Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Indie Life: Passing Time One Month On

I've decided to join Indie Life, a monthly feature run by the awesome writers over at the Indelibles blog. If you're familiar with Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Group, you'll already have an idea of how this will run.

Every second Wednesday of the month those taking part will post something related to indie life, such the highs, lows, triumphs, struggles, and milestones of going it alone.

Today I'm going to talk about my first experience of indie publishing.

Passing Time One Month On

It's been just over four weeks since Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre was published on Kindle Select. It's been quite a journey, and full of many highs and lows. As I like making lists, I'm going to break down my experiences thus far into two groups - the good and the not-so good.

The Good
  • The joy of seeing my finished book on Amazon, after all the hours of work spent preparing it.
  • Affirmation that paying for a professional edit, format, and cover design was worth every penny.
  • Only having to worry about one sales format - Kindle.
  • Waking up on day two and finding my book at number seven in Amazon's Bestseller Horror Short Stories, alongside Stephen King. Then seeing it climb above the master of horror.
  • The amazing feeling when I received my first review and 5-star rating.
  • Signing into my author account and checking sales.
  • The amazing support and good wishes from my friends.
  • The willingness of my blogging and writing friends to promote Passing Time.
  • Spending two weeks on a blog tour, and reading all the positive comments my book received. 

The Not-So Good
  • Feeling totally out of my depth when it came to organising and maintaining a book tour, or using social media in general. I thought I had the time to do everything myself. I didn't.
  • Watching my book slide down the ratings, and seeing my sales diminish by the fourth week. If you're at number 112,000 in Amazon rankings, you're not likely to sell a lot.
  • Knowing offering it in more eBook formats than Kindle (such as Barnes and Noble and Smashwords) might have brought more sales.
  • Realising that whilst paying to promote some of my Facebook posts brought me new followers, it did not equal a rise in sales.
  • A confirmation of my belief that short story collections simply do not sell as well as novels, and that to make it as an indie writer you need volume.

So what now? And what, if anything, will I do differently next time around?

Passing Time is signed up to Kindle Select until early June. After that I can sell it elsewhere. I'm not yet sure whether I will take it off select or not. I am undecided. Though I have another short story collection coming out in July, I shall be focusing my attention on longer projects. I have a novella planned and a novel to finish. I will be looking at offering these both as an eBook AND in printed form.

I will definitely be using the services of a blog tour organiser. Other than writing the posts, I want to take away the worry and time needed to organise a tour. Instead of just two weeks of posts, I will go for a big release day and then a couple of guest posts a week over a longer period, hopefully sustaining interest.

So are you an indie writer? What was your first time like? What advice can you offer to first-timers like myself?


  1. I agree, seeing one's book on Amazon after the long months of checking and re-checking makes everything worth while.


  2. Hi Ellie .. good luck with it all - you've had masses going on - and trying to sort out what's necessary .. but it's all a learning curve isn't it and your next books will be easier ..

    Cheers and just enjoy your achievements .. Hilary

  3. Great great post, Ellie.

    I find that a second novel makes a huge difference in sales, but don't worry too much about rankings. No one understands the algorithm that Amazon deploys. I've made sales and gone down, sold nothing and gone up.

    My ebooks will also go to print in future as well, but indies need to be in this for the long run, which means more books.

  4. Wow, you made the bestsellers with your first book? Congratz!

    I definitely feel like indie life is all about the long haul. Getting more books out, letting word of mouth slowly build and increase sales (says the girl whose only book is ranked below #150,000).

    Anyway, if you ever start feeling discouraged just think about how everything you've learned from this launch is going to make your next one EVEN AWESOMER (which is totes a word, shut up spell check).

  5. Congrats on your release, Ellie. The best advice I can give is: keep writing, continue to learn, and never give up. ((hugs))

  6. I'm a month in myself! I highly recommend spending the money to have someone organize blog tour for you! But it's funny, I didn't do KDP select, and while I certainly have sales on other outlets, I've been wondering if select would have helped me rise higher on Amazon. So I guess my point is I think we all second guess ourselves. Go with what feels right and hope for the best seems like all we can do :D Congrats on your release!

  7. Thank you for sharing your learning curve with those of us still unpublished. It is appreciated.

  8. Well done beating S King, even if only for a while, not everyone can say that. Word of mouth is often the best sales mechanism and you are well placed for that to grow.

  9. I think you're doing exactly the right thing - experiment, see what works for you. My experience, for what it's worth, is that I get many more sales through KDP than anywhere else. But if I don't want to use KDP Select, no harm in publishing through Smashwords etc. too.

  10. Congratulations on the successes you've had. As for sales, I have no advice, because I only sell a few books. I think what most people say that do sell a lot of books is to keep getting yourself out there? So maybe I'll pass that on to you. I know it's literally no help at all, but I can't talk from experience. Best of luck, Ellie. You are an inspiration.


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