Thursday 16 October 2014

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Giveaways, Events, Oh My!

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Giveaways, Events, Oh My!

When I talked about making connections (piece found here), I mentioned giveaways and events that would help you get noticed in the indie world. One of the things I have learnt both as a writer and a spoonie, is that sometimes you have to say no (a piece about this found here) because you can't afford to stretch yourself too thin (piece found here). However, if you want to get noticed when you're a new name in the sea of thousands on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads, you'll need to make sure that you say yes to as many of these types of events as you can possibly manage. 

It's said that to make money, you have to spend money, and along with events come giveaways. It may seem like a weird idea to be offering up free copies of your book to winners when you're trying to get people to buy them, but the fact of the matter is, if they like what they read and leave a review, then that can lead to other readers taking a chance on a new writer. You don't have to be new to the scene to want or need to take part in these kinds of things because it can help you at ANY stage of your career. Whether you've written a series and wanted to entice new readers by doing a giveaway or taking part in an event and offering up the first book as a prized, doing events with a number of other authors, indie or otherwise, can help you get the news out about your upcoming release. They are a great opportunity to make friends, connections and encourage new readers.

The other good thing about events that bring a whole group of authors together is that you may find that the next time they're looking for someone to donate or join them in an event, you come to mind because of your previous connection. Connections are a good thing, and I've talked about them before, but along with being fellow authors, you're around people who may be interested in reading your work and then recommending you to their own followers.

In the past three months, I have been asked to take part in three separate events, with a fourth coming in a few weeks. These help me to connect with other writers, and also to promote myself and my newest releases. If you can learn to work the events to your advantage, they can result in sales, good friends and reviews. Reviews will enable you to sell your image to other readers without it costing you anything.

You don't even need to put on an event to do a giveaway, you can do flash giveaways on your page that will result in sending out a swag pack to a chosen winner. You'd be surprised how many people are happy to receive things such as signed bookmarks, key-rings and other little prizes that will promote your work. You can also do a giveaway in conjunction with a smaller group of authors. Rafflecoptor is a great resource as it will list all the prizes, log every entry and even choose your winner for you so that there are no chances of judge favouritism. These can be to celebrate a new release or even a milestone number of followers on your blog or Facebook.

Overall, with good connections and taking part in both events and giveaways, these can lead to sales, your name being noticed and reviews of your work that will promote you to other people of your chosen target age. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Choosing To Go The Indie Route - The After Process

Choosing To Go The Indie Route

When you've gone through all the creative parts and emerged on the other side, having edited your manuscript until you can't bear to look at it again, you have another choice. You have to decide whether you're going to go the traditionally published route, or down the indie/self-publishing route. Although I have experience with both, the majority of my time as a published author has been as an indie author so I'm going to focus on that.

I did a piece a year ago about publishing your work (found here) and while it is a great piece, it does only focus upon where you need to start. This piece will be about whether or not the indie route is the one for you. I can only talk from my experience, but I hope it will be of some use to someone else who is thinking about starting their own journey in the published world.

As I'm sure many of you are aware, I have been writing pieces for over a year now, all of which can be found on my blog. I have done a whole section simply on the creative process, as well as a smaller section on the after process (which is where this piece will fit!) I have also recently begun to do several other types of pieces, focusing upon the trials of life as a crime writer, an indie author and a spoonie - someone with a chronic illness who identifies with The Spoon Theory. I am telling you this not to wow you with my dedication to my blog, but to also point out something that has heavily influenced my own decision to stay as an indie author.

When I was retired from my "working life" at nineteen and realised that this really was my retirement, I made the choice to write books. It was something I had always planned to do, but never had the time for and with the flexibility of working when I was able, writing opened a lot of doors to me that I thought had previously been shut. So, when my traditional publishing contract fell through, it was a few years before I realised that going Indie would be the best answer to continuing my career.

When I say that I didn't start writing to become rich, it's mostly true. I never planned on making my millions, though it would be nice. For me, it was more about being able to let free all of these bottled up stories I had to tell. It was an outlet for me, just as writing these pieces are. It wasn't until 2011 that I finally felt able to launch the Bug Books label and control my own future as it were. Part of the reason I lost my other contract was because I was having so many bad days I couldn't meet deadlines. As an indie author, I was able to work around that because I was, after all, my own boss.

However, being an indie author is not for everyone. As I've said in several pieces (found here, here & here), there are many things that are expected of an author - indie or otherwise, and when you don't have whole departments to manage all of that for you, it's a lot of hard work. To me, it was worth it and I've made do with what I have. There'll be some days when I don't get anything done, others where I'll be awake at the wee hours sending out emails and answering posts and writing pieces just like this one. There are also the hospital stays where I have to hand the controls of my Facebook page over to either my editor or my cover designer and hope that everyone copes without me for a while.

If, like me, you think the indie route is the best one for you, then you should go down it. Research all the ways to bring out your work without the middle men. Make sure you know what YOU want to achieve from your work. It takes a lot of giveaways, making connections, swapping reviews and sending out ARC copies to get yourself noticed and it can be really daunting at first, but when you manage it, and you will, you'll find yourself on an even keel and forget that you almost drowned in your first few days in the deep end.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.