for Novel Rocket as a member of Ground Control. I’ve LOVED my year at Novel Rocket,
interviewing people and sharing indie information with readers. But as my own
indie career lifted off (a little rocket humor there), I realized I had to pull
back on blogging and focus on writing/publishing books.
some final indie-oriented questions for this interview. I appreciate his
willingness to do so and will share that with you below.
web, post-Novel Rocket. 🙂
|Author Heather Day Gilbert|
Her debut novel, God’s
remained on the Amazon Norse Bestseller list and Amazon Norse Top-Ranked list
for over one year. Her contemporary mystery, Miranda
Warning, is the
successful start to the Murder in the Mountains series. Her Indie
Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher shares focused advice on four key steps in
the indie publication process. You can find Heather at her website, heatherdaygilbert.com. She is also active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
|Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher on Amazon|
About Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher:
This concise handbook covers the four key elements every self-publisher must oversee for successful book publication: (1) editing, (2) creating cover art and blurbs, (3) formatting and uploading books, and (4) marketing. Focused advice will help you maneuver these key elements, whether you outsource or learn to master them yourself.
You’ll also find a bonus section with practical tips from seasoned independent authors.
Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher is your one-stop for basics on everything you need to get started and excel as an independent publisher.
consider before going indie?
could be a factor, but then again, it is possible to indie publish at a
relatively low cost if you can do things yourself or exchange services. My
debut novel was produced for…I would say under $200. Maybe more like $100.
But I was blessed with a brother who designed my cover and agent edits. Not to
mention a crit partner who helped me upload and showed me how to format.
|My debut novel, God’s Daughter|
thing to consider is the time commitment. You need time to make sure your edits
are in place; time to land on the perfect cover; time to upload your books and
check proof copies of softcovers; and MOST of all, you need to have time to
streamline the process for sure. But for that debut novel, you want to take
time to nail all the four key elements covered in my Indie Publishing Handbook (editing; cover art/blurb;
formatting/uploading; and marketing) as best you can right out of the gate.
hear “You have to write a series!” But I prefer to write stand-alone books.
Will I have trouble being successful as an indie?
ago, I would’ve said yes, series are the only way to go. It’s true, series can
boost sales, especially if you have several books to release in a short period
of time. It’s also true going permafree
(permanently free, as Traci Hilton talked about in this excellent Novel Rocket post) with your first in series can
drive sales to the rest in the series.
find success with standalone books. Sally Bradley’s Kept, for example. What
happens with a standalone is that you don’t limit yourself to one genre, and you’re not releasing only the first in series, which leaves readers hanging on the line waiting
for the next. I should know–I’ve done that twice! I have two starts to vastly different
series out (Viking historical and Contemporary Appalachian mystery). I have
readers waiting for the next books in both, and I probably ticked some off when
I announced I was following up on the mystery series this year and putting off
the Viking sequel until 2016-ish. 😉
recommend doing a series if you have at least two books ready to roll in pretty
short order. However, even if you don’t have two books in the series, sometimes it’s just about stepping into the pool and getting your feet wet. Any book out (whether the start to a series or standalone) is a book in your repertoire, able to garner readers, so just make sure it’s a humdinger!
options are overwhelming and I have so little time.
you, I’ve been marketing my books non-stop for over a year now. I watch the
sales and when the numbers dip, I (obsessively) start casting around for a new
marketing angle, be it a new review site, taking out an ad, running a special
or giveaway, etc. It’s exhausting and I’m officially pulling back on that
every book, every genre. (Click to Tweet!) For me, I was blessed by going with a Christian review site (The Book Club Network).
Although there was expense involved, such as sending out softcovers, it was
well worth it to latch onto new and enthusiastic readers.
techniques was ye olde going free on
Amazon. Many say it’s becoming passe, because people already have too many
free books loaded on their e-readers. However, if you advertise at free book
sites such as ENT (E-Reader
News Today), you can find many new readers and
simultaneously garner a number of reviews.
low reviews from readers who load random e-books without reading blurbs or
sample chapters. It was a risk I was willing to take, but now that I’m about
three books into the process, I’ve decided freebies aren’t going to be part of
my marketing arsenal so often (though I’m not eliminating the possibility of permafree with a first in series). But for the debut author, freebies and
giveaways (such as softcover giveaways on Goodreads or on a blog tour) can be
invaluable and build your readership quickly.
process. I would just recommend not spending big bucks right off the bat, as
you’re building your initial pile of royalties from that debut novel. Then for
your second book, you’ll have more income to play with. Of course, this is
assuming you’re as strapped for cash as I tend to be. LOL.
intent of your book and the reader demographic. For example, with my fiction,
I’d be a fool not to get softcovers, because I do book signings and they demand
it. Also, my local readers tend to read softcovers. Finally, my readers are
ready to purchase softcovers the minute I announce the book has released (I
love this! But I was unprepared for it with my debut. It took me a few weeks to
get my first softcover loaded/proofed and some of the buzz had dropped off by then).
This is because I assumed authors considering indie publishing would have to
have to know how to navigate e-readers anyway! LOL.
my Indie Publishing Handbook to a writer’s
conference, I might try to get a softcover version up for distribution. That’s
what I mean by discerning the intent of your book.
I talked in my Indie Publishing Handbook a
bit about opportunities that came my way based on cover art alone. For your
debut, I’m convinced you want to produce the strongest cover you can afford.
their own covers and they are amazing. Authors like Jan Thompson (Jane Austen Upside Down); Krista Phillips (A Side of Faith); Becky Doughty (Elderberry Croft); and Joanne Bischof (This Quiet Sky), just to name a few. These authors have what I call “the
eye.” It’s a gift for putting together a visually pleasing cover that will
talent. So outsourcing covers is a must for me. This can vary in cost, from
$200-$1000 or even more.
think it helps to have your book completed, so you can identify running themes,
key characters, etc. A good cover artist can ask questions, send you appealing
comps, then design a cover that fits the mood of your book and places it
recognizably in its given genre.
want to read. (Click to Tweet!) And yet it’s always great to get outside input on your cover,
whether it’s from your crit partner, your Facebook followers, or an objective
can change covers if they feel their cover isn’t working for some reason or
another. For instance, I recently re-did this original Miranda Warning cover:
|Original Miranda Warning cover|
cover, above. But because it was the first in series with the same main
character throughout, it was going to be difficult to replicate covers with the
same model. I needed to go in a different direction, and my brother didn’t have
time to do a re-do. So I hired a cover designer to come up with a more
nature-oriented cover template for the entire Murder in the Mountains series.
|Final Miranda Warning cover, now on Amazon|
just want to say another huge thanks to the Novel Rocket crew for letting me
jump on board for a year. I’ve followed this site since I started writing and I
will continue following it for relevant info on all kinds of writerly subjects.
A special thanks to Gina Holmes and Ane Mulligan for helping me any time I
needed advice on a post!
Rockettes? Rock on! 🙂