Hot New Release – The Third Fan: A Reed Ferguson Mystery

The Third FanIt’s been a busy spring, and part of that is because I’ve been working hard on the latest Reed Ferguson mystery, The Third Fan. This is the 9th book in the Reed Ferguson series, and it’s one of  the best yet!

Here’s a little bit about it:

Reed Ferguson returns in another page-turner mystery set in the world of professional baseball.

When Charlie Preston, second baseman for the Colorado Rockies, is suspected of murdering his best friend, Pete Westhaven, he turns to Denver private investigator Reed Ferguson for help. Reed believes in Charlie’s innocence, so he takes the case. But as Reed digs into the murder victim’s past, he quickly finds himself ensnared in the clandestine underworld of illegal steroids. As the lists of suspects grows, Reed battles not only to solve the crime, but also to save the person he loves most.

All of Reed’s pals are back in this humorous tale with a clever homage to film noir.

This is great for fans who love a fast-paced, humorous read, without a lot of swearing or sex.

Here are some early reviews:

The Third Fan is another winner in the consistently outstanding Reed Ferguson mystery series. Renee Pawlish’s main objective in her books seems to me to be to afford people the opportunity to have fun reading books, and, if that’s true, she never fails to accomplish this.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this and any of the other books by this author as she is quite talented at telling an engaging story.

The plot is a mystery without any gimmicks. As the book progresses and more clues are uncovered you will enjoy the feeling that you can solve the crime … of course you might be wrong.

Get your copy at the following retailers:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble US
Barnes & Noble UK
iBooks
Google
Kobo

The Third Fan hit the Hot New Release in Private Investigator Mysteries (a few spots behind Sue Grafton) – check it out:

Hot New Release

Thanks to all my fans for the support – this year has started out big, and it’s only getting better with each day – and it’s because of all of you!

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Indie Authors – On Writing At Pulp Speed

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

As we barrel through 2015, I’m going to write a series of short posts that I’m calling my “On” series. These posts will be my random thoughts on writing, the business of marketing your works, and more. 2014 was the best year I’ve had as a writer, both in terms of writing itself and in terms of financial gain and overall satisfaction with this business (and for me it is a business…one that I love, but still a business).  I’ve gained a lot of knowledge along the way. I’ve focused heavily on ways to market my works and it’s paying off. So without further ado, today’s post is about writing fast.

Indie Authors – Writing At Pulp Speed

A lot has been said on this subject, but I would encourage you to look at Dean Wesley Smith’s post about writing at pulp speed. He makes good points about writing fast, but also writing well.

Pulp Speed writing takes a love of learning about writing and a love of learning how to keep improving on telling stories.

I don’t necessarily agree with him about rewriting, but I do believe that the more you work at this craft, the easier it becomes…

Indie Authors – It Gets Easier The More You Do It

Maybe it’s just me, but the more I write, the faster I get, and the easier it is to put words on page…words that make sense. I’ve always been a pantser, and I write somewhat instinctually. I don’t consciously think ok, this is the end of Act I, now what? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the more you write, the easier the whole process becomes because you’re figuring things out. You’re understanding the craft that’s behind the scenes. And the stories flow. Remember how we’re told it take a blah hours to master something? Think writing and storytelling is any different?

Indie Authors – What Works For You?

Figure out what works for you. You may need quiet. You may need music. Or time in the morning. Or at night. Don’t worry about how others are doing it. Do what works for you. Too many authors spend valuable time worrying about how others do things. Stop. You are unique, your writing voice is unique, and how you do things is unique. If you’re reading advice (including this), take what works for you and toss the rest. But know this, a book isn’t written unless you DO something…like write.

Indie Authors – Goals

Set goals. If 1,000 words a day is what you can do, then do it. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit that goal, just try harder the next day. I try to hit or exceed this goal every day. Sure, I miss days some days. But trying to write every day keeps me in the story and it means I’m producing more, faster.

And think about this: if your goal is a 50,000 word novel, and you write 300 days out of the year (taking 65 days off), you can produce six novels in a year.  Six! Not bad. I did that last year, and most of that came from May through December. Why so much, so fast? I set goals and I stuck to them. I wanted to produce novels that badly. And most of the time, I actually try to write a chapter a day, and since my chapters typically are 1500-2000 words, I usually am above my goal…and I just keep going.

Indie Authors – Why Produce So Much, So Fast?

Okay, some will disagree, but here’s my take on this (and I’m not the only one who feels this way). The more books I have, the more discoverability I have. And having series is a huge thing, as well as choosing a popular genre (more on these two points soon). If you only have a few books to sell, you limit how much you can sell. Yes, there are exceptions – authors who sold a lot with one book, or a few. But they’re called exceptions for a reason. Most of us need more product out there in order to be seen.

Indie Authors – My Goals

Sometimes telling others is a good way of sticking to goals. So here’s mine, I want to write nine novels this year. They may not all get published this year but I’m going to write nine. This is with a full-time job, building a house, and when construction is complete, moving into it. Will I hit that goal? Who knows, but I’m going to try. And I’ve already got one under my belt, as I just delivered the third Noah Winter adventure to my editor yesterday. And I’m plotting the next Reed Ferguson mystery on my drive to and from Arizona for vacation.

And speaking of vacation, that’s where I’ll be for the next ten days…but also thinking about novels :)

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New Release – Sweet Smell of Sucrets

I’m so excited to announce the release of the 8th novel in the Reed Ferguson mystery series, Sweet Smell of Sucrets.  Early reviews have been awesome - I’m told my writing is getting better and better with each book (so nice to hear), and readers love how the characters are growing  Here’s a bit about the book:

Sweet Smell of SucretsIn a nightmarish turn of events, Reed finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of Denver private investigator Noel Farrell. Wrongly accused but unable to provide a convincing alibi, Reed has to work overtime to clear his own name. As Reed untangles a complex trail of clues, he learns that Farrell had discovered something much more disturbing than the usual, run-of-the-mill PI case and had attempted to contact Reed for help. Unfortunately, whoever murdered Farrell wants Reed dead, too. But can Reed find the killers before they get to him?

Filled with the usual dose of film noir and humor, the eighth book in this acclaimed mystery series brings back all of Reed’s cohorts, including girlfriend Willie, Cal, and the Goofball Brothers.

You can pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Google. It will be available at Kobo soon.

In case you’ve missed the other titles, here they are in order:

* Book 1: This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies (Free eBook)
* Book 2: Reel Estate Rip-off
* Book 3: The Maltese Felon
* Book 4: Farewell, My Deuce
* Book 5: Out Of The Past
* Book 6: Torch Scene
* Book 7: The Lady Who Sang High
* Book 8: Sweet Smell Of Sucrets
* short story: Elvis And The Sports Card Cheat

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Indie Authors – 2014 In Review

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

Wow, has another year come and gone.  Doesn’t seem possible.  A lot has happened this past year but I’m not going to break it all down by month because it takes too long.  Here are some things that come to mind in the publishing world, followed by some of my ramblings about the state of writing.

Amazon and Hachette

Gawd, how much did we have to hear on this from both sides?  If I was breaking this post down month-by-month, I could’ve put something in each month for almost the entire year.  After a point, my feeling was who cares?  So much cyberspace devoted to this and in the end, did it affect your writing or selling?  Probably not. And the result: Hachette signed a multi-year deal that will allow them to set ebook prices. Personally, I am with some other indie authors who say great! Higher prices on traditionally published books makes my higher-priced books (but still priced well below theirs) look better to buyers.

Amazon and KU

Amazon announces Kindle Unlimited, a monthly subscription service that allows members unlimited access to ebooks and audiobooks.  Depending on who you talk to, it’s a great thing or horrible.  I do find it interesting that some very big names are saying that KU has hurt their sales, some as much as 70%.  As with so much of what Amazon does, we have indie authors in both camps.

Indie Authors Selling On Other Platforms

Albeit it’s just a sampling on Kindleboards, but many authors are reporting that while their sales on Amazon have dropped since KU, they’ve seen a rise in sales on other platforms.  Many also state that they sell better on other platforms than Amazon.  Is the ‘Zon’s dominance coming to an end?  Again, it depends on who you talk to.  I’ve found, as many others, that it takes some time to build a following on other platforms, but once you do, the sales maintain better than they do at Amazon.

Blogging and Social Media

For indie authors, are they dead?  I would postulate that for the most part, the answer is yes.  Certainly the days of authors selling lots of books by tweeting, sharing on Facebook and through their blogs is long gone.  Yes, those platforms are ways to connect with readers, but those are usually your fans who already bought your books and they want to know about you.  And speaking of fans, I am going to create a new blog that is tied directly to my new website (coming soon), and the posts will be for fans: posts about film noir, detective fiction and things that they will like.  Not that there’s anything wrong with this blog, but just changing focus a bit.

Barnes & Noble and Nook Are Still Here

Interesting, in Indie Authors – 5 Predictions For 2014, I postulates that Barnes & Noble isn’t going away anytime soon.  I’ll stand by that, at least for 2015.  And I still wonder if we’re going to hear that Alibaba buys the Nook division.  If that happens, watch out Amazon.

Amazon and Audiobooks

In March, Amazon changed its royalty rate for audiobooks.  That, combined with KU, have hurt audiobook sales for many authors.  I’m not sure where all this is going, and I’m not sure what to do about ACX (Amazon’s audiobook division).  What once seemed like a great thing to do, doesn’t seem so anymore.  But how to sell with another audiobook site?  That’s the tough question.  I’ll be monitoring this closely.

Bookbub Maintains Dominance

Bookbub still seems the go-to place to advertise, and their rates keep going up, but have they lost some of their effectiveness?  I hear rumblings of this.  My feeling is it depends on a lot of things: the book, the genre, the price, and how many times it’s been featured on their site.  I do think it’s interesting that indie authors speculate that Bookbub makes most of its money from affiliate clicks.  But have you ever added up what they make each day just from the advertising cost they charge authors?  It’s staggering.  And there are lookalikes coming on the market all the time, and I say great – competition is good.

So, I’m sure I’ve missed many things, and I’d love to hear what you feel was newsworthy for indie authors in 2014.  And, as always, I hope you all have a great 2015!

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Featured Author Betta Ferrendelli

A Crime Collection Boxed SetI realized that I neglected to feature the final author for my boxed set A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-pumping Mystery Thrillers.  If you haven’t checked out this set, I encourage you to do so while it’s still available.  The last author featured is Betta Ferrendelli.  Betta writes the Samantha Church mysteries and here is a bit more about her.

What do you love about writing? What do you hate (if anything)?

I love everything about writing, but I love what Mark Twain once said about writing, which is true, really, for just about anything: He said: I love writing, but I love having written better.

Do you have a favorite movie that inspires your writing?

My favorite movie is Fried Green Tomatoes, which inspired me to write my first book which is still in manuscript form, called Last Things. Now that I have at least a series with my Samantha Church mystery books, I am going to focus on getting that book ready to publish in 2015.

What has your publishing journey been like?

Long, looooooooong and looooooooooong! Lots of ups and downs and a very interesting journey! I have tried the traditional route and would still consider an agent at this point as well, but I think the e-publishing route has also benefited me. Technically speaking, I have an agent, who continues to shop a non-fiction children’s book about a Denver wild animal dentist, but there hasn’t been much interest. We did have a children’s publisher about two years ago, Tricycle Press, a division of Random House, but shortly after we signed the contract and were about to begin writing the book, Random House closed that division. Since we had just signed with Tricycle Press and hadn’t started writing, we weren’t picked up. We did have another offer on the book along with Tricycle, Scholastic Books and, of course, we went back to them after Tricycle closed, but as you can imagine, they were no longer interested. And so it goes!

Who is your favorite author and why?

I don’t have a favorite author per se, but I do like Elizabeth Berg. Her books have the best dialogue between characters. It is very real and lifelike.

Betta’s Bio:

I realized that I was going to be a writer when I was in the seventh grade and I was standing at my mother’s bedroom window and watching it rain. I wrote a poem about the rain that was later published my high school’s newsletter.

I have written since, including professionally since 1989, as a journalist. I have worked at newspapers in Denver, Seattle and Albuquerque. I have won many awards as a journalist including two national awards for excellence in editorial writing. Today, I write for a health-care magazine.

When I am not writing, I spend a lot of my free time working out and involved in sports, running, biking, hiking and tennis. I also love being outside doing yard work. I used to love going to our ranch in southern Colorado, but everything burned to the ground last summer during a wildfire. This was the first year since the late 1980s that we did not have the ranch to go this summer. We still have it, but everything is gone and it is as flat now as my kitchen table.

Do yourself a favor and check out Betta’s books; The Friday Edition is a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medalist in Mystery. And download your copy of A Crime Collection – it’s FREE!

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Featured Author R.S. Guthrie

Honor Land - R.S. GuthrieAs I continue to showcase authors included in the boxed set A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-pumping Mystery Thrillers, I’m pleased to feature R.S. Guthrie. Rob is an award-winning author and has a couple of series, the Bobby Mac thrillers and the James Pruett mysteries. So without further ado, here’s Rob:

What do you love about writing? What do you hate (if anything)?

For me, it is the most natural thing. It makes me feel alive, as if I am fulfilling the purpose of my own being. The business end of it is like any job, and can be frustrating, stressful, etc. But the writing? It is effortless and endlessly satisfying to me.

Who is your favorite author and why?

James Lee Burke. He is a poet dropped into the body of a Mystery writer. He was the first

A young R.S. Guthrie

The budding writer.

writer I read that convinced me of my own voice; that one did not have to make a choice between writing “literary” prose or “selling out”, commercially, to make a living. He is a two-time Edgar (Mystery Writers of America best novel of the year) winner and has also received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the MWA’s prestigious Grand Master award. Yet his prose is as eloquent as it is engaging and readable.

I had the honor of speaking with him, one-on-one, in Montana, where he now spends most of his time. He is every bit the Southern gentlemen and a wondrous treasure to the literary community (and his daughter, Alafair, is following—quite successfully—in his footsteps.

What’s the best feedback you’ve gotten from a fan?

A fan once told me that she’d never read a writer who had put it all together in the way that my writing did. It actually brought tears to my eyes, and I am not one who allows what others think sway me too much in one direction or the other. But her words were a kind of an affirmation that I had chosen that correct path in the woods.

Do you have a favorite movie that inspires your writing?

The Shawshank Redemption (based on Stephen King’s short story, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption). Beyond being an outstanding, motivational movie, its tagline just keep me afloat: Fear keeps you prisoner; Hope can set you free.

Here’s a little more about Rob:

R.S. Guthrie with dogR.S. Guthrie grew up in Iowa and Wyoming. He has been writing fiction, essays, short stories, and lyrics since college.

“Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel” marked Guthrie’s first major release and it heralded the first in a series of Detective Bobby Macaulay (Bobby Mac) books. The second in the series (Lost) hit the Kindle shelves December of 2011. Reckoning closes out the trilogy. For now…

Guthrie’s “Blood Land” is the first in the Sheriff James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series and represents a project that is close to his heart: it is set in a fictional town in the same county where he spent much of his childhood and still visits. The sequel, Money Land, hit the shelves Christmas Day, 2012. Honor Land, the third in the bestselling James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series is due out in 2014.

Guthrie lives in Colorado with his wife, three young Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who thinks she is a 40-pound Aussie!

Readers can catch up with what’s new with R.S. Guthrie at his official site, http://www.rsguthrie.com , or discussions related to writing at his blog, Rob on Writing (http://robonwriting.com).

Do yourself a favor and check out Rob’s books; you won’t regret it. And download your copy of A Crime Collection – it’s FREE!

 

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Featured Author Simon Jenner

A Crime Collection - RedAs I continue to interviews authors that are featured in the boxed set A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-pumping Mystery Thrillers, I’d like to introduce you to the fantastic author Simon Jenner! Simon writes the Ethan Justice thrillers that are fast-paced and full of action. Let’s get to know a bit more about Simon.

What do you love about writing? What do you hate (if anything)?

It’s definitely a love hate relationship for me.  I love it when I’ve written a scene that works for me, when I feel it when I read it back, despite knowing every detail that’s coming.  I How hard could it bealso love the climax as all the stages of getting a book published are completed and it goes live.  The mixture of excitement and fear are an unbelievable rush as you wait for the feedback to appear.  And, of course, I love any great reviews that happen to come my way – who doesn’t!  My main hates are the days when words come but they read as though a four-year-old wrote them, and also getting bogged down and losing faith in a story. This picture sums up the bad days! That being said, I’ve never enjoyed anything else as much in my life – if that isn’t mixed up, I don’t know what is.

Tell us about this series: what inspired it? What makes this series different from others?

The “Ethan Justice” series was inspired by my desire to read an action thriller whose hero is NOT a highly trained professional who can kick ass at the drop of a hat. So I came up with a hero born of circumstance – a lost soul with hidden depths that only surface under extreme conditions. I hope readers can relate to the everyman as he battles his risk-averse nature to become the man of the moment. This is part of what keeps the series different.  The other factor is that readers can really get into the disturbed mind of the antagonists. They are written in the first person present tense so I could really put across what makes them tick.

Who inspires you?

My wife and son.  Without them nothing would ever get written.  They are my rocks and the reason I get up in the morning.

What’s the first story you ever wrote?

Hell, I don’t know!  I used to see if I could shock my English teacher by writing particularly gory stuff with brains being flushed down toilets and suchlike.  I must have been 16 years old at the time, when dinosaurs were still roaming the planet according to my son! Earlier than that I can’t recall. 

Here’s a bit more about Simon:

Simon Jenner - AuthorI write action thrillers which will make you laugh, cringe, cry & cheer. My protagonists are capable but flawed reluctant heroes who I hope are well worth investing your time in. I am a man whose goal in life is to discover my goal in life. I live with my wife, who keeps my dream alive and whose cooking keeps my stomach tight against my trousers, and my son, a dreamer just like me. To find out more about me, please check out some of my ‘Personal Crap’ blog posts, such as ‘The 10 Most Interesting Things About Me’, ‘Selling Myself In 10 Words Or Less’ and ‘The Story of My Life in 250 Words’ on my website: http://simonjenner.com/personal-crap/ . Alternatively why not follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/simonrjenner ), ‘Like’ me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SimonJennerAuthor ), or compare books with me on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/Simon_Jenner ).

Thanks to Simon for stopping by, and I do hope you readers will download a copy of A Crime Collection – remember, it’s FREE!

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Featured Author Emily Kimelman

A Crime Collection Boxed Set

It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed indie authors, but I’m delighted to host the authors that are featured in a boxed set that I’m a part of.  It’s called A Crime Collection – 5 Heart-Pumping Mystery Thrillers. Each day I’m interviewing a different author, and today it’s Emily Kimelman! She is the author of The Sydney Rye Series (UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, INSATIABLE, STRINGS OF GLASS, and THE DEVIL’S BREATH). This series feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue (recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex). These are rollicking good mysteries! Let’s learn a little more about Emily.

What’s the best feedback you’ve gotten from a fan?

Unleased - A Sydney Rye NovelA number of people have told me that they read the Sydney Rye series while recovering from an illness and that her strength, and Blue, really helped them through that journey. When I get those emails I tear up a little bit. To think that my imaginary adventures could actually effect someone’s real life in a positive way is awesome to me.

What’s your favorite hobby?

I love horseback riding. When I was living in Costa Rica working on INVITING FIRE I worked at a horse farm down the road and spent most my afternoons galloping up hills and chasing cows and donkeys around. It was a dream come true. My horse, Mishka, loved hanging out with me and we learned a lot together about opening gates, getting over fears, and finding the most spectacular views.

Who inspires you?

So many people! I have a new series I’m doing on my blog about people who inspire me. I recently had Toby Neal (who writes the Lei Crime Series) on and next month I’ll be interviewing my good friend, Gail Cunningham. She is a cut paper artist whose work I really admire. Really, I’m inspired by anyone who let’s their creativity lead them around by the nose and isn’t afraid to let it happen.

What’s the first story you ever wrote?

Oh my God. I just found it recently. I wrote it when I was like 11 and there is drug smuggling, booze, and nudity. Really, my themes have not changed much :) I wrote in the bio that Emily Kimelman was also the author of the “Unicorn Chronicles” which I wasn’t and still am not. But damn, I wish I was.

____________________________

It’s been great for me to get to know Emily, and I appreciate her willingness to share her publishing experiences with me. She is definitely an author to watch.

I hope you check out all of Emily’s books, and get your FREE copy of A Crime Collection.

 

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A Crime Collection Boxed Set And Facebook Party

I’ve been working since the spring with four other authors on a boxed set. This collection of crime novels are all first-in-a-series and you can get them all free!

A Crime Collection Free

Five Great Mysteries

Five first-in-a-series novels

FREE

These spellbinding crime stories, filled with twists and turns, murder, intrigue and suspense, feature captivating and unforgettable characters and have been reviewed more than 1,600 times and have earned more than 750 five-star reviews and have won multiple awards.

These five full-length heart-pumping mystery thrillers are available in this very special bundle for a limited time only. They include:

THE FRIDAY EDITION – Betta Ferrendelli
BLOOD LAND – R.S. Guthrie
ETHAN JUSTICE: ORIGINS – Simon Jenner
UNLEASHED – Emily Kimelman
THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN IN THE MOVIES – Renée Pawlish (yours truly)

AND join all of us for a party on Facebook!

A Crime Collection

When: 1 pm EST/6 pm UK

Where: Facebook

Why: to chat with the authors, win FREE prizes and more!

And we’re giving away cool stuff, too!

A Crime Collection Giveaway

We’ve got hand marked manuscript pages, personal letters, a gift card, and of course, books – audiobooks, paperbacks, and ebooks!

So download your FREE copy of the boxed set from Amazon, let us know when that’s done on the entry page and you’ll be entered to win.

So get your copy now and I’ll see you on Facebook this Saturday!

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Indie Authors – Are Blogs Effective Anymore?

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time, but I was prompted to write this after reading Robert Chazz Chute’s great post, What if What We Think We Know About Writing, Publishing & Promotion is Wrong?  It’s a great post and I encourage you to read it first before you continue reading this post.

Are you back?

Okay, here are my thoughts, if anyone cares :)

Indie Authors – Blogging Is Dead

I agree with Robert here, with a caveat.  Too many indie authors write blogs about writing.  Who reads those?  Other authors.  I think the advice of writing in a niche that your readers will enjoy is where you build your blog.  Unfortunately for me, my blogs are either about the craft of writing or about film noir.  Unfortunately, film noir (a niche for readers) targets a very small audience.  Doesn’t work…oh well.

If you want to write a writing blog, this should be with other things to market (books about writing, consulting, classes, etc.).  Treat is as another revenue stream.

Write blog posts because you like it, not because you think it’s going to sell books.  If it does, great, but don’t expect it.  Write blog posts about something you and fans of your books will enjoy.  Your passion will come through and your fans will love it.

Indie Authors – How Do You Sell Books?

Not through a blog….at least for most of us.  Robert discusses the meme market your books by writing more books.  His conclusion is that this may work, it may not.  And I believe he’s right.  No, shocker!

Yes.  Here’s the thing: we’ve all heard of the outliers who are making thousands at this, and we’ve all heard that they are the exception.  This is true!  But then people say but wait, there are tons who are making a living at this.  Also true, but here’s the caveat: look at the genre they are writing in.  Almost all that I see (from Kindleboards, The Passive Guy and other sites) are writing in a romance genre or erotica.  Some are making it in action-adventure, some in sci-fi or fantasy.  It’s very hard to make a steady living in other categories.

Be aware of this.  Robert sites authors who are worrying from month to month whether they will make enough to pay the bills.  I believe this is probably where most full-time authors are.  And most are more dependent on Amazon than they would admit to (read this great post by Nick Stephenson about this).  I know a handful of authors who gave up their day jobs for writing, and then have had to go find work again (with difficulty) because the writing didn’t pan out.

My advice: be very careful before you quit that day job.  The publishing industry is in great flux and what’s gold today may not be tomorrow.

Indie Authors – My Strategy

Even though I’ve just said that writing more books may not be the answer, for myself, it’s working.  Not enough to quit the day job, but the revenue is growing.  Here’s some of what I’m doing:

Writing more books in a specific genre.

Until the last book, I’ve put all my focus on the Reed Ferguson mystery series.  I’ve just released the 7th in the series (The Lady Who Sang High).  Why?  Because this is the genre that is selling for me, I like Reed Ferguson, and most importantly, with the release of each book, I am gaining more fans.  And fans do tend to read in specific genres, as Robert notes.  Yes, you will get some rabid fans that will read anything you write (and how cool is that), but most won’t.  But having a series in a specific genre is a good revenue stream.

Many indie authors who are making money at this recognize that genre is important.  Which leads me to another strategy…

Knowing my life goals.

If you want to write what you want and you don’t care about sales, more power to you.  I want to do this for a living, so I’ve got a strategy in mind.  It involves not only writing goals, but financial goals.  I’ve always dreamed of living in the foothills, so I’m in the process of selling my house and building a home there.  Then I will pay it off as fast as I can.  No mortgage means I need less each month to live on.  And no, I’m not making a ton of money at my job.  I sacrifice in other areas to make this happen.  I’m very careful with how I spend my money so that I can achieve this goal.  It’s not everyone’s, but it’s mine.  Could I move to the family farm three hours from Denver and live there rent-free and write full-time?  Probably.  But being that far from Denver would depress me and interfere with my writing, so it’s not worth it to me.  I’ve evaluated what it will take to live on writing, what I need in savings, what I need for retirement, and much more.

I also have writing goals, like how many books I will produce each year, and each month.  People ask why I’m pushing so hard, even though I’m moving and have a lot on my plate.  Again, no one else will.  I’m driven and I love writing.  So I do it.

My point is, decide what you want and how you will achieve it.  Then you have to put the effort in.  No one else will do the work for you.

Creating multiple series in different genres.

I’ve just completed the first draft of the 2nd book in the Noah Winters adventure series.  Why am I branching out from the Reed Ferguson mystery series?  Because the Noah Winter series sells okay, especially in paperback (I believe this is the case because it’s a middle-grade novel).  The first in the series, The Emerald Quest, gets rave reviews.  I think I can build it into a decent series, it means a revenue stream.  At some point (probably next year), I will finish the Nephilim series.  I haven’t pushed it because horror doesn’t sell as well, and Nephilim will only be a trilogy, with possibly a prequel.  So a limited revenue stream.  I am also going to create a series in the action-adventure/thriller category that I hope will help sales as well.

Know my marketing goals.

I’m testing different strategies.  With the Reed Ferguson mystery series, I’m releasing books as soon as I finish them.  I try to get Bookbub ads whenever I can.  But with the Noah Winter adventure series, I am going to wait until I have three books in the series before I advertize.  Why?  Because I will advertize The Emerald Quest on Bookbub (if they’ll take it and I believe they will because there’s less competition in middle-grade books), and I should see sales of the other books.

Having multiple series in different genres also allows me the opportunity to advertize (and get accepted) more on Bookbub.  And even though most readers don’t cross genres, some will, and I’m going to take advantage of that.  I do hope that other sites (like The Fussy Librarian), will give Bookbub competition and this will mean another great place to advertize with great results (and I believe The Fussy Librarian will), but for now, there’s no arguing with Bookbub’s results.

Not relying on one vendor.

I know a lot of authors are exclusive to Amazon.  That’s fine, but for me, I don’t want to be exclusive there.  If Amazon corners the market, they can change how much they pay authors…in a negative way.  Yes, I’m saying this even though JA Konrath rudely ripped me on this :).  There are many respected authors who believe Konrath and his ilk are wrong – read Dean Wesley Smith for one.  Alibaba could make a move on Amazon, Barnes & Noble could sell its Nook reader base to Apple, Alibaba or others.  Apple and Google Play are growing.  So are foreign markets, but not through Amazon.  My marketing strategy has been to branch out and it’s working.  I sell well on Barnes & Noble, and my sales at Apple and Google Play are growing as well.  And I hear this from other authors, too.  So I’m fine with what I’m doing here.

Write fast.

This one you can’t get around, unless you get lucky and one book takes off in a big way.  But I’m finding that the more I write, the faster and easier it becomes.  It’s fun and I can’t seem to stop.  That’s where my focus is, so I don’t write many blog posts anymore.  They take up too much precious time, for too little gain.  And speaking of writing, it’s time for me to stop writing on this post and get back to the next Reed Ferguson mystery, Sweet Smell of Sucrets.

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