Any successful business venture has a clear focus of what they exist to do and what they strive to accomplish. Being an author is no different, especially if you’re a self-publisher. We’re all essentially micro-publishers with one author signed to our imprint.
For every author (or publisher) the endgame is clear: sell books. But how are you going to do that? What type of author do you want to be? Do you want to write to market or do you want to potentially sacrifice sales for the freedom to write whatever you want?
More importantly, how are you going to reach your audience? Do you even know who your readers are? Do you know how to reach them?
For a newbie indie author, it’s hard to imagine what the industry is going to be like until you’re in it. You can study all you want before, but what works for one author doesn’t necessarily work for another. Likewise, sometimes it’s an aligning of the stars. You get a good placement in an ad email. You hear about a promotional opportunity early. You write in a growing genre. Whatever it is, sometimes it takes a series of these to see any sort of payoff.
Having a plan will help. When I started, I thought I’d publish every three months, alternating between short stories and novels. I would utilize preorders so I always had something new for sale.
Well, a year after I put my first book, The Blood Moon, up for preorder, I’m changing my plan. It was a good plan to have for someone who didn’t know what he was doing, but as I got in the game, I evolved. I realized that I could put out books more frequently to help build my audience and, realistically, my income.
Later this year I’m going to do some experimenting too. The Harvest Moon will be released as a standard and deluxe edition. It might split my sales, but it’s worth a shot. Maybe adding an extra short story will become a trend?
At the end of the year, I’m going to be releasing four short stories related to my series monthly. I could be wasting my time with that. I could be confusing people with the releases and why some aren’t in paperback or whatever.
My point is, I might fail with these experiments. But for right now, that’s my plan. As I start to see results, I’ll modify my plan. I’ve already modified so much and I know I will continue to modify. Eventually, these experiences will lead to a better release with each book until we’re all making decent incomes from our writing. At least, that’s the plan.