Going Indie

Friday Jenny talked about her writing path changing, going another direction. Today I’m going to talk about my publishing taking a different direction.

This past Spring a publishing company expressed interest in helping me hybrid publish my YA contemporary novel, Knee High Lies. Due to some unforeseen issues, they have had to back out of finishing the project. So, I’m going Indie.

That means that I’m finalizing the edits on my own, not an impossible hurdle as my editor Sarah, along with her line editor Josh, did an amazing job. I owe them a huge thank you for helping polish my story and bringing it to a level above what I could have ever done. Thank you to Ben Wolf who is helping to make this transition as easy as possible.

linda-fulkerson-300x300The next real hurdle is finding a cover image that will work. I have enlisted the help of Linda Fulkerson and her company DLF Digital Services to help with the cover and formatting my book for publication. I know she’ll do an amazing job, IF I can ever settle on an image.

Which brings me to what I’m doing now. I have searched pages and pages of images on the stock photo site but so far have not come up with an image that completely fits what I have in mind, though there are several that might work. So, I’ve asked a photographer friend to help me bring the image in my mind into reality. I have a model, now I have to find a place and create a summer scene in these winter months. Ha! I might need a miracle.

I’ll be putting together a street team soon and navigating my way through marketing the book. street-teamThis is as exciting as it is terrifying for me to undertake. But, I’ve had some great examples that have gone before me. With the help of friends I know I will succeed in getting my book published by the summer of 2017.

I’ll begin documenting my journey, do a cover reveal when we finally have an image, and share dates when they become available on my personal website at dawnfordauthor.com. So far I haven’t had much to share. I’m looking forward to actually having something noteworthy to talk about.

Prayers are coveted. May God bless this journey.

Welcome, Helen Gray!

I’d like to welcome my writing friend and colleague, Helen Gray, to our blog today. Helen is a traditionally and indie published author. Her books are available on Amazon.com and many other online retailers. Without further ado, here’s Helen!

What are the pros and cons of indie publishing?

Helen: Let’s talk about the pros first. The biggest one for me is that I can set my own deadlines; work at whatever pace fits my needs and abilities. More pros are that I have total control and keep all my rights. The royalties are higher, and I can set my own prices and track my sales. My books don’t go out of print, and I can acquire print copies as needed. Overall, indie publishing is a challenge, but there is a sense achievement in being able to get my books out there by myself.

Now the cons. The biggest one for me is promotion/marketing. It’s all up to me, and I stink at it! And I’d rather be writing more books. Other cons are: limited distribution, up-front costs, no advances, stiff competition, and a lingering stigma about self-publishing even though indies have gained a lot of ground in recent years. Finally, you have to do it all, leaving you with less time for writing.

 

Helen_PrairieBride300dpi360x576What inspired you to write these stories?

Helen: My ‘inspiration’ for this series was part inspiration and part expediency. When I turned in the final edits for the third of my Heartsong trilogy, I asked my editor where I should focus my efforts at that point. She said she needed historicals more than contemporaries and asked if I had any ideas for more historicals. Every year at ACFW Conference I hear editors say, when asked by authors what they’re looking for, that cowboy/prairie stories continue to sell well. I had an 87K western on my hard drive that I had written a long time ago, so I proposed cutting it to Heartsong length and writing a second book to follow it–and was given the go-ahead. I turned in the proposal shortly before the line was cancelled.

 

What are your publishing plans going forward?

Helen: I’ll continue to pursue the hybrid route. I had two series with my editor when the Heartsong line closed, the western duo that I’ve recently released and a contemporary series that I’m preparing for indie publication soon. I also have work under consideration with a traditional publisher. And I’m working on another historical trilogy that I’ll decide what to do with after I see how I do with the current projects.Gray ProfilePic

 

Helen Brown grew up in a small Missouri town and changed colors when she married her pastor and became Helen Gray. They have three grown children, a daughter and two sons. Now retired, with the children grown and gone from the nest, she and her supportive husband still live in their native Missouri Ozarks. He likes to roam the woods, hunt and fish. She enjoys gospel, sacred, and concert band music and is a member of ACFW. Her idea of sheer luxury is to curl up with a good book and a nice cold Coke. She thanks God for the time and opportunity to spin Christian romance and mystery stories, and considers it an added blessing if they should touch others in even a small way.

Thank you, Helen for being my blog guest today!

 

 

Anyone who leaves a message will be entered in the book giveaway of my April release, Reclaiming the Cowboy’s Heart.

 

 

 

Traditional vs. Indie Publishing

I never planned to go indie. Nope. It was always my goal to be published via the traditional route, to find that publisher who loved my books and wanted to share them with the world. A little over a year ago, that dream came true when I signed a contract for my four-book series with a small press. Then in April of 2014, my very first novel (Chain of Mercy) was released to the public. I was Snoopy dancing then.

But that dance came to a quick end as my publisher struggled, and come October of 2014, they gave me an out. I could stick with them for the remaining books in the series, knowing they couldn’t promise firm release dates, or I could self-publish, aka go indie.

So, gritting my teeth, I learned the indie ropes very quickly. And I’ve learned there are a lot of benefits and a lot of drawbacks with indie publishing.

Downside

  • The indie author is responsible for everything: cover design, interior, editing, proofreading, marketing, etc.
  • All that costs money! For Pieces of Granite, I paid for edits, and my former publisher provided the cover gratis (for which I was very thankful!) Then there are ARCs that need to go to influencers, and book giveaways, and buying inventory, and well, you get the idea.
  • Difficult to get into brick and mortar stores – I know indies who’ve done it, but it’s not easy.
  • Poor public perception – In general, the indie author does not have the respect of the buying public. Much of that reputation is earned as there are far to many sub par books out there
  • Poorer public visibility – it takes a lot more work to get your book in front of readers’ eyes
  • The author has much less time to create

Upside

  • You, as the author, have complete control. I’ve always been an do-it-myselfer, so having control over every aspect of the publishing process is usually fun.
  • Your books can come out much faster. In the traditional world, my series would likely have released over four years, and momentum can be lost. I’m releasing all four books within a year and a half.
  • You keep a greater percentage of sales. Royalties are paid directly to you.
  • More certainty – The publishing world is in great flux right now. Bookstores are closing across the nation, others are filing bankruptcy. Publishing houses are closing down or narrowing their fiction lines, which were already very narrow.
  • Indie authors stick together – I’ve joined several indie groups on Facebook, all which offer a wealth of information. Indie authors are more than happy to pass along their knowledge.
  • It’s easy – well, maybe not easy, but the tools provided by do-it-yourself platforms, take much of the worry out of getting your books out there.
  • Gaining Credibility – Slowly, indie authors are gaining credibility, but only those who take the time to put out an A+ product. Usually that means your book is professionally edited and designed after the your book is at the best after you’ve written the best story you can write, and that likely means many pairs of eyes have seen it before the editor.

And there are many more pros and cons, these are the ones that stick out to me at this moment. Each author you talk with will likely give you a different list.

Now, once my entire series is released, will I stay independent with my next series? Well, that remains to be seen. It’ll depend on a few things, mostly on how well this series does once all four books are released, how well the traditional publishing industry is faring at that time, and lots and lots of prayer.

Would you ever consider becoming an independent author? Why or why not?

Indie Excellence

*** Last Day to Enter Book Giveaway ***
See rules below

With this new climate in publishing, I’m amazed at the proliferation of indie authors and hybrid authors doing well in the marketplace.

A couple of authors in particular have caught my eye, and their books are on my must-read list. In my opinion, these are two authors to watch.

Kept by Sally BradleyKEPT by Sally Bradley is a 2-time Genesis finalist. The gritty story line is exactly the type I salivate to read, and I can’t wait till my book arrives in the mail!

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her–all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion.Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her–a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.

Miranda WarningHeather Day Gilbert has released a couple of books, books that show her diversity. Her first release, God’s Daughter, is about Vikings (and no, not my Minnesota Vikings), and her second, MIRANDA WARNING is a combo women’s fiction / suspense.

Miranda Warning sounds like it’s right up my reading alley.

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

The Brickmaker's Bride*** Book Giveaway ***

Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing to receive one of the two copies of Judith Miller’s The Brickmaker’s Bride. Every time you leave a comment on the Inkspirational Messages posts dated September 29, 2014 to October 10, 2014, you will be entered.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org on
Fri., Oct. 10 at midnight, central time zone.