It’s my second Indie birthday!

Hey Scribblers!

PJ Sharon here. Today I’m celebrating two years since I first published my debut novel HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES. In honor of the occasion, I’m giving away an audio book copy to one random commenter. Chance to enter ends Monday, September 30th at midnight.

So what’s it like being an Indie toddler?

Believe me, there are days when I want to have fits like a two-year-old. But there are also days when I can’t imagine a more exciting pursuit. It seems like just yesterday I was posting my first novel onto AMAZON, B&N, and Smashwords, taking the giant leap of faith that I had done enough to ensure it was as close to perfect as possible. Five books and a zillion lessons later, I’m still working to improve and streamline my process. Everything from formatting, cover art, editing, and marketing, to managing the business end of being an author, is constantly changing, making me feel like a perpetual newbie.

Here’s a short list of what I’ve learned in my first two years:

1) Relax and Breathe-I really stressed out my first year and a half as an author. The past six months has been about letting go for me. I can’t control it all, I can only do so much in a day, and the to-do list will still be there tomorrow. Making time to write is non-negotiable. It’s what keeps me moving forward and brings me joy. I manage what I absolutely have to do each day, and try to remember that I’m the boss.

2) Hire as much help as you can afford-I’m a big fan of bartering services, but there are some things you just can’t do that with. Figuring out a budget and investing in creating a superior product is worth the effort and money. Hire a good cover artist and excellent editors, and pay for the RIGHT advertisement, and you will make your money back. Caution: BE SELECTIVE. Get references and do your research.

3) It’s good to have friends in the playpen- I would know nothing if I didn’t belong to such Yahoo Groups as IndieRomanceInk, Authors Network, and Marketing for Romance Writers. My local RWA chapter has been invaluable, and the contacts I’ve made through YARWA and the WG2E street team are like family. I am constantly amazed by the generosity of the writing community.

4) Patience grasshopper-  I’m only two, for Pete’s sake! We have to walk before we can run, right? Everything requires a process. In people years, a toddler is only just beginning their journey. I can’t expect myself to know everything, do everything right, or earn a solid income in only two years time. Every business model I’ve ever seen considers a profit after five years, a success. Most businesses will fail in those first five years. I take comfort in knowing that the only way I can fail is if I stop writing books. I’m more and more convinced that money comes with time and persistence. I’ll let you know how that theory works out in another three years when I graduate to kindergarten.

5) Perspective is everything- I originally set the goaI that I would sell 10,000 copies of my collective books in a year. I guess I didn’t necessarily mean the first year…or the second. Well, maybe I was just being optimistic. I could have been disappointed when I didn’t meet my mark in 2012, but it didn’t really phase me. Mainly because I knew that if I had sold 5,000 the first year, the second five would come eventually. I still haven’t quite reached the 10K mark yet (there will be cake when I do!). But I consider every sale, every contest win, positive review, or reader comment a measure of success. Most importantly, my level of enjoyment with the process is my biggest measure of success these days. I keep a copy of each of my books close at hand to remind me of what I’ve accomplished in just two short years.

There is so much more that I’ve learned, but I’d have to write a book to contain it all and my publishing schedule is booked for the foreseeable future. So instead of me blabbering on about my toddler years, why don’t you guys tell me about your journey.

How long have you been writing?  What has it taught you? Have you made the leap into the publishing world? How’s that going for you? Let’s chat!

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18 thoughts on “It’s my second Indie birthday!”

  1. Paula, congratulations and happy birthday, your picture is adorable and your accomplishments are amazing. Your post reminds me of something I always try to remember, although I make my bed everyday, believe it or not, there’s always time to make it. It does take time to build a business, you choose how and when to build. The biggest plus of all. . . you are your own boss. You make all the decisions and decide who you will ask along on the ride. Watching you over these past two has been an inspiration. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Carole. There are a ton of blogs about Indie publishing how to’s, what not to do’s, and where it all can lead. The amount of information is overwhelming, even for me . I’m definitely a fan of stepping back and trying to see the big picture and not getting too attached to the outcome.

      Long tail sales depend on the quantity of quality products an author can produce and how well they can market their books. All of it simply takes time and consistent effort. No need to lose my head over it:-) I mostly feel like Dorrie the fish these days, I “just keep swimmin’.

  2. Hi PJ, happy second birthday! 🙂 I am not an indie writer, but I’ve been writing seriously for 7 years and my first novel is coming out in December. I think all of your advice works for me too. The one I’m working on right now is “relax and breathe.” If I don’t do that, then I’ll miss some of the joy along the journey.

    1. Congrats on the upcoming release, Lynn! Persistence definitely pays off. And yes, the relax and breathe technique is most helpful in staying balanced. Best of luck and thanks for visiting with me!

  3. Hi PJ, It’s fun to read how you feel about your experiences two years later. Give yourself a big pat on the back and enjoy every minute of this fabulous journey we call indie publishing! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Gemma. It’s been a fun (if not bumpy) ride. I’m looking forward to many more years of sharing my stories with readers and meeting wonderful people along the way. Maybe someday I’ll be able to say I’ve put in my time and see the monetary return we all are striving for. I have another fifteen years to go before I’ll need to fund my retirement, LOL.

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