>One Year Indieversary

>A year ago today, I plucked up the courage to press publish on Kindle – it didn’t take long for Little Girl to go live.  My first-born.  New parent jitters.  It was an experiment, I really didn’t think anything would come of it, but I wanted to try it anyway – I like to learn and I like staying off the main road.  People said indies won’t sell.  Horror won’t sell.  Short stories won’t sell.  Flash fiction definitely won’t sell, particularly the dark stuff.  I kept hearing things like only hiring a good editor and cover designer will convince people to take you seriously.  *Dun-dun-DUN*

I uploaded a piss poor cover.  There’s been four or five covers for that poor little book so far.  This one has stuck.  I had a terrible description, awful promotional skills and an entire lack of media awareness or writerly friends.  I didn’t even tell my family I was writing again – they know now but they aren’t going to read my work, never mind give me a dodgy review.  😉  I chose a pen name and for months sweated in case anyone knew it was me.  *Insert eye roll here* 

I sold something like five copies of the book in the first month.  Got into the forum thing, wasn’t comfortable with the extreme spamming/bitchiness/negativity, was and still am quite vocal about it, moved on to other places.  Discovered that there are people who are on the side of indies, despite the bad reputation, and got over how bummed I was about the bad atmospheres.  *Takes things to heart*

Took a good few months before I started to get daily sales – thanks to my first reviews.  Decided marketing wasn’t a good path for me.  Gave up on the book completely – I actually said those words to my OH.  Tried to fit in online.  Didn’t.  Focused on a novel.  Still haven’t finished said novel and probably never will.  *Cannot edit to save her life* 

Little Girl got lots of angry reviews.  I took advice from some people way smarter than me, copped on, changed the cover to the present one and came up with something resembling an actual product description.  Learned to dread review numbers increasing but also realised the bad reviews were probably encouraging sales.  Got down about the way people act online sometimes.  Remembered life’s too short for that.  Stepped away from forums/facebook/twitter.  *Iz dramatic*

Remembered that the whole point of the indie thing was to forge my own path.  Palm-slapped myself.  Figured out my own plan, the one that had been shouting at me while I was listening to everyone else’s plans.  Knuckled down.  Joined ROW80.  Was shocked by the positivity.  Was inspired too.  Heard from some other writers and readers who either said or did things that reassurred me not everyone in the world is a dick.  Again.  Got over myself.  Again.  Wrote my ass off.  Not again.  Realised it’s March.  Counted a year’s sales.  More than I expected.  More than half in the last two months.  *Is shocked*

Lesson:  Maybe there is no lesson.  I did nothing in the end.  I don’t come close to the good ‘uns in skill, talent, personality or sales.  And any good that came to me came because of the actions of others, not me so basically the point is I’m not a good example of anything?  Erm.  😀  A year on, I still don’t have a novel out, I’m still working alone while the world sleeps and I still have no idea what I’m doing.  Actually, that’s not really true.  I know the plan, it just doesn’t make sense to anyone else.  😉

I’m going to keep doing nothing – aside from being myself, writing and trying to become the best writer I can be.  I’ve learned a lot, about the business, the craft, other people, myself.  I might be a little braver, hopefully I’ll work a little harder with a lot less ego, and for now I’ll just pat my wee book on the back and say, that’ll do book, that’ll do.

18 thoughts on “>One Year Indieversary

  1. >Congratulations on your on your indieversary! Perhaps the indie path is the lesson? You're much farther along this path than I am, but it seems to me that all any writer can ever do is work to become a better writer and to tell the stories they want/need to tell. Congratulations again!

  2. >Thanks Ben, maybe it's to think for yourself and not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Yep, the main thing is to tell the story you have to tell, regardless of the warnings and the market, be it saturated or disinterested. There's a space for just about everything.

  3. >Yay! Happy indieversary!!I was having one of my "everyone on the internet is mean" moments this morning and then I read this. *Iz also dramatic*Congratulations on surviving the year. 🙂 Keep on keepin' on!

  4. >Happy Birthday. You know I ditched my pen name when I realised it was putting a barrier between me and the page. I write horror and just think eff it if the people around me don't like it. Sounds like you've come along way in a year. Hope it continues to be onwards and upwards.

  5. >Hey Katy, I don't like my name and I don't know why I was so panicky about people "finding" me – like it was likely to happen anyway. I'm a dumbass sometimes. 😀

  6. >Great post, Claire. This is how I feel about the forum/Facebook world, too. I'm just not finding any bliss there. I think the best thing for me is to stick to the blogosphere and keep writing and keep publishing….Congratulations on your indieversary!

  7. >Love your blog posts! Also enjoyed your forum posts. I think you fit in just fine on the forum, or does that mean I don't fit in there either? ;PDawn McCullough-White

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  9. I just read this and now it is pretty much a whole year late but congrats anyway…. I am only 12 but I’m trying to write a book series and I finished the first but it’s really short and I don’t think it’s that great and now I’m about two chapters into the second book and I haven’t been able to think of anythigto write for the past two months… can u tell me any secrets for inspiration u have? Please reply -p.d.j

    • When I feel stuck, I just do something else. Sometimes I read; sometimes I work on a different story. But most of the time, I’ll take one of the characters (not the main one) and write the story in their point of view. Or I’ll do a profile for different characters to find out more about them. Sometimes I’ll sit down and write an outline of the entire book so I can figure out what happens before I write it. With my book series, I sometimes like to write a brief sentence describing each chapter before I sit down and write the book. I also take a pen and a notebook and jot down what’s happened since the last book to each of the characters, even the minor ones, and I make sure I know what everyone is doing in each new chapter, even if they aren’t mentioned in that chapter.

      And I know some people find the snowflake method very helpful, if you want to check that out. For me, I usually get stuck when I don’t know the characters well enough – why they’re doing the things they do, and what they really want.

      Link to the snowflake method. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php Just skip down the page until you get to the ten steps of design. I would recommend following the steps until you feel like you know what to write next. There are also a lot of “character sheets” online that might help you figure out more about a character.

      All of this probably sounds like a lot of work, but really it’s preparation, and it will stop you getting completely stuck because you always have an idea of where the story is going. Of course it can change as you’re writing it, but that’s good. Don’t worry about it sounding crap because finishing a story is great practice, and you can always go back and edit it later on. Well done for trying so hard to finish your stories, btw! Keep writing. 🙂

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