This post goes out to all the other Indie Authors who may read this 🙂
The year is nearly over and we are now turning our attentions to 2013 and what it might bring. Almost every author I know (online obviously) would love to be standing here in a year’s time, able to tell everyone they are a #1 bestselling author who has quit the day job and now writes full time. I do too!
Great, but how do you achieve that? If there has been a theme on the forums in the latter half of this year it is one of that things are getting harder (not that they were ever easy to begin with) to get noticed as an Indie. Running a 5 day promo on Amazon doesn’t reward an author the way it did earlier on in the year. Many now find themselves surprised to find that they didn’t give away as many copies as they hoped for, and the subsequent sales bump was negligible if anything at all. “What now?” they all cry. What now indeed.
Next year probably won’t get any better in terms of KDP Select success. Sure, there will be a handful that release a book and see it rocket up the charts without any kind of marketing to epic success, but 90% of Indies will see nothing more than a small handful of sales each month. Why? Because 90% of them will either do nothing to promote their work, or if they do, it will be exactly the same as everyone else. They will use Facebook, Twitter, their blog, forums etc, run the occasional free promo and that will be it.
Now, I realise that I am pretty new to all this Indie publishing malarkey, but in the last three months I can tell you I have learned a hell of a lot. I have asked questions and listened to those who have been around the block a few times, I have found patterns in what newbies do (myself included) and see why they aren’t getting anywhere. I believe I know why the majority aren’t doing as well as they could do. There is no planning.
Ask an author what they are doing right now to promote their book(s) and they will tell you much of the above. Ask them what they plan to do come January. What are they hoping to do at Easter? Most will likely say they don’t know. Some will say they expect to have a new title out and hope that will help boost sales of the other(s). Great. What else are you doing?
Now, assuming you are one of those Indies that wants to sell as many copies as possible, become the next name in fiction and be successful (some are just content to know that their novel is “out there” and don’t care if they only sell one copy a year) take note of this statement.
An Indie Author should see themselves as a small business.
A small business exists to make money and hopefully become a bigger business. A small business has a product or a service to offer. An Indie Author has a product to offer. They wish to sell said product for a profit. Author = small business. Got that? Good!
Now, any small business (actually, ANY business) needs a business plan. You have your idea/product/service and you go to your bank and tell them you want to start your own business and want some cash to start it up, they will want to see your plan. They will want to know things like, who is your target market? Who are your competitors? Where will you sell your product, etc etc. Where do you want your business to be in a year’s time. What is your profit/loss forecast for the next 3-5 years?
So with that in mind, what are you doing in 2013 to get yourself noticed as an Indie Author? How does that differ from everyone else? Taking the overnight successes out of the equation (the equivalent of those who win the lottery), the big success stories of next year will be those who have planned ahead, thought things through and busted a gut to get there. Sure, a little bit of luck is needed, and even a shed load of those who plan everything down to the smallest detail will still fail to sell more than a handful a month. But at least they tried.
I am an Indie author. I am a small business. I have a business plan for 2013 and 2014. Of course I am not going to reveal too much about it here. I will say that I have 1 book out before the year is out. I have 4 planned for 2013. I have something else planned for 2014, something special. Most of this revolves around my new IP. I know where I want to be at Easter, by the end of Summer. I know what I will be doing next Christmas. One thing I will say is that I am not relying on Amazon and their KDP Select programme. Uprising won’t even be enrolled in Select.
I may fail, I may get nowhere. But I will die trying.
Do you know what you are doing next year?