Happy New Year

by Ashlynmathews on January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Where did 2014 go? First off, I want to thank everyone for reading my posts. When I started my website in April 2012, my intent was to share my writing journey. I didn’t realize my publication journey would start soon after. In May 2012 I was contacted by a small press publisher and offered a contract for Shadow Watcher (re-released Indie as UnMarked). Since the initial offer, I’ve learned so much about traditional and Indie publishing. For a while, I was a hybrid author with two books published by a traditional publisher, and one book (If Only), self-published. 2012 was a busy year.

2013 was the year I took off and basically disappeared off social media. Many of you know why. If not, my archived blog posts will give you a clear idea. Early 2014, I waited patiently for reverted rights to my books, Shadow Watcher (UnMarked) and My Fallen (Never Forget Always Remember). When I received the rights back, I Indie-published the books with new covers and titles. I also released a prequel novella and the second and third book in my Extinction Series, Near Perfect (a contemporary romance novella), and What If, my second novella in the Willowbrook Series.

2014 was a good year, a busy year, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Here’s a recap of what I learned.

1. If you have the time and inclination, learn to format and upload your own ebooks and print books. It gets easier each time. I love the flexibility to change my back matter whenever I have a new release. More on the advantage of this below.

2. Make a book free if:  a. The book is the first in a series or in the same subgenre as your other books. When I made If Only free, I saw upticks of sales in the second book, What If, and in my other contemporary/new adult romance, Near Perfect. Wish I would’ve known this when I was very green and made If Only free in November 2012 and got more than 12k downloads. Or when I made Never Forget Always Remember (NFAR) free but didn’t have a second book available :(. I did see an uptick in the sale of Protector, also a paranormal romance. However, two different series and the other book, UnMarked, didn’t see a move in sales. See 2b below for my possible reason.

2b. As an Indie author, I love being able to assess what works and doesn’t work. I made Protector free thinking I’d see an uptick in sales of the full length book, UnMarked. When I didn’t, I had to analyze why UnMarked wasn’t selling. After reading Protector again, I realized one particular chapter was very confusing. The intent of the characters weren’t clear. Actually, the whole scene didn’t make sense. Let’s just say I’ve revised the chapter and it reads clearer. Yes, the novella was edited. But with what I’d given my editor, I can say the blame is all mine. Without a middleman (a publisher) in between me and the story that’s out there, I pulled Protector off sale. It’ll be up again once I get the new cover from my cover designer. I also analyzed the covers and blurbs for UnMarked, and the newest release, Luminescence. I’ve since changed the blurbs and am in the process of rebranding the covers. Have I seen an uptick in sales since? I can say, “yes,” I’ve seen an increase in sales since I’ve changed the blurbs. That is the flexibility and control of being Indie published.

As a “thank you” to my readers, I’ll be making Protector free on Amazon, B&N, Apple and the other retailers when it’s released. My choice, without needing a middleman’s authorization. Which brings me to why I’ll continue to Indie publish.

3. After looking at my 2014 writing expenses compared to my writing income, the idea of submitting to traditional publishers looked REALLY GOOD! A publisher would pick up the tab on editing (at all its stages, the biggest chunk out of an Indie’s pocket), covers, formatting, distribution and promotion. However, after looking at my small business with a long term mindset, I realized I like working for myself too much to give up the control to someone else. So what does this mean for me in 2015? I’ll be updating the back matters of my current books whenever I have a new release—easy and free promotion for my backlist, and why knowing how to format and upload a book is advantageous. I also might have to put out fewer books while giving my backlist books more exposure. Which means I’ll be doing more of #4.

4. First, what I won’t be doing is giving away swags (bookmarks, magnets, pens, even autographed print books). I haven’t seen much return in terms of upticks in sales. I won’t be doing print giveaways on Goodreads. Sure the books might be in hundreds of readers’ bookshelves, but haven’t seen an uptick in sales. I won’t promote on Storyfinds or Riffle. Nor will I pay Facebook to boost a post on book sales or giveaways. Big waste of money for me. Now, other authors might’ve had better luck. And I’m not bashing the businesses. Their services just didn’t work for ME. What I would do again is the self-serve ads on Goodreads, promoting sales and new releases on Facebook group pages, requests reviews from bloggers, do a review tour (keep costs low), and advertise again with BTS emagazine.

If you plan on sticking with me for 2015, continue to look forward to blog posts on writing, Indie publishing, and my current and future books. For 2015, I plan to blog more consistently. Next week, I’ll blog about current trends (think boxsets and serials) and why I won’t necessarily follow them. Soon, I hope to share with you my funny and sometimes frustrating experience with rebranding my covers.

I’m so happy to have you all in 2014 and cheers to a new year, 2015!

Quote of the week: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Ernest Hemingway

Song on replay: Believe ~ Skillet

 

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda January 1, 2015 at 5:02 pm

As Indies the only way we can survive is to learn, grow, and adapt. Sounds like you’ve done all that and more. I am so happy to see you seeing a measure of success, as well as a well deserved peace. I can’t wait to see what you do in 2015. Girl, we’re gonna move some MOUNTAINS!

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Ashlynmathews January 1, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Thank you, Brenda! Much success to you too in 2015! Hugs to you!

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