Friday, August 12, 2011

YA Indie Carnival: Surprises along the way

If you've been following the blog, you know I'm part of the YA Indie Carnival, a great group of ladies who blog about writing and reading self-published novels each Friday. Today's topic is (drumroll, please):

What's been the biggest surprise about going indie?

I've been giving this one some serious thought, since the answers that immediately come to mind are negative. But then, the whole point is to shed some light on the good and bad of going it alone, so it wouldn't be fair to make it all rainbows and butterflies. Every author's experience differs, but here are some surprises I've had along the way.

I've sold more print books than ebooks.
And I'm not sure why, exactly. Certainly, friends and family have wanted print copies that I could sign, which helps, but even readers I've met through Twitter seem to prefer print books and some are willing to pay the price. With so much hubbub about low priced ebooks (and how popular YA paranormal romance is), I thought that ebook sales would quickly outpace their print counterparts. That hasn't been the case so far.

There's definitely something to be said about being in the right place at the right time, and Between has yet to be picked up by sites like Daily Cheap Reads and the Frugal eReader. Hopefully my time will come, so until then, I'll just be patient and continue doing what I'm doing.

I thought it would be easier to categorize my book on Amazon.
Maybe there is a way to do this and I just haven't figured it out, but from what I can tell, Amazon allows you to assign 15 tags to your book (words and phrases that people might use to search for your book). Fifteen tags don't go very far. I see people advertise that their book is a bestseller in some specific category, but I don't see a way to designate categories in the set-up. Also, the categories for Teen Romance and Adult Romance are completely different, so it's incredibly difficult to browse YA titles on Amazon. Sigh...

On the good side:

I'm thrilled by how some people really loooooooove the book.
I figured there would be people who liked it and those who didn't. I never dared hope there would be people who loved it to pieces and would bug me about when the sequel is coming out. One reader sent me an email recently, telling me she'd just finished re-reading Between and that she loved it just as much the second time through! *squee!*

To sum up, the biggest surprise to me about my indie experience so far has been how little is within my control. One of the greatest advantages of going the indie route is that you can control everything: the title, the cover, the font, the price, etc. And yet, when it comes to sales and how people react to the book, you pretty much just have to say a prayer that it all works out.

Find out what the rest of the YA Indie Carnival participants have to say!

Danny Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen
Laura Elliott
Courtney Cole
Wren Emerson
Nichole A. Williams
Fisher Amelie
Amy Maurer Jones
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer
T. R. Graves
P.J. Hoover
Heather Cashman


  1. I really appreciate this topic and post. Im getting ready to self-pub in Nov and Im scared ( and excited) I appreciate hearing from those who have "gone before" and dont mind sharing their insight and experience with the rest of us. Thank you Cyndi

  2. Congrats on the fan, Cyndi. I love that feeling. I had a fan who read it eight times. It's always great when they say, "I didn't want it to end!" That's what being an author is about. Sharing your world with them is a way to connect with people that I believe might be impossible in any other way.

  3. You're right, Cyndi--it's not all roses and rainbows... but you're in charge and that's the most important part. GO INDIE!

  4. Cyndi, You make a really good point that I think is relevant no matter how an author decides to publish. There is no controlling how a book is received. It has a life of its own. The difference is in the birthing process. It's like being born underwater or at home or in a hospital. We are all born, but we all go into the world on our own merits. Great post. I had similar challenges in categorizing Winnemucca. It was a bit...huh? What? The categories I expected to see weren't there. But, somehow we muddle our way through!

  5. Hi Cyndi! I can feel what you're saying. I feel so stumped sometimes about a current streak of success or intermittent dry spell in sales. I ask myself what I did that encouraged the spike and what I didn't do when my sales are lacking. Why is so and so's books selling better than mine (it's not a bitter thing, just a curiousity)? Anyway, I quickly remind myself that if I hadn't gone indie I'd likely still be querying and my book would remain unread. That is my saving grace in my moment of frustration. :)