My indies are mostly New Adult and women’s romance. While they all check the box on having romance, they’re also clean or what we call “sweet.” My latest, Just One Summer, is a novella collaboration with three other authors. It’s a New Adult book that contains four novellas. Four best friends have spent every summer together since they were young, but this summer, they all go their separate ways, finding adventure, and of course, romance.
The usual spots: Amazon, iBooks, Nook, GooglePlay, my mom’s web-based business called “Please Buy My Daughter’s Books So I Can Take a Cut and Retire in Tahiti.”
I was first published in 2006, so I’m rounding the ten year mark soon. I was about to hit a significant birthday milestone back in the ancient years of 2005 (and by ancient, I mean none of us had smart phones), and I realized I had done nothing but WISH I was a published writer. And wishing had gotten me nowhere. So I decided that year I would get pro-active. I joined a writing organization, read everything I could get my hands on that was even close to my genre, and went to my first writing conference. At this conference, I had a paid critique with a favorite author, and long story short, she passed my measly 25 pages of my unfinished manuscript on to a publisher. The publisher offered me a contract. That launched my Katie Parker Production series and started my traditional publishing career. In a nice full-circle moment, that same series would also start my indie career when I republished it after getting my rights back within the last few years.
I firmly believe in doing what you can do yourself and hiring professionals to do what you can’t. I initially hired out formatting, and still do sometimes. I have a great, great person for that. I have hired out every cover and can’t ever see myself taking that on. I’m a big believer in putting money into covers and editing. I now hire at least two editors for every book. Over the last year, I’ve assembled a great team, and I couldn’t do it without them.
Editing is definitely my biggest expense. But like covers, you usually get what you pay for. I know it’s money well-spent, so I don’t want to scrimp on that.
I love that you can finish a book on Tuesday (as in gone through all the edits, formatting, etc.), and have it up and available to readers within 24 hours. Readers no longer have to wait a year after you’ve turned in that book. That’s exciting to me.
My biggest surprise is that it’s going really, really well. I’ve out-earned my traditional income, and while I would never say never to returning to traditional publishers, at this point I couldn’t afford to. I love that we have choices in publishing—indie, trad’l, hybrid, short stories, novellas, full-lengths, genre-blending, whatever. It truly is the best time to be a writer.
The best thing I’ve done is put my first book of my Katie Parker series, In Between, permafree. I know there’s a lot of talk of permafree not working anymore, but I would disagree.
I have not done any review services. I don’t think I will at this point, though I certainly enjoy them as a full-time librarian and find them helpful for purchasing decisions. For reviews I utilize a group of influencers from a list I’ve created (and a lovely friend and VA helps me with this now), and I have prompts/links to review in the back of each book.
I got the rights back to three books from one publisher when my former agent just asked for them. I still thank God for everyone involved in that. Nobody had to give me anything, yet they did. I have a handful of books with another publisher and have been told to kiss them goodbye forever. These are the sort of things that make authors want to stay away from traditional publishers. I’d love to see more of a compromise with backlists that are collecting digital dust, yet bound in archaic contracts. Many authors would pay significant dinero to get old books back.
Both. I use Createspace. I’ve yet to investigate other paperback options, but probably need to.
I have not. As a purchasing librarian myself, I stay away from books that aren’t hardback and specially bound for libraries and heavy use. So I’ve yet to try to make inroads in the library world, but would love to. I think we’ll see more indies in libraries in the next 5 years.
Series is KING in indie right now. As a reader, I love series as well. With a series you can really effectively use permafree, setting that first book to free, then letting readers decide if they want to continue with the series. It’s been a great tool for me, and I’m excited to get a few more books up in my new Sugar Creek contemp. romance series, so I can implement permafree again.
My co-writers for Just One Summer and I just used pre-orders for the first time in June. I’m not sure any of us will be using it again. Amazon does not apply pre-orders to first day sales (instead choosing to divvy out the pre-order sales during your first week), so that can hurt that first day’s sales and list targets.
I think we’re all learning that the old idea that “self-publishing equals crap literature” just isn’t true anymore. There are some great authors writing great books and publishing them themselves.
I just had my website redone! You can find me at www.JennyBJones.com. I have a newsletter that I send out only when I have new books or when I’ve got a book super duper cheap I want to tell everyone about. I’m also on Twitter (JenBJones), Instagram (JennyBJonesAuthor) and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jennybjones.