Can an #IndieAuthor Make It In Today’s Market?

If you work really hard, amazing things will happen. ~ Conan O’Brien

I am true blue Indie author. I have been since 2011. I am in charge of my writing, formatting, tweaking, and social media. I do hire out my edits (Faith Williams) and cover designs (Erin Dameron-Hill). I make all my own decisions: what to write, where and when to promo, and when to release my books. There are several pros about being an Indie author. The main one is that you know even before you begin your book, it will be published.

When I began this venture, I hadn’t a clue about publishing. All that I had was a strong desire to write. I understood nothing about social media, formatting, editing or trolls. I learned quickly. I have four facebook accounts under my pennames and real name. I will let you in on a secret. I’m absolutely awful at social media. I have over six thousand facebook friends I don’t know. Why? Because I was told that I needed a presence on Facebook. I have over 45,000 twitter followers. I will confess—I must be the most boring Twitter person. I wish I was more spontaneous and funny, but my whole focus is my books or someone else’s book. But I am there and that is important.

I will tell you how out of touch I am…how engrossed I am in my books. The night of the presidental election, I was shocked when Donald Trump won his first state. I thought Hilary was going to win by a landslide. I guess that’s what I get for using Saturday Night Live as my news source.

So, the hardest part for me as an Indie is keeping up with the ever changing world of publishing. I’ll delve into that more in a minute.

In the past, I will admit I have tried to get my books published by the traditional Big- 5 publishers with no success. I have even tried to get an agent. Last April, I attended the NECRWA Conference with only one intention—talking with an agent. At these meetings, you have an assigned time.  At this one, it was a fifteen minute time limit. They were running behind with the agent I was meeting with, but I was assured I would get my full time. Didn’t happen. I was trying to pitch Framed, my release last September. I wanted to branch off into contemporaries and I thought I would give it another shot at getting an agent…at getting published by a Big 5 publisher. The truth was I realized that my mother didn’t have long left on this earth. Even though she had read my books, I don’t think she considered me a true author. I wanted…I wanted her to know I was. Unfortunately, that didn’t happened.

Back to my appointment, the agent…I loved her…the 5 minutes I had with her. As with most of the times at these meetings, she asked me for a longer sample and told me to email it to her. Well…I did. I got a standard response back that if it wasn’t solicited, the email would be deleted. I didn’t worry. I did as requested, submitted as requested, but I got no reply. After I waited the required amount of time, I sent another email. Sadly, I got the same standard response and there, again, no reply. Once more, I realized I wasn’t going to get an agent. I released Framed as the second book in Boston’s Crimes of Passion. The lesson I learned—my sales pitch must be sorely lacking.

I believe trying to get a Big 5 publisher was not only for my momma, but for the acknowledgement to myself that I can truly write. Over the years, as an Indie, you are bombarded with one thing after another…external forces pounding into you must not be good enough to be called an author— like not even getting a response back from an agent. I have tried different things to get respect from the gods of writing. Some examples: I submitted Belle of Charleston for review to Publisher Weekly (Got an awful review. Said they hated the ending…they, too, ignored the warning that it was a serial). I submitted Belle of Charleston to Kindle Scout and got shot down. I asked Amazon if I could release Southern Legacy as a true serial. They said no. So I had no choice but to release it in four installments. But sometimes, they are wrong. Southern Legacy serial has become my bestseller.

AMAZON    BARNES&NOBLE   ITUNES   KOBO

I guess you can say I’m pretty stubborn. You see, I think I’m a damn good writer.

There again, my stubborness is probably what has made the agents and Big 5 pass over my writing. I write what I feel. To make money writing historicals, you should write Regencies. I don’t write a lot of true Regencies. I have three under Colleen Connally. One of my pride and joys is Seductive Secrets. But even writing a traditional romance such as Seductive Secrets, I deviated from the formula. My secondary character…whom I absolutely love…Charles is gay. Even though the Big 5 say they want originality, they don’t want controversy. Same as when I had tried to get an agent for Southern Legacy, I got the book was too long. I understood, but I couldn’t cut the story. So, you see I brought a lot of the rejections upon myself. That is why its a good thing I’m an Indie.

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I am perfectly happy being an Indie, but the face of publishing is ever changing. Now, we are facing another change—  AMAZON

In the past, Amazon has been the reason Indies could break into the tremendously competitive world of publishing. Amazon is the reason I make money doing what I love. Now, the rest of this blog is only my opinion, but I think AMAZON has become the sixth big publisher. I think it is the most powerful force in publishing…at least from my perspective. They have their own imprints. They have changed the rules in publishing. Some that were beneficial to me, but the ones they made recently have hurt. For a while, I had all my books in KDP. Amazon made it worthwhile, but then it changed. My KDP numbers dropped dramatically. Why? I saw somewhere it had to do with the Kindle flip-page. Could be. But there was another avenue Amazon opened up —Kindle Unlimited. My books weren’t included in Kindle Unlimited. Now, I have pulled about half my books out of KDP and have gone back to the other sites: Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Everything is changing, but it can’t stop us Indies. This is only one more obstacle for us Indies to manuever around. The most important one on the business end for Indies is PROMOTING! It is a must. You have to get your book in the hands of readers and no one is going to do it for you. So, where do I promote?

First and foremost: BOOKBUB.

I love BookBub, absolutely adore BookBub. I can’t say enough good things about Bookbub. Even if they never took another book of mine, I will always promote BookBub. BookBub is the reason I’m still writing. Back in 2012, I got hit hard by trolls, trolls that dug their nails into my back and wouldn’t let go. I had one that it seemed like it was her mission to save the world from my writing. I don’t ever want to relive that time. I ended up having to take down the book the trolls were going after, Daughter of Deceit…aka Seductive Secrets. I took Daughter of Deceit down and put it back up under a different title and penname, Seductive Secrets. I gave it away perma-free for a time (It is now one of the books I left in KDP). This was back when BookBub was just coming up. They posted Seductive Secrets and I haven’t looked back. After a year of hell with this troll attacking me, I had seriously thought of giving up on writing. The attacks on me were horrible. I believe fully it was because the gay character in the book was presented in a positive light. I wrote Charles specifically for a special person. She said that growing up, gay characters were always portrayed in a negative way. So I wrote Charles into my next book which turned out to be Seductive Secrets. But there is a price to pay for going against the grain. You can expect consequences. I just didn’t expect the trolls to be so aggressive.

Didn’t mean to get into that…but to put it simply BOOKBUB is the best place to advertise.

But BookBub promotions are hard to get for Indies. There are some other really good places to promote. Some of the ones I use:  BookSends, Ereaders News Today, Kindle Nation Daily, Digital Book Today, Many Books, Great Books Great Deals and FreeBooksy. There are others, too. You just have to search for them.

I post books on Romantic Picks. I post my own along with other authors that I think you will enjoy. Everything I do on Romantic Picks is free for the author. It’s my way of giving back. Also, if you are just starting out, join author groups, especially Indie author groups. Indie authors are awesome at helping each other.

So, my conclusion, can an Indie make it in today’s market? Absolutely! I think the message is write a wonderful book, work hard, and believe in yourself. Good luck!

ROMANTIC PICKS #BOOKBUBFOLLOW #GIVEAWAY David Wind

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Is the paranormal real? Do Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Vampires exist or are they something…else?

“Find me…” The words uttered by the mysterious woman he’d swerved off the road to miss, echo continually in Dallas policeman Arren Blaine’s head as he fights to get back into the world of the living, after the almost fatal car crash.<

“Find me…” So begins an odyssey of discovery that takes him far from the Dallas P.D. forensic labs and into the frightening world of the supernatural in his search for the woman who had saved his life. A woman he is destined to share eternity with, if he can find her… If he can save her.

TAGS: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Thriller, Supernatural, Werewolves, Vampires, Shapeshifters, Werewolf. Paranormal Science Fiction, Paranormal Fantasy, Shape Shifters, shifters

Genre: Paranormal & Urban
Genre: Paranormal Thriller,
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

ROMANTIC PICKS #BOOKBUBFOLLOW #GIVEAWAY Roberta Kagan

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The Holocaust robbed Zofia Weiss of all she holds dear. The Secret State Police have confiscated her home, killed her friends, and imprisoned the man she loves. After searching through displaced persons camps and finding nothing, Zofia is sure that her lover is dead. With only her life, a dream, and a terrifying secret, Zofia illegally boards The Exodus, bound for Palestine.

Along with a group of emaciated Jewish survivors, Zofia sets out to find the Promised Land. Despite the renewed sense of hope, Zofia lives in constant fear since the one person who knows her dark secret is a sadistic SS officer with the power to ruin her life and the life of an innocent, Lebensborn child.

When the Nuremburg trials convict the SS Officer of crimes against humanity, Zofia believes she is finally safe and does her best to raise the beautiful girl entrusted to her care. As the child becomes a woman in her own right, can she find true love and belonging in a post-war society, or will the secrets of her heritage tear apart the only family she’s ever known?

ROMANTIC PICKS #BOOKBUBFOLLOW #GIVEAWAY Kerry J Donovan

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In an action-packed tale of secrets and lies in small town America, Chet Walker is a man forced to make decisions that will affect his future and the life of the woman he loves.

Witness to a car crash and in receipt of a cryptic message from a dying man, traveling musician, Chet Walker, reaches the picturesque lakeside town of Lucky Shores. He faces hostility and suspicion from the locals and learns that the information he carries could unlock an eight-year-old mystery—it could also get him killed.
Josephine Dolan, owner of the Lucky Shores diner, wants to bury her past. When Walker arrives with a message from her father, she doesn’t want to hear it. She cuts him cold.
When his life is threatened, Chet Walker learns the truth behind the saying, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

ROMANTIC PICKS #BOOKBUBFOLLOW #GIVEAWAY RP Dahkle

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When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher, who couldn’t possibly see beyond the hood ornament, is found strapped in the driver’s seat.

All too soon, ex-model, aero-ag pilot, Lalla Bains will bounce from number one suspect to confidential informant in a bizarre murder case involving cross-dressers, drug running crop dusters and a crazy Chihuahua

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“Wise-cracking detectives–from the rank amateurs who somehow stumble into the practice of investigating, to the licensed professionals with their fancy gizmos and snazzy Yellow Pages listings–are a dime a dozen in mystery novels… but a wise-cracking, ex-fashion-model, crop-dusting sleuth? That puts a quirky new spin on the genre, in R.P. Dahlke’s peppy debut, A Dead Red Cadillac. A Dead Red Cadillac may be Dahlke’s first published work, but it doesn’t read that way; the author is assured in her storytelling, crafting a witty, breezy, and thoroughly-entertaining lark peppered with interesting characters in a unique setting… and even tossing in some (much-appreciated) surprising twists along the way.”
The Literate Kitty Blog spot 1/21/12

ROMANTIC PICKS #BOOKBUBFOLLOW #GIVEAWAY Donna Fasano

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***USA Today Bestselling Author***

Ex-military man Derrick Richmond is solitary and satisfied…or so he thinks. Then little Timmy is dropped into his lap and Derrick must learn to be somebody’s daddy.

Fate might have denied elementary school teacher Anna Maxwell a family of her own, but she still has plenty of love to give, if only someone will notice.

Anna promises to teach Derrick all he needs to know about kids. Father and son will give Anna some precious memories. Then the schoolteacher and the single dad will go their separate ways. Unless one little boy figures out a way to make Miss Maxwell become his mom!

With themes of military romance, new parents, parenting skills,
family relationships, lovers and friends, infertility, children with
disabilities, grief, and overcoming adversity, The Single Daddy Club: Derrick is a sweet romance that
takes place in Annapolis, Maryland and is the first book of The Single Daddy
Club Series. This contemporary romance is a stand-alone novel in which readers will meet rich, multi-layered characters
from the other books in the series. There is no cliff-hanger ending! The author
promises a happily-ever-after, feel good read that will leave you smiling.

Don’t miss Book 2 and 3 of the series! Jason and Reece are waiting for you.
Review: “Readers who enjoy Debbie Macomber’s writing will feel right at home in a Fasano novel.”  ~Fredlet, an Amazon Kindle Customer