

    I admire all you have done.


  11. I concur–you’ve had an amazing year! I hope 2012 takes off like a rocket for you, your books, and all your endeavors.


  12. Dissappointing to hear about WD – I had always respected them. You’re an inspiration to indie authors like myself, Lisa, and I appreciate the bits of wisdom and advice you have doled out. Hope 2012 rocks your socks off!


  13. Alice Lynn says:

    A straight forward analysis of what an indie author faces. But current and up-coming self-pubs will find your “how to” book a lifesaver. You’ve accomplished a ton of stuff in 2011 (thanks for the pub of Scattered Pieces). Here’s to 2012 and your continued success as an author, publisher, and trail blazer..


  14. Roxie Matthews says:

    You are the hardest working woman I know who is not currently holding political office. You accomplish SO MUCH! And you strive for even more. If I didn’t think it would make you totally insane, I’d nominate you for city council. You could be Mayor of Milwaukie in about two years, and the city would be freaking lucky to have you.

    I think you need to spend a little time appreciating how much you have done this year. All this indie stuff on top of a full-time job? You rock!


  15. Roxie Matthews says:

    Oh, AND, you’re writing yet another great novel. In your spare time I guess. Sometimes I think you’re actually twins.


  16. Woo hoo! Look at you, my talented friend. I’m so happy you decided to publish, too. Just keep moving forward and plugging away. Your hard work will pay off. 🙂 Happy new year!


  17. Lisa Nowak says:

    Thanks, everyone, for all your generous comments. It’s good to know I have friends like you.


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