"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: Publishing Strategy for Independent Authors

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Publishing Strategy for Independent Authors

Dear Fellow Writer,

Thanks for being a subscriber. I know it's sometimes hard to stay focused when there's so much information coming at you all the time these days.

I'm glad you still like hearing from me!

Being a full time writer is great - as long as you're committed and totally believe that what you do makes a difference.

Getting lost in the creative flow is what it's all about. But often we have other considerations when we let our work go to see how it fares in the marketplace.

In today's article we look at how you might stay ahead of the competition (including those signed to legacy publishers) as an independent author in the new millennium.

Keep writing!


Publishing Strategy for Indie Authors

Publishing Strategy for Indie Authors

One great way of preparing yourself for the release of your next book as an independent author is to have a pretend strategy meeting with yourself every two or three months.

 If you had a legacy publishing deal and an agent, you'd most likely have regular meetings to discuss your ongoing books.

 You would meet to discuss you progress, possible release dates, and how your newest book might fit in with the growth of your career and the needs of the publishing company's marketing department.

 If you're an independent online author, you'll likely need to conduct an imaginary meeting with yourself to iron out some of the same issues.

 Okay, so the meeting is an intellectual exercise - but no less valid for that. 

Hold the meeting with your partner if he or she is interested. 

Engage the help of a fellow author to bounce ideas off, or, if all else fails, conduct the meeting with yourself. 

Any such meeting will stand you in good stead for your future career.

 Write up an agenda for the meeting - listing the points up for discussion.

             1. How's the writing going? (Because you're probably not done yet!)

            2. How commercial is the project? (And can you make it more so.)

            3. What issues need 'fixing'? (Characters, Plot, Structure, etc.)

            4. How long will that take?

            5. Thoughts on cover design. 

            6. Scheduling a release date.

            7. Marketing ideas.

            8. Beta readers.

            9. Possible reviewers.

            10. And so on.

 In the publishing world it's not unusual for these meetings to be long and complex. It's also not rare that they are conducted without the author present.

 Count yourself lucky you can attend your own meeting!

 In the publishing world, I've known these meetings to happen three to six monthly - until the author finally makes the changes the agent, publisher, and most importantly, the marketing people, want.

 One (now popular) author I know went through TEN YEARS of these meetings until she finally presented all the interested parties with a manuscript they thought was worth publishing and promoting.

 She described those ten years to me as a thoroughly hellish experience. That is, until the book became a bestseller - thereby proving to everyone involved that it was worth all that work and effort to get it just right.

As an independent author you can of course circumvent the need to please an army of people that have little to do with the writing of the book, but it's worth bearing in mind that publishers often take great care over releasing a new book simply because a perfectly-honed manuscript and book-package with the right cover that hits the marketplace at exactly the right time can create a bestseller in a way that is very hard for an indie author to emulate.

 In your own, imaginary, meeting you need to honestly appraise your place in the market.

 Is your manuscript, in its current incarnation, up to competing with what's out there?

 If not, why not?

Does it have the right title?

Is the subject matter compelling/different?

Do the characters/concepts work?

Does the idea/premise/story make sense?

Is it a big enough concept with an easily identifiable hook?

Is the book good enough to compete?

What more does it need?

Does it need paring back?

What can go?

What kind of cover should the book have to compete in the right genre?

What kind of promotion does the book need?

How will it reach its target audience?

 These and more questions of your own making are all on the table during your faux meeting.

 Now, don't worry too much about this pretend meeting. 

Don't fret that perhaps you haven't thought of everything or that maybe, after your initial analysis, you don't think you have a book worth promoting.

 That's to misunderstand the process and purpose of the meeting.

 Remember that publishers conduct these meetings every day and still find it hard to create bestsellers!

 But the fact that you have even considered your own book in a professional light will put you streets ahead of the dozens of other authors who will release their books onto Amazon and Kindle at the same time as you - without any real thought to what they're doing.

 Actually caring about where you stand in relation to the marketplace, and writing quality books that will stand the test of time, is at least half the battle when it comes to selling books to new readers.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell


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