Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Happy Anniversary!

Today’s Brew: lemon zinger iced tea

by Kristen

A8

Today is the one year anniversary of the day I hit publish on Because the Night and Night Moves. These books had been available before, but I took the rights back to my work and published them on my own.

Night Songs 12

This day will always be special to me, because it’s the day I took complete control of my work. My future in publishing. Before that I was bumbling along, learning all that I could, waiting for other people to make decisions that impacted the course of my career, hoping for some snippets for advice that could take me to the next level. We all know that no means no in traditional publishing and getting a why is a luxury. I was frustrated. I wanted more but I wasn’t sure how to get it. I believed in what I was doing. I kept writing, but I had no idea if I was growing because I wasn’t getting the right eyes on it, or more importantly, the right feedback on what I was producing.

The more I talked to authors who were going on it their own, the more I liked what they had to say. They were putting out beautiful books on their own terms and were totally in control of their own destinies. If you’ve hung around here for a while, you know I like having control over things. I wanted what they had. So I went out and got it.

It was terrifying. I surrounded myself with good, supportive people who were familiar with indie publishing. I made myself a student of the business. And then I jumped in the water.

Making the decision to self-publish means that I’m now able to communicate my vision for my story in the way that I intended to share it.

  • Editing is the thing that elevates a writer’s work, the lessons from one project carrying over to another. If a writer never gets that opportunity, they can’t grow. They’ll be stuck in purgatory forever, wondering where they’re missing the mark.
  • I’m fully involved with my cover designs, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a team of amazing cover designers and graphic artists. The covers are just as important as what’s happening on the inside, because we truly do judge a book by its cover. As I write that, I think it’s an interesting analogy. Were we so conditioned to terrible book covers that we had to look past that to get to the story inside? Not anymore. Covers are more than images and words. They’re marketing tools that have to instantly convey message, mood, and theme. They’re art.
  • I have the power to market my books in the way that’s best for them, in that moment. I’m not waiting for a publisher to change a price or buy promo. I control the destiny of each book. I can experiment with new marketing, change prices, and get the word out about my stories. If I learned anything in my journey, it’s that no one cares about my books more than I do.
  • If something doesn’t work, I change it. Covers, price, editing. It’s easy. Not a ten step process that I hope someone approves.

Since July 8, 2014, I’ve released ten additional stories. Why did I release so often? I had inventory of stories waiting for someone to finally look at, I wanted to build my brand in a crowded market place, and the best reason of all: because I fucking can. Once I had my team in place, I there was no reason not to share these stories with readers. I took chances on stories that a publisher would never look at and released the Colorado Shifters series, a collection of shifter novellas that are some of my best sellers. I write in more than one genre, sometimes at the same time. I tell the story that’s in my heart. I might write a lot, but I’m absolutely smitten with every character I create. Speed doesn’t change that. It just means I have more kids to love.

Traditional publishing is notorious for moving slowly while indie publishing moves so fast that even I have to stop and catch my breath every so often. I love that. It’s exciting. New things are happening all the time, and I’m happy to take part in it. I talk a lot about right now, but this is a long game. My books are available to discover and enjoy forever. I have a plan, but it’s flexible. I can always choose to do what’s right for my books and my readers, and abandon what’s not working.

I haven’t had a breakout hit, but each release gets better and better. The Fire Dancer hit #1 in its category on its release weekend.  It’s a vampire book that may have never seen the light of day if I had to wait for a publisher to buy it.

Sure, there are drawbacks. My books aren’t in Barnes and Noble, but when was the last time you bought a book from Barnes and Noble?  I have a harder time getting bigger press or the attention of foreign markets or movie makers.  But it’s not impossible. It just means not now, not never.

Going indie was a scary decision. It meant abandoning everything I had been working toward and starting over. I cried a lot and lost sleep, and I still do. I don’t think that will part ever go away, no matter how the stories come out. Going indie was the best decision for my career. I’m in complete control of my destiny, I know what I’m working toward, and I have to stop blogging now because I’m itching to get back to writing the story I’m working on. I’ll share it with all of you soon. (very soon!)

To celebrate, Because the Night is part of the OMGReads Stuff your Kindle sale. Close to 50 titles on sale for 99 cents. There are some sweet box sets in there, too!

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2 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary!

  1. What a great post. Congratulations on your anniversary. 🙂

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