49 days—It’s hard to believe how much my life has changed since my book, The Crown for Castlewood Manor, was first made available on Amazon. I still remember the night it went live (February 12th), when I first started getting messages from my family and friends that they had found my book on Amazon. I wasn’t quite prepared—I had just approved the uploading of the book earlier that afternoon, and had received a message that it may take up to 72 hours for the book to be available. I was over at my neighbor’s house when the first texts starting coming in, and all I can say is that there were lots of laughs and hugs that night 🙂
What I’ve Done Well (or so I think…but that’s OK)
I made the decision for now, to go the indie, self publish route. When I started my first book in 2016, I knew I was going to write a series, and that I wanted it available as an ebook and paperback. In terms of my target market, I know the kind of books I like to read and in what form, and I set out to create a series that would appeal not only to me, but the audience of readers with similar interests as my own. For genre, I wanted to launch a cozy British mystery series of stories, built around a few main characters, that would grow and evolve as the series matured. I had the outline of the series drawn up, developed the storyline to a point that I knew where each of the books would begin and end (this shifts a bit I’ve learned), and I began writing, and finishing, the first 2 books in the My American Almost Royal Cousin Series, pretty much back to back. The Crown for Castlewood Manor was available February 12th, and Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor, was available March 22 as an ebook, and March 27th as paperback.
I decided to work with CreateSpace in 2017, and took advantage of their editing, marketing essentials, book cover and KDP services (which as of April 20th, will no longer exist unfortunately). I was very pleased going this route, the project team I worked with at CreateSpace were extremely helpful and quick to respond. Once the cover and manuscript editing and proofing were completed, BISACs and Keywords selected, and ISBN assigned, the CreateSpace team took care of uploading the books on Amazon, and poof, there I was! Or was I???
What needs further improvement (and yes, I know there is quite a bit of work to be done…but that’s OK)
As I’ve now learned, I kind of did things a bit backward, mybad. I had no social media presence–no Twitter–no Facebook–no Instagram. I had not marketed nor branded myself as an author, nor did I have a website or blog. I’m a fairly new member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), and am looking to participate in other writer’s organizations. I know the uphill battle I face in this big writer’s world, not only as an indie, self published writer, but also a writer marketing and social media neophyte. I’m OK with this however. I started writing because I was going to fulfill a life long dream, and I enjoy the process immensely—one day at a time. I’ll end up where I end up, and that’s OK 🙂
In the past 49 days I have become active in the Twitterverse, Instagram, and Facebook worlds, navigating and learning, and taking advantage of the awesome wisdom and resources available (really, I am amazed). I have also started this blog, working with the great folks at WordPress. I’ve secured my domain name for my future website. I selected the expanded distribution services of CreateSpace, and my first book is now also available at Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and others via the CreateSpace distribution channels. I’m evaluating marketing services to promote my books. I’m working in my local community to do some promotional events, and I’m excited to say I’ve been asked to participate in the SinC booth for the LA Times Festival of Books at USC, April 21st, for a book signing.
If you’re choosing to write books as a paid career, I would encourage you to probably not follow my path in the marketing/branding/social media sense. I’m not saying that you should not write until these things are done, but just make sure you work on them in parallel at a minimum. It’s never too early to start this investment in yourself—kind of like a career 401K. If you do not do this for yourself, no one else will
One of the advantages of being a newbie in the writer world is that I’m quite immune to the emotions I see in the online discussions regarding the merits of self vs. traditional publishing, ebooks versus paperback, etc. I don’t know what’s looked down on or frowned upon by my writer or publishing colleagues, and that’s probably a good thing. I am making a concerted effort to learn the options with a fresh view, see the new directions and processes being taken, and network with groups I think are doing things the way I’d like to go in the future. Open options are a good thing for me right now. This industry is changing, that I do know, and I’m glad to be a part of it, free to go the path that works best for me.
I want to say thank you, to the readers of my books and blog, and the new friends and colleagues I hope to work with in the coming years. I’ve started my 3rd book of the series, so there will be more of Gemma and her family and friends in the future. I’ll keep the updates coming, and would love to interact with you—so please, send in your comments, suggestions, and questions! Gemma would approve 🙂
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. Today’s featured picture is yours truly—it kind of looks like I have a secret… I’ll never tell, I’m a mystery writer 🙂