It’s good to be back. The allergies are not gone yet and temperatures have dipped again, but the flowers are blooming all around and . . . it’s all good.
While I was away from here, I’ve been able to check few things off my list–sent the short story collection to my editor, updated the blurbs of my current books, updated the covers (more on that soon), planned a couple of new projects for the next month–yup, been busy.
I am one chapter away from completing my first draft of “Maia–book 3,” then off it goes to Allison. Also, one read away from finishing my short story for the RWG Anthology (RWG=Rockville Writers’ Group). It has been a sneezy yet productive week.
And oh, there’s a new giveaway until April 30–sign up for my newsletter and you will be entered to win a signed, print copy of “Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy.” I can only mail to U.S. addresses at the moment though.
Anyway, this post is not about my writing milestones or weather updates but about “the importance of good teams.” Since I sent off my collection of short stories to my editor, I’ve been thinking about promoting it, which made me think about what promotions would be effective, which in turn made me pick this topic.
We all know that teams are important, right? The importance of teamwork is drilled into us from when we are tiny tots. In our daily lives we sometimes don’t put much conscious thought into it, but having a solid team is always, always important in every aspect of life. Be it the life partner, be it the office mates, be it simply the dry-cleaners–how good you fare in life, at work or how presentable you look at the important meeting depends on those teams that back you up. And same goes for indie publishing.
Indie publishing is nothing but running a small-scale (in many cases that grows to mid-sized to quite-big) business on your own. The other day someone mentioned that I was working too hard at this, to which I replied, of course I am because this is nothing but a start-up venture. And in a start-up venture, the CEO always goes without sleep for months.
We writers often forget that indie publishing is a business, which often makes way for the heartbreak when we come to realize it. After that heartbreak people either give up or give it their everything–which leads to failure or a better chance of success. Many writers don’t pick the indie path at all, not just because of the “stigma” but because the idea of running a business is not exciting to them. Writing is okay, but working the whole nine yards alone–it is not fun enough, or too intimidating.
For all those who run with it and achieve success have a few things in common, even though their approaches to achieving success may vary widely. They are all unafraid to experiment and fail and try again, and they all have a great team behind them.
In trad publishing, that team of editors, cover designers, publicists, would all be provided by the publisher. They may not have been the greatest team, but since you are stuck with them anyway, you would do whatever you have to do with them. As indies, we are lucky. We can choose. We can take years to find a perfect cover designer, but we are free to try and re-try until we are happy.
That team does not appear by magic, and it sure does not happen in a day. I have a great editor who I trust–I know she will not be afraid to hurt my feelings when she gives me the bad news that character-A serves no purpose and should be eliminated. After few years of searching, I might have also found an illustrator of choice. The last mile is promoting, and for writers that is often the toughest mile. One part of that promoting comes from online presence, which in turn comes partly from being visible on book blogs. There are many to choose from and believe me, they are not made equal. But, I might might have made some headway there.
Starting late last year I went about researching the blogger networks that host tours, launches, cover reveals and the likes. After personally speaking to ten such services and trying out a few, I realize, that like everything else, these services are not all stellar. Heck, some are not even mediocre. They exist because there are so many indies trying out different things and different services. But simply because they exist does not mean they are a great ROI (return on investment). They are sometimes simply a drain on energy and finances. One has been a standout though–in net exposure, social activity, net adds on social media and providing book reviews–it’s Juniper Grove Book Solutions.
I have found in Jaidis Shaw and her group of bloggers, the most professional team around who strive to provide the equally warm and personal attention to your book during its tours. They are timely, well organized, and have great communication skills. Most importantly, all the blogs that make up the JGBS network have good readership, which ends up translating into good exposure for a book.
Since I first worked with Jaidis a few months ago, I have signed up for three services and I plan to sign up for more. And I think I have tried out enough “others,” I will call off that search because I am happy with what I have in JGBS, a sturdy cog in the my team wheel.