6 New Year's Resolutions for Indie Authors

Resolution

Happy 2013, my fellow indie authors! As we jump into a new year in this new world of digital publishing, here’s a round-up of resolutions to help you make 2013 your most successful year yet.

1. I will make changes. Indie publishing involves lots of trial and error. If your sales are stale, it’s time to refresh something. Update your covers, modify your prices, revise your book descriptions. Don’t just grumble and complain to your indie friends. Try a creative new approach.

2. I will be brave about pricing. This isn’t 2009. The .99 – $2.99 price range isn’t the sweet spot that it used to be. It’s great for a limited-time sale to boost your visibility, but not for every day. Readers have gotten burned by bad books at cheap prices, and they’re willing to pay a little extra for higher quality. Nudge your list price into the $4 – $5 range and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. My sales improved in 2012 when I made that jump.

3. I will send out a newsletter. Your e-mail newsletter is your most important promotional tool. It feels much more engaging and personal than any Facebook post or Tweet. This year, make it your goal to get the email address of every person who visits your website, blog or Facebook page. (You can subscribe to my newsletter by using the handy box at the top of this page.) Set a regular schedule and send out a newsletter at least once a month. Use a newsletter service (I love MadMimi) to make your mailings inexpensive and headache-free.

4. I will not be afraid of reviews. The number of reviews on your book is more important than the number of stars in each review–so even one-star reviews serve a purpose. Having lots of reviews improves your algorithms, increases your visibility, and encourages readers to sample your work. When it comes to reviews, more really is better. Every time you receive a fan email or see a book rave on your Facebook wall, ask that reader if she would be willing to go post a review.

5. I will spend less time on social media. I’m using my smartphone to tame my Twitter addiction this year: I set the Alarm/Timer app every morning and limit my total social-networking time (email, Facebook, Twitter, all of it) to 30 minutes. When the alarm goes off, I shut down my browser and spend the rest of my day writing. Facebook and Twitter are (gasp!) not essential to your success. Barbara Freethy says she only had about 2,500 Facebook followers when one of her indie titles made the New York Times bestseller list. Indie superstar Bella Andre admits that she’s not a social-networking queen. So how have these authors sold millions of ebooks? Keep reading.

6. I will write and publish more. Nothing sells a good book like another good book. The more titles you release, the more hooks you’re dangling in the water and the more readers you’ll catch. Make it your priority to write and publish more this year–more books, more novellas, more short stories. Release something new at least every six months. Spend less time online and get back to doing what you do best: creating memorable stories that readers will love.

Do you have any writing & publishing resolutions for 2013? What do you plan to do differently this year?

  • Happy New Year, Shelly! Yes, your six wonderful tips top my list of resolutions, too. :) I’m planning to *write, write, write* this year and I’m really excited about it. So many fun stories to share with readers. Here’s to a fantastic 2013 for writing and reading!

    Miriam Minger

  • These sound great. I’ve been trying to be brave for awhile now. Hopefully, if my experiment works, I’ll see some results by then end of January.

  • Happy New Year, Shelly! My resolution for 2013 is simple – I’m getting back into the rhythm of writing and publishing new content. In 2012, I finally got 17 backlist titles and 4 boxed sets the way I wanted them to be. Time to move forward with new stories! I published my first all-indie book in 2012 and am worked the kinks out of my new system. This is going to be an awesome year for indies!

    all the best for 2013!
    Deb
    also writing as Claire (http://www.delacroix.net)

  • 7. I will hear Shelly Thacker’s voice in my head if I ever start to break one of these resolutions,

    Happy 2013, Shelly!

    Patricia McLinn

  • My mantra for 2013 is write…write…write. Sound familiar? :-) My resolution is to wite with joy and passion and to be present to the beauty of each day. Happy New Year!

  • Great suggestions, Shelly.
    I plan to enjoy every last minute of every day
    and keep a joyful heart. It helps in writing
    romance.

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