Although I began my journey in February of 2011 with a webinar offered by Writer's Digest, my first novel "went live" in mid-May 2011. When I say I am ten months into my journey, I am counting from mid-May. But without that initial webinar, I might not have begun at all. Even so, as I look back, I remember thinking, "Oh, my, there's so much to do! I'm not sure where to begin."
I decided to make a list of "things to do" in two different areas: Preparing Books & Marketing.
The Marketing list was the one I found most daunting. Not only did I need to learn how to build and manage websites and a blog, I had to figure out how to purchase domain names! I was so low on the tech ladder, I did not have a clue when I first went to the GoDaddy site to buy domains. (Just FYI, GoDaddy has been very helpful and easy to work with, and I am pleased with my website progress over the last year. I could never make their blog software work, however. Blogger is much easier to use, IMO.)
I also had to set up a Twitter account and a Facebook account and start learning how to use those tools. As it turns out, I love Twitter, but I still have trouble using Facebook.
Preparing Books was the list I felt most confident about. What a heady feeling! I've been writing novels for years! This will be a piece of cake!
So I chose a title to begin with. North Rim Delight is a romantic suspense novel with adventure, humor and a love of dogs floating through it. The first three chapters were in pretty good shape. A little tweaking here and there. But as I moved through the book, I realized something mind blowing. All those years of working on my novels, in some part of my mind I was trying to guess what an editor wanted to see, not what a reader might enjoy! That made me angry. That whole traditional publishing route had forced me to spend way too much energy on the editor roulette game (hoping you actually get the query letter and ms. into the hands of someone who likes your voice, likes your plot, and has room for you in their @#$#@ schedule!).
As a result, the last half of my book was not at all ready for readers. I spent a great deal of energy and time rewriting the second half to make the story enjoyable for readers, not editors. All those years of submitting, and I had to go indie to actually see the damage the traditional route was doing to my narrative voice.
And since I now get to think about readers only, my narrative voice is improving! This is so exciting. I want to provide readers with an enjoyable experience that makes them want to come back. I want them to love my characters and the universes I create for them. I want them to eagerly anticipate the next book. And now that I've gone indie, that is where my creative energies are focused: on the reader.
With the reader as my priority, my sales numbers are improving month by month. During my first month with one book published, I sold 23 copies. In February 2012, with five books published, I sold 825. I am approached the 2K sales mark. That is certainly fun. But my biggest joy is knowing that I can take the time and creative energy I need to make my next book, Calin's Cowboy, the best it can be before publication.
I hope you are all having record sales, and finding new wonderful writers to read and enjoy!