When I left the corporate world, there were options. All circled about the process of writing, doing what I loved best, but life and circumstance dictated terms that weren’t exactly in my favor. Doing without a steady paycheck, and wish fulfillment at the grocery store, made the next steps similar to jumping off a cliff, blindfolded. But jump I did, right into setting myself up as a publisher.
I loved it, I had a stable of wonderfully talented authors, but I was also a one-woman band working 20 hour days, 7 days a week. It wore me down, wore me out, and the one thing I wanted to do, more than anything, was … write. So wasn’t happening with that schedule. I had to let it go. And that hurt, more than I was ever able to admit until now.
But, there’s still the mortgage and critters to feed and the occasional movie, so sitting back with my feet up was attractive, but not happening. So now I edit and format as a pseudo-day job. But most importantly I write, and boy howdy has that ever been a learning experience. I initially went traditional/small publisher, but after a few fits and starts, I decided going indie was more my style (and in truth, at my age, I don’t have years and years to play the games required to go trad).
Queue one-woman-band. Again. Le sigh. Le groan, le you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me. I write, I edit, I format, I buy stock images and work with three extremely talented graphics artists to create eye-catching covers. I learned about distribution and the vagaries of data entry requirements: blurbs, one-liners, taglines, categories, tags, pricing, excerpts…
Author platforms. Blogging. Tweeting. Saying howdy to everybody on Face Book. Liking. Following. Being followed. Paying it forward. Reviewing. Buying books for the sole purpose of market research. Chasing social media. Trying to achieve visibility/discoverabilty without saying: oh, *blushing and smiling sweetly*, did you know I wrote blah-ti-blah and you can find it at this—list of current distributors, sales, coupons, upcoming countdown deals—here, here and here?
Welcome to the new, not improved writer’s life.
I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s the new reality in a world filled with opportunities and a Wild West vibe. You have to be nimble, forward-thinking, alert to new initiatives, and embrace the concept of entrepreneurship if you want to succeed.
Except for one little thing. Nya (and her other alter egos, aka pen names) is a niche writer, a writer who loves “spec fiction”, transgressive lit, challenging themes and writing to those themes in a challenging style. I don’t write at a fifth grade reading level. I write complex sentences, I use adverbs (albeit judiciously—see what I just did?), and one reviewer complained that I “use a lot of big words.”
*Points up at the menu to the Spec Fic and the WiP tabs, free reads, posted as I write them. You either like it or you don’t. Apparently there’s no ‘meh’ but lots of ‘say what’s’ and ‘whoa’s’ available for your reading enjoyment.*
Keeping up with the industry is hard, adapting to runaway changes ain’t easy, as is dealing with a playing field that’s in no way level for the independent author committed to providing a quality book—well-edited, formatted correctly and priced very competitively.
I’m not going to rant and rave about all those negatives, about which I can literally do nothing, but instead I am focusing on what I can do, what I can control, and what additional things I can bring to the table.
I decided to open an eBook Store, selling my titles (for all three of my incarnations) off my website (not this one, another one, and yes there will be links, patience, grasshopper). With the help of a Weebly App and a small infusion of cash (investment in my career, tax write-off), I dove off yet another cliff after nearly a year of waffling over the decision.
Now I’m not sure why I hesitated. The app is surprisingly easy to use, and a friend tested the process by buying and downloading a book and it worked!
While there are quite a few online store apps available, many are geared to selling widgets. Weebly has the specific option for selling digital content. You have the ability to hold a sale or to issue ‘coupons’. Data entry was simple, with options for adding images for visual interest. Links to the Store, including links to specific titles, are easily set up and can be used on other websites as well (you can link internally throughout the website or create pointers).
Early on I decided I would do three things:
1) discount my own titles (but staying within the terms of service set up by Amazon vis a vis book pricing… something you need to understand if your books are on the Zon)
2) offer a complete eBook package: PDF, mobi and epub in a Zip file for one price shopping. This allows the reader to have access to formats for all their devices, in one place, without incurring additional charges or having to decide which format to choose.
3) offer refunds as store credit or re-download only in the case of a defective file
A strong “selling point” to doing this is the fact the purchaser owns the digital content, unlike when you purchase from Amazon for your Kindle—that’s a lease and Amazon has the right to remove access to your digital content, often without warning and with little recourse for re-instatement.
The Store is now “live” but I am taking it slow with getting the word out. I want to make sure there are no gotchas as nothing deters willing buyers more than technical glitches.
If you’d like a gander, go here to Nya’s eBook Store, wander around the site to check out the books, read excerpts and reviews. Links to all sales venues are included if you aren’t comfortable using PayPal.
Drop me a line. I love to hear from readers … yes, even the ones who complain about the books (well, maybe not as much).