Frankie Robertson: Veiled Mirror

Veiled Mirror

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here. I’m so excited! Today we have a special guest blogger: Frankie Robertson sharing her self publishing journey. Take it away Frankie!

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Thanks, Casey, for inviting me to blog here today!

I’ve been writing about my self-publishing journey on my own blog, http://FrankieRobertson.wordpress.com. One thing I haven’t talked much about is how my traditional publishing experience has compared to self-publishing.

When I started writing the path was pretty clear: publish some short stories, write a novel, get an agent, agent sells book, money rolls in, repeat. I’m not sure it was ever that simple, but that was the prevailing paradigm back then. Boy, have times changed! When I write that now, I feel like I should open with, “Once upon a time. . .” but it wasn’t a complete fairy-tale, I know people this  worked for. People who told me,“ I’m
glad I’m not trying to break in right now.”

Nevertheless I persisted. Then, on the same day my husband found out that he’d made his first short story sale, I found out that I’d made mine! I was pumped! Hallelujah! The tide had turned! The future was rosy!

Several weeks later I learned the magazine’s editors had gotten into a power struggle. The editor who liked my story lost, and my story was dropped. No contract, no sale.

Eventually I did make that first sale. It was a contest win that included payment and publication in an anthology of speculative romance (SUM 3) but I refused to let myself get quite as excited about it. Not until it was printed and in my hands. I’d learned
that the publishing business could be uncertain – everything about production
was outside the author’s control.

A year ago I sold Veiled Mirror to The Wild Rose Press. It was the third novel I’d completed but my first novel length sale. I love the cover Rae Monet created, and the communication with my editor Laura Kelly is wonderful. She had a light touch while still
strengthening my book.

I decided to self-publish my second book. I probably could have sold Lightbringer to TWRP. Why didn’t I?

Lightbringer

It came down to a perfect storm of reasons:
•    I’d read a lot about the potential of self-publishing.
•    I had more than one friend who had done it. (It no longer seemed like a heresy.)
•    I wanted the higher royalty per unit sold.
•    The requirement to self-promote is no greater than with small press and trad-pub.
•    I could bring it out in less than four months instead of a year.
•    I wanted to practice before I self-pubbed  my two fantasy-romance novels.
•    But perhaps the most compelling reason was:  I wanted more control over my career.

I’m really glad I had the opportunity to learn from being published with The Wild Rose Press and I would consider publishing with them again. It gave me confidence and it taught me about the process. The biggest difference between my traditional and self-publishing experiences is that with TWRP, I had one person to ask when I was confused about something. In self-publishing, there are hundreds, but I had to decide who to listen to. And in the end it’s all up to me. Even though I chose to hire out the
cover, the editing, and the formatting, the ultimate end product will be a
result of all the decisions I made over the last four months.

And I love it! I have never been more excited about writing and publishing than I am now. Self-publishing may not be the right choice for everyone, but it was for
me.

Thanks for letting me share my story with you. Please join me over on
my blog where you can  read excerpts from Veiled Mirror and Lightbringer. Veiled Mirror was just released (Yay!) and is available at http://www.thewildrosepress.com and http://amazon.com.). Lightbringer will be available in late November.

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Thank you so much Frankie. Best of luck with both novels.

Please share your thoughts on traditional vs. indie publishing. Which path are you taking? One or both? Debate and discuss!

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33 thoughts on “Frankie Robertson: Veiled Mirror”

  1. Thanks, Frankie. I chose to indie-publish for much the same reasons you did. Being a complete newbie to the publishing world, I’m struggling with the mega-multi-tasking required to do it all myself. I do have the technical support of my husband, but he knows less about publishing, marketing, etc, than I do–although he’s super with computers and creative endeavors like the book trailer and cover art. Since my first book comes out tomorrow, I think I’ll spend next week re-organizing myself and deciding what tasks to delegate and hire out for the next books–oh, and revising the book due in December–and working on my WIP–LOL–no rest for the weary.

    How are you managing with balancing the marketing and the writing? Is there a percentage of how much time you dedicate to each?

    1. I hear you, PJ! Time management has never been my strongest skill, and right now keeping up with my WIP is taking a hit. There’s a lot of work involved with SP, but even now, before I make a penny, it’s so worth it. No more waiting for the fairy godmother to wave her wand!

      Good luck with your release!
      Frankie

  2. Hi Frankie! Thanks for this great post! I am Indie Publishing my books too, for many of the reasons you mentioned, but primarily because I was discouraged at how long the traditional publishing route takes. It took years for me to finish my first book, The Cordovan Vault, and I didn’t want to wait more years to see it in print. I’m happy with my decision, but sales are slow. I liken it to shouting into a hurricane – there’s a lot out there and it’s hard for people to hear about me. Like PJ, I’m always looking for new marketing tips, if you have any to share. Thanks.

    1. I’m new at this, but from what I’ve read the very best promotion for a book that’s out there is to write another one and get it out. Every book helps to build the sales of the one before. That’s one reason I’m bringing out LIGHTBRINGER so close on the heels of VEILED MIRROR. That, and I’m impatient :-)

      What I plan to do as my main promotion is to contact reviewers and guest blog regularly (thanks, Casey!) while maintaining my other online activities. The best part of SP is that we can take time to build our following.

      Hang in there!
      Frankie

  3. Thanks for sharing your story Frankie. As a still unpublished writer, there are so many choices out there. I’m always interested in hearing how someone else is making their way!

  4. Thanks Frankie. I too am an unpublished writer. I am toying with the idea of self publishing, but have not really tried to market the book through the normal channels yet. I may just turn around and take the plunge. Thanks for making it sound a little less scarey.

    1. @Linda and Gerri: Thanks! I’m glad to help. The hardest part of being unpublished is knowing when to put your work out there. Writers are notoriously bad at judging their own work. We often think it’s horrible, or better than it is.

      One piece of advice I’ve seen in many places is to hire a professional editor. I love the people I’m working with at Edits that Rock. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

      Frankie

  5. Thanks Frankie. I loved the honesty of this blog. I’ve gone the sort of traditional route with e-pub for my romance and now I’m heading into Indie pub with my YA nitty gritty novel, Off Leash and like you have hired a cover artist, formatter etc, but as scary as this seems I’m of the mind nothing ventured nothing gained…and some stories need to be told.

  6. I love it that you look at it as “practice” before you publish your next two novels. Everything we do is practice for the next thing, isn’t it? And your comment that the requirements for marketing are no more than they are if one self-publishes was enlightening. Thanks! Self-publishing is no longer as scary as it once was.

  7. Thanks Frankie and I really appreciate your insight. This was wonderfully helpful and I am wondering with Casey above: “I wonder if we will all be doing some form of Indie pubbing…”

    Debralee Mede

    1. Casey and Debralee, I think we will see more and more authors putting their toes into self-publishing waters. We’re already seeing more and more a la cart services being offered. Publishing is going to evolve, into what I’m not sure. John Locke made a deal with a major publisher to just distribute his Donovan Creed books in print. He kept the e-rights. That’s unprecedented.

      Frankie

  8. Great to see you at the Scribes, Frankie! I’m following with interest people who have taken the plunge into indie-pubbing. Not sure what’s right for me yet, but it seems like a mix of traditional and indie might give us the best of both worlds. Wishing Amanda-Hocking-like success to you, and the rest of us too.

    1. Thanks, Susannah! Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Mike Stackpole all recommend keeping a foot in both worlds. That’s what’s so great about this, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice.

      Take your time. SP isn’t going anywhere. You’ll know when you’re ready to leap.

      Frankie

    1. Thank you so much for visiting us today. I’ve enjoyed reading about your self-pubbing journey over the last few months. I can’t wait to finish Veiled Mirror and get my hands on Lightbringer. Where will you be selling Lightbringer?And will it be available POD?

      1. Thank you, Casey, for inviting me! It has been a real pleasure.

        I intend to make LIGHTBRINGER available through Amazon (both Kindle and POD), Nook, and Smashwords. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when it’s out.

        Frankie

  9. I have a question for everyone. Obviously, I’d like to encourage folks to buy a copy of VEILED MIRROR. I especially would like for people to leave reviews on Amazon. Would it be unethical to announce a drawing from among everyone who leaves a review for VM — good, bad, or indifferent — for a free copy of LIGHTBRINGER when it comes out? Does anyone know if that violates any rules on Amazon?

    1. I don’t know if it violates any of Amazon’s rules, but people pay for reviews at times, don’t they? And if you kept all of the reviewers in the drawing, no matter what they thought of your book in their review, then I don’t see how it wouldn’t be fair…It can be difficult to contact some reviewers through Amazon (Lord knows I’ve tried!) so logistically, you might want them to register on your website as well to be entered in the drawing…that also takes it away from Amazon’s world a bit…

  10. Interesting question. I don’t remember reading any rules against something like that. Amazon loves for people to review books. It boosts sales and creates buzz about their new releases. I can’t imagine they would have a problem with anything that a creative author wants to do as incentive to garner honest reviews. As J mentioned, as long as it’s fair and impartial, it shouldn’t be a problem. You might want to check out one of those automated random commenter selector thingies…not sure how to do that yet. I’m just throwing names into a bag and picking a random name to win free e-books for commenting on my blog appearances. Low tech but fair and impartial.

    1. Thanks, PJ. That was my take on it too. One thing that’s flitting around in the back of my head is all those contests that say, “No purchase required.” I think they do that because of some kind of federal regulation. It’s kind of implied that they’d have to buy the book in order to read and review it. I may check out the Kindleboards next to see if anyone there knows anything.

      Encouraging people to comment with a raffle was something I thought of to build a mailing list, and until I have mountains of comments, I think putting names into a bag is nice, functional way of doing it. :-)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! I appreciated it.

      Frankie

    1. I’m glad you mentioned that, Regina. There’s a significant amount of polarized commentary out there from both sides of the self/trad pub discussion making it hard for people new to the business to find their way. Knowing what your goals are (and it’s okay if they change over time) and knowing what the strengths and weaknesses of each type of publishing are, will be your best guide. I recommend David Gaughran’s LET’S GET DIGITAL as a good source of current, fairly balanced, information.

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