Monday, January 3, 2011

How did you become an indie author?

There's an interesting post on J.A. Konrath's blog about how L.J. Sellers switched to indie publishing. It made me think about how I got into indie publishing. I certainly wasn't as deliberate about it, mostly because I'd really never heard of it till I got my Kindle.

After my first, aborted contract with a New York publisher twelve years ago, I eventually drifted into e-publishing. Again, this wasn't really a deliberate decision on my part, because I hadn't really heard of e-publishing. Once I read about it, however, I decided it might be a good way to go, and submitted. I had an overall good experience, although one of my publishers and I eventually parted ways. It didn't do great things for my career monetarily, but it was nice to get my books out there and get paid for them, even if it wasn't a lot. It was nice to final repeatedly in the Eppie Awards, too-- only an ego stroke, to be sure, but all authors need the occasional ego stroke. One of my books also caught the attention of an excellent agent, who eventually took me on. (One of my other books caused another very good agent to approach me, but I could only have one agent, obviously!)

When Vulcan Husband died, I quit writing professionally for several years. This lost me my agent, sadly, which discouraged me from writing even more. I am a writer at heart, however, and I did have a personal deadline for getting back into writing-- I wanted to get back to it by the time my youngest was kindergarten age. By late 2009 I had gotten my rights back from the e-pub who'd had most of my books, and started wondering where I could resell them. Samhain, my other major e-pub, wasn't interested in reissuing them, and I didn't see anyone else out there who was likely to enable me to sell many copies.

At that point I got my Kindle, and started reading the Amazon boards. I was surprised to see that you could self-publish ebooks. A little light dawned in my brain-- why not try that? So I did, putting my first reissued book up on Amazon in February 2010, and it worked surprisingly well. Better, in fact, than e-publishing ever worked for me.

I don't know what 2011 will bring, but now I'm more conscious of what I'm doing. I have a plan for writing and for earning money, and I'm trying to stay more tuned into what's happening with the writing market. I don't want to drift into things any more; I want to map out my career, and hopefully to succeed.

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