Motivation for the Holidays - Indie Pub It
It’s very easy to get discouraged at the moment. Doom-criers and highly professional writers alike all seem to be despairing over sales slumps that have resulted because of shifts in the indie publishing industry.
Some of the shifts are cyclical. Summer tends to be slow for indie titles (unlike mass market paperbacks, that spike), and it can take all the way until the Christmas boom to see sales pick up.
Plus, the indie publishing industry is maturing and settling down. Where promo hacks such as dropping prices down into the basement, or even free, once were enough to push a book onto a best seller list, these days with the flood of titles and the fact that readers are getting used to buying indie titles, once-novel promotion ideas are losing their effectiveness.
There have also been distribution shifts. The major one that most indies are pointing at is Amazon’s introduction of the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program, which seems to be eroding “normal” sales.
There are constant discussions on writer boards about looking for day jobs, and more. This Christmas season (that we’re now right in the middle of) will be a breaking point for many authors. The success of their Christmas promotions and efforts will help them make decisions about their writing business for the next few years.
It’s possible that you’re in this position, where your sales have slumped for various reasons and you’re doing some serious weighing-up. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you watch the Christmas buying frenzy and monitor your sales figures.
Things always change
The only thing that stays the same is change. Things always change. Things changed when Amazon introduced the Kindle in 2007 and started the whole indie publishing industry. Things changed when the Internet really got going and it became possible to sell ebooks on-line. Things changed when Guttenberg invented his moveable type press.
There will always be change. Sometimes what changes doesn’t do you any favours, but things will change again. Just wait and see. The key here is 1) wait. And 2) watch. It’s always a good idea to stay on top of industry shifts and developments, which can help you anticipate how change will affect you and help you decide how to deal with it.
Maintain a positive attitude, which will help you spot opportunities when they whizz by.
A Sale Is A Sale Is A Sale
A lot of writers are despondent because the Amazon KU program is eating into their normal sales. What they’re failing to notice is that borrows are up. Way up. KU makes it possible for readers to try a new author with absolutely no risk to the reader. And they’re borrowing at a fantastic rate.
Amazon pays for every borrow, so you can legitimately think of it as a sale, even if you’re not earning the same amount of revenue as you would with a normal sale. What you are earning is an opportunity to convert a brand new reader to your books, an opportunity you may not have got without KU.
As the KU program spreads, you will have more opportunity to reach even more new readers. That KU and Select income creeps up if enough readers find your books.
A sale is a sale, no matter what form it takes. You’re reaching another reader. Celebrate.
The Control Is Yours, Including the Ability to Shift Gears on A Dime
We indie authors have benefited from full control over our product and our careers. We still do. That means that if what you’ve been doing for the last year isn’t working now, you have the ability to re-strategize and re-engineer your whole career and sales approach. From the ground up, if necessary. (Remember, change is constant.)
Sales slumping? Try increasing your prices. Or dropping them. Or completing more series. Or releasing faster. Or changing your covers. Try different promotion ideas and track your results. Repeat what works. Try writing a different genre. Or write novella series instead of full novels. Or serials. Or short stories.
Change distributors. Add distributors. Add foreign language editions. Add audio.
Through it all, keep your readers in the loop via your blog and your newsletter. Make sure you minimize the shock of change for them, even while you’re sleepless with stress throughout the transition.
Quality Product will Always be in Demand
The one inarguable fact about any style of publishing, including legacy, is that the quality of the story will speak for—and sell—itself. Aim, always, to entertain your readers by delivering a story that is well-told and that moves them emotionally. If your writing skills are weak in any area (and we all have one or two weaknesses), then put yourself through a program of education, practice and improvement. Consult the masters and round out your story-telling and writing skills.
Also increase your efforts to create a quality book product. Fuss over the covers and the packaging. Really hone your brand so that readers remember you once they’ve discovered you, and then come back for more once they’ve read you. It’s the ultimate comeback for any change the industry might throw at you.
Above all, take care of yourself. Treat yourself well, maintain as healthy a lifestyle as you can, and do everything you can to limit the stress you experience over the vagaries of being a writer in this modern age. Over the holiday season, try to get in some quality family time and relaxation. The books will still be there in the New Year.
Have a wonderful holiday season.
Columnist: Tracy Cooper-Posey writes vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She published 35 titles via legacy publishers before switching to indie publishing in March 2011. She has published over 45 indie titles to date, including her latest fantasy romance, The Branded Rose Prophecy. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.