As a new indie, I’m always interested in what’s working for another author. What makes them successful? When Katie released her new book, Cross My Heart, I couldn’t help but notice how well it did right from the start. Sure, she wrote a good book, made sure it was well edited and formatted, gave it an appealing description, and it has a beautiful cover. But, as all indies know, that’s just the beginning. How do you get your name out there? How do people find you? Katie was selling so well that I had to ask her what the secret sauce was.
Michelle was kind enough to invite me to do a guest spot on her blog in hopes that I would share salacious secrets of indie success with you all. The real secret is, though, that there is no secret!
I am a newbie indie author. I released my first YA novel (a paranormal romance) in December as a test to see if it really was possible to “make it” as an unknown indie. Early sales were solid for a first time author in a market inundated with angels, vampires, and werewolves, so, in March, I decided to upload a YA contemporary romance that I adored but had been rejected by 75 agents last year. It was never the writing, or the story. . . . It always seemed to be the “market.”
I released the story mid-March, and sold 161 copies in 17 days. April was kind of insane, even by my standards. I sold 974 copies of CROSS MY HEART between April 1-30.
So what did I do to get this number of sales in thirty days? The simple answer is: I have no idea.
I’m not on Facebook yet, and I don’t “tweet.” This will likely be changing soon, but right now I have just enough time for the day job, writing, and keeping my blog updated. As an indie, though, it’s important to get your name out there. The more people see your name and cover, the more likely they are to remember you.
Every indie author should join the Kindleboards. There’s an option that allows you to add your book link/cover to your signature, which keeps your work visible. Also, the threads are full of helpful information, and “how to promote your novel” is one of those topics that comes up frequently. It’s not a place to drop an occasional “Hey, this is my book. Come check it out,” though. Join the discussion. Be active. Your personality can sell a book as quickly as any link in your signature line.
If you have a blog, a twitter feed, or a Facebook page, make sure you’re updating it regularly. Try to vary your posts so that they aren’t all promotion-related. Call me crazy, but I like knowing what other writers eat for breakfast. Again, let your personality shine.
None of this matters, though, if the “package” isn’t stellar. Remember that, as an indie, you’re competing against thousands of traditionally published titles that benefitted from editing teams and graphic designers. Many books have had entire photo shoots dedicated to them. Your cover has to be as professional as theirs, your summary as enticing.
A good cover will attract readers to the book link to see what it’s about. A good summary will encourage the reader to sample the story. Strong writing will increase the likelihood of purchase. Making it easy for people to find you on the open web and engaging them regularly with your charming personality and dazzling wit will keep them coming back for more.
No secret here. 🙂