Sunday, July 1, 2012

Indie author success in today’s market.

By M. Todd Gallowglas

I’d like to thank the Indie Writers Zone for having me stop by during my launch of a little project I call, the Genre Underground. Today I’m here to talk about being successful as an Indie author in today’s market.

I used to have this saying I’d say, a mantra I’d repeat, when things looked grim when I first started out. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” I believed that, and saying it kept me from bludgeoning myself into unconsciousness on my keyboard when the threat of failing in this harsh world of Indie publishing. Then came Tough Mudder, and my entire philosophy changed.

In a nutshell, Tough Mudder is a 10 - 12 mile run, with twenty-five obstacles designed by British Special Forces. It’s not a race, but a challenge. While it is possible to complete the course as an individual, it’s easier – so much easier – in teams. They encourage teams. I have signed up to do this event on Sept 29th in Northern California, if anyone wants to join myself and the rest of Team Red Hand, contact me and I’ll give you the team info. It’s also a fund raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.

This is what being an Indie writer is. It’s like participating in a never ending series of Tough Mudder events. The Indie world is full of obstacles and challenges that will kick your teeth right down into your guts. It’s possible to make it on your own, but so much easier if you have a team. Some teammates will be better at promotion. Some will be better at helping beta read your books and make sure all those grammar and spelling things are taken care of. Some teammates are just really good at getting your spirits back up when you’re spitting your teeth out of your mouth after you’ve puked them back up. (This isn’t likely to literally happen, but it feels like it – last week Amazon dropped me from one of the best seller lists I was on. Gone. Poof. AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! Condition red!!!!) Every step of the way, it helps you to have a team.

And, as more and more Indie writer groups get going, it’s not enough just to be on any team. You have to pick the right team. There’s a lot of choices out there: Independent Authors Network, Indie Book Collective, and the World Literary Café to name a few. I’ve worked with other groups and found they weren’t ultimately for me, because our focuses were different. As more and more writers start trying out this Indie thing, I believe that the Indie cross-promotion teams are going to need to be more and more specialized, because they are going to have to focus on the fan base and readership of specific genres. Science Fiction and fantasy readers tend to be much different than Thriller readers, who are much different than Romance readers, who are in turn different than the Young Adult crowd. Now, I’m most familiar with the Science Fiction/Fantasy community. It’s what I write, and a lot of what I read, and that particular community is awesome and completely different than most readerships of the other genres. I decided it was time to build a team and dive into the community of people who love to read the kind of stuff I write.

The Genre Underground is my team. I started it with several other like-minded Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror writers. Our mission statement: “Fitting the book to the reader. Bringing you the most innovative Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror that you want to read.” We are completely reader focused, because we understand that not every book is for every reader. We’ll ask about what other things someone likes to read, and give them recommendations based on that. We’re working together to build up Indie Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror within the fan community.

Writing is a solitary activity. Publishing is not. Publishing means being able to put your book, whether a print copy or and electronic copy, in front of someone who will buy it and read it.  Self-published authors try to do everything themselves, and they can succeed…eventually. Traditional writers have a publishing house. Indie writers, we’ve figured out that having a team is going to help all of us get the word out. The Genre Underground is my team. What’s yours?

Welcome to the revolution!

Learn more about M. Todd Gallowglas

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