On the madness of indie publishing [guest post]

I’m a part of a few writing groups, online and in person. Recently, a few writers have been feeling the overwhelm of indie publishing – there is just so much to do! Many writers start out thinking that, one day, they’ll be able to ‘just write all day’ (and I’ve been asked if that’s what I do from some non-writers) and when they realise that they need to wear more than just the writer hat, overwhelm naturally sets in.

The bottom line, though, is that it’s a fantastic time to be a writer. There are so many more opportunities to share our stories with the world than there ever was before,.

Today, YA author Shane A. Mason is here to give you a little glimpse into his madness.

My email inbox is filled daily with “experts’ clamouring for my attention and it is never ending – like a rushing tide that keeps on coming. Well, at least if feels that way. It’s probably not. You see I am one of the new wave of independently published authors set adrift in a landscape that has not yet been defined exactly what the playing field is I am scarpering across.

The dream, as with most writers, is to pen out a deeply satisfying story for the reader, one that lives on with them long after the book has been put down.

It’s not too much ask? Right? With the eBook revolution it is now possible to reach millions of readers. So I am told in the hundreds of emails that flood my inbox. It is possible and doable and those that are doing it have been doing it longer than myself, but the pace is frenetic and the market moving at dead neck speed. This makes my world as tumultuously exciting as a speeding dreadnought with no brakes.

My titles must be SEO’ed as well as having eye-catching covers (books are judged by covers despite what the old adage says), plus I need reviews on Amazon, but I cannot get reviews unless I get sales. When little logic loops like this are encountered a feel a panicked-excitement rising. But it is okay. It is just a steep learning curve.

But I can send them to reviewers, so that should be simple. I just look up the reviewers and email the book away. A day is spent reading how to do this, the formats they like, what they will read and what they won’t read. I come across an “expert” who assures me that if I sign up to his email list they will show me how to drive a wedge into the consciousness of the reviewer and stand out from all the hundreds and thousands of authors doing the same. Excited panic rises higher. So many authors. But that’s okay none of them are me, nor see the world as I do. The curve feels a little steeper and I learn some more.

There is relief as I come across a blog post that assures me the trick is to keep on writing. They share their success story of how Social Media launched their meteorical writing career (even though they are only 18) and how they struggled as a writer.

Hope? Maybe? I enter the world of Social Media and within weeks what was a sea is a deluge.Twitter, Pinterest, Wattpad, Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Tumbler swirl through my dreams as I start filling them up with content and waiting for followers – waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting.

Why did I choose this career again?

Oh right – those stories. Not a career, but a calling. I count how many want to be told. 30 started, 2 finished, and many more in shards and one sentence scribbles.

Another expert emails me and states that social media will not make me famous. They paint a grim picture of the various experiments they have done, money spend and how nothing of theirs moved. But of course they have a solution – and it will cost. They are correct though – social media alone will not make anyone famous. It’s only part of formula. I learn some more.

I have to build email lists I am told. More people ask for money claiming they can help extend my email list from its present 5 (yes folks read and be amazed) 5 to 10,000 in a short period of time. They offer free teasers, and I down load another PDF to add to a file already stuffed with free PDF’s large on graphics and short on content. Maybe they work? But which one?  So many experts.

I dive deeper and the information piles higher and deeper. I need a website, and it needs their ten attributes. No. Actually 16 attributes, or is it what a different expert is saying, or another who says his form of webpage structure guarantees fame, and has a picture of real estate agent and a preacher who used it and are now famous – but I have never head of them.

So I build a website but have I done it right? Is there a right way to build a website?

My learning on this curve fuels my excited panic. So much to do all at once, and the list goes on.

I need also:

  • Virtual assistants
  • Calls to action
  • Automated book marketing
  • To register for all free online seminars
  • A list of books to buy and read
  • Decide on which platform to sell on
  • Understand what a pre-release is
  • Audio books
  • Booktracks
  • A better back blurb
  • Bookbub

How to make sense of all this drowning madness? What is the key to success in the field of Indie publishing? After opening the front door of my emails and social media to the world, and after the flood of information, I believe I have found the one sane constant that like a match in the darkness will lead me through it.

I turn to a famous quote from Peter Jackson I am going to paraphrase from his books. “People ask me all the time what  the secret of my success is, and I tell them as I have always told them, I just make the movies that I want to watch.”

That’s it. I write books that I love to read.

I love reading books that have layers of mystery and intrigue in them; books that seem about one thing but are about the undercurrent when it surfaces; books with characters fatally flawed who make life changing mistakes; books where key characters die and you feel the sense of loss; stories that stretch the believable and make suspending disbelief easy; and books that live on long after they have been shut.

I am writing to give myself an experience that the reader will find memorable. I know they will – when I finally get my marketing honed. How do I know it? As part of the human race, as part-partner in this vast collective consciousness that Carl Jung wrote about, the stories in my head are not from me but from reflections and snippets of the lives of those around me.

A famous marketing person once said, “I before E always. Infrastructure before E-commerce always.” What’s my main job? Writing. What should take up 50-70% of my time? Writing. What’s my infrastructure? Writing.

The key then; the one that makes all this madness make sense is to keep on writing and writing and writing and writing…………and slowly piece by piece as if constructing a beautiful edifice, cement in around it the marketing.

unnamed (1)About the Author

Shane A. Mason writes young adult and adult fiction and currently has two published young adult novels available on Amazon in the “Omega Children” series. He resides in Auckland, New Zealand where he spends his time writing, reading, daydreaming and searching the vastness of the internet researching marketing.

www.shaneamason.com

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4 Responses to “On the madness of indie publishing [guest post]

  • awesome, Shane! Youve nailed it! that’s what being an Indie is. No wonder im tired. 🙂

    • Z.R. Southcombe
      2 years ago

      Uh, tell me about it! There’s a reason caffeinated beverages are associated with writers (and other beverages… but we won’t get into that here lol)

  • Thank you, Shane. You just summed up the last 8 years of our lives. Indie in the US and loving it!

    • Z.R. Southcombe
      2 years ago

      Cheers, for stopping by, Daniel. As I type, I am writing up a post on craft markets & events in which I will link to your fantastic webinar. Much appreciation to you and Darlene 🙂

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