Wanted: A Few Undiscovered Indie Authors

It’s time for a grand experiment.  Or a couple of them.  I’ve been reading a lot about indie author salesAmazon and the KDP Select program.  Some indie authors have had great success, others have had little or no success.  I’ve put some books up for free here and there, but I’ve not tried the layering marketing approach (free days then paid promotion days after the free days), so I’m trying that this month and next.  I wonder, though, how much using KDP Select leads to long-term success…

Wanted: Indie Author Sales

As I said above, some indie authors have had great success using KDP Select and paid promotions to launch their books into the Amazon bestseller ranks, but many will say that their sales tapered off drastically within a few days of their free days.  It seems that there are a lot of people who swoop to the free lists and hoard those books – who knows if they’ll ever read the books they downloaded?  And that is probably not the point.  It’s the paid sales that you get after the free promotion that will do you the most good.  But do these promotions and sales lead to a long-term fan and buyer base?  Don’t get me wrong, I want those short-term sales…but I want long-term sales as well.

Wanted: An Indie Author Loyal Fan Base

As an indie author I want a loyal fan base.  I want readers who buy one book and says wow, that was so good I’m going to read more by this author.  I’m fine with the freebie grabbers not becoming long-term fans (if they do, awesome, but I don’t expect it).  KDP Select is a marketing game, maybe even a necessary evil, as far as I’m concerned.  I will see how my own ventures into free+paid promotion works and I will share my results in a future post.

Wanted: Other Ways To Market

indie authorsI have to wonder if there’s more to building a loyal fan base, and thus sales, than just KDP Select.  I jest.  Of course there are other ways of getting loyal readers.  And I wonder if some of these other ways of marketing will lead to more long-term success than the roller coaster of free days+paid promotion every few months (or weeks).  Here’s the thing: I’m a collector of first edition books.  I’ve been to fan conferences and writing conferences, I gone to book signings and I’ve met a lot of authors.  And I’ve bought books because of how the authors spoke about themselves and their writing, not just because I heard about their books.  There was a face-to-face connection.  This is largely being lost in this new age of publishing.  But I’m trying a grand experiment to change this, at least for myself and a few other indie authors.

Wanted: A Few Undiscovered Indie Authors

I’m exploring another way of marketing now: radio.  I’m not going to get into the details I Want Indie Authorshere, but I will share how things are going as I move ahead.  I’m sure some of you are saying it can’t be done, especially for an indie author.  And you may be right.  But I’ve got a plan working with the help of some marketing people.  It’s based on marketing principles and courses I’ve taken, and I’m now implementing them.  One of the things I’m doing is building a reading list for middle grade fiction, but here’s the key: I want undiscovered talent.  Everyone’s heard of Harry Potter, the Alex Rider spy series, and many others.  I want great indie authors who have a great book that few people have heard of.

This is a fairly informal process.  I want books that kids can’t put down.  I don’t care what the genre is, your book just can’t be boring or poorly written.  It also can’t contain lots of violence or sex (I would hope you’re not doing this in middle grade novels :) but I throw it out there).  If you think your book fits these criteria, and you choose to be a part of this experiment, let me know.  Here are the basics:

  • you need to provide a free copy of your book (ebook for Kindle)
  • your book will be vetted by a committee of readers (both adults and kids)
  • if the majority of my readers like/love your book, it will go on the list
  • if the majority don’t like it (for any reason), sorry (nothing personal)
  • your book must be primarily for middle grade readers (5-7th grades)

Those are the basics.  If you are interested, DM me on Twitter @reneepawlish or send an email to renee@reneepawlish.com with your book details and why you think I should consider your book.


If you’d like to read my middle grade book that will be on this reading list, The Emerald Quest will be free this Thursday and Friday.  This is the first in the Noah Winter adventure series and it’s getting rave reviews.

What have you got to lose?  The time it takes to contact me.  What might you gain?  A loyal fan base.

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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52 Responses to Wanted: A Few Undiscovered Indie Authors

  1. Tim Miller says:

    Sounds like a great idea. I was totally gonna jump in until you said it has to be middle grade book. Good luck though.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Send me details anyway – if this ‘vision’ goes like I think it might, I plan to venture out into other lists. Thanks for your comment, too.

  2. So, my book is technically YA (the characters are older teens), but is completely appropriate for MG, and has so far had more luck finding a fan base in 5th-8th graders than it has with the “real” teen crowd. Would you be interested in the details of that?

  3. Sounds wonderful! I am more YA, 8th grade and up, but I wish you all the best! Great post.

  4. Jay Taylor says:

    I was all in until I saw the ages… I think my book is suited for 7th grade and beyond.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for you comment. Send it along and I’ll see. Two of my beta readers are in 7th grade so it might work.

  5. Kate Mc Adams says:

    Renee, My novel is for a slightly older audience too ( 12 to 16 or 17 year olds) I guess that is YA? There are sexual situations in it as well. This idea does sound good to me however so keep me in mind for future lists/experiments. Mine is also still a work in progress.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for the comment. It probably won’t work right now, but stay tuned as I will probably do a YA list.

  6. Patty Jansen says:

    I have a MG book up, here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U6WO90 Let me know if you’re interested.

  7. Hi, I have a book that I published in 2010 called The Tower, that I think will fit your purpose. It has no foul language, but does have two scenes of violence. Neither of them are very graffic, they just happen. One is a stabbing at a prison and the other is a poisoning.

    This is the copy from the back cover which will tell you a little more about the book.

    Kidnapped from outside her home in Tulsa Oklahoma, Samantha Jensen, finds herself without memory in “The Tower”. Sam’s twin brother, Allan operates a company, IDEA (International Diagnostic Environmental Agency). The company’s personnel of scientists and Doctors travel the globe providing needed consultation and investigations into anything that affects the environment. Allan uses all of his resources to help find Sam, as well as try to keep his business operating.

    The kidnapping, smuggling, betrayal and murder take you around the world, from Tulsa Oklahoma to the Bhutan. It’s also a story of love and devotion, as well as retribution for crimes committed. There are many unexpected twists and turns woven in through the story, such as the psychic connection between the siblings.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for your comment and synopsis. It sounds more YA than middle grade – is this correct? Ie, who is your target audience?

  8. Hi Renee, sounds like a brilliant idea. Will email, but also love to keep an eye on this and see how you go with your list.

  9. Great idea, Renée, you’re right, what’s missing in this Digital Age is the face-to-face connection. I was just about to send you my details to participate when you mentioned MG. A pity because while FEAR OF THE PAST, being a coming of age novel (set in Sicily) is arguably a YA novel, and though it has no “dirty” sex and no violence as such, it really doesn’t fit into the MG category…It’s more for adults, people with an interest in History and exotic places (Sicily).

    Btw, FEAR OF THE PAST is free starting today on Amazon Kindle – until Friday 16 March. Grab a copy for yourself and dream about Sicily! Let me know how you like it – even though I can’t participate in your experiment…

  10. Hi Renée,

    Interesting idea. Thanks for putting it out there. :)
    Must it be an ebook or…
    could it be hardcover?
    (What a way to connect with a reader!)

    And a shout out to my friend Rita who let me know about your project!

    I’m game if you’ll let us play.

    KC & May the K9 Spy
    Listen to Chapter One! http://www.maythek9spy.com
    Join May’s pack at http://www.facebook.com/MaytheK9Spy

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      It doesn’t have to be an ebook but you need to be okay sending me a review copy for my group. I’ll check out chapter one. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Good luck! Alas I shall cheer you from the sidelines for now. My books have been called a lot of things…but kid friendly is NOT one of them.

    On the KDP select stuff, I’ve been very happy with the aftermath. I had a relatively modest 1 day sale (a bit over 500 downloads), however, since then my book has been a fairly stable seller. It’s been about a month since my sale and my book has been selling about six times better than it was pre-sale.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      I’ll keep you in mind for a non-kid book. And glad to hear your results are good. I shall see with mine. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

  12. Rebecca Burke says:

    This sounds like a great idea. I’ve had the same experience as others with KDP: big downloads on free days, then little after that. I do think the MG/YA market for non-genre novels like mine is a tough one. The Ahimsa Club might fit the bill for your promotion other than one thing: it does get a little graphic when describing some of the ways in which animals are mistreated (which motivates the kids to form a club to fight animal cruelty). It’s set in a middle school, so I did have this group in mind, but did not hold back on my descriptions. If you think you’d like to look at it anyway, let me know. And all the best with your idea. Love to see authors try new things to break out!

    The Ahimsa Club

    A school assembly opens Valerie’s eyes to the horror of animal abuse. But what can a 14-year-old girl do to protect animals? With others, Valerie forms the Ahimsa Club and launches the Pledge to Veg and Save the Strays campaigns. As rumors spread, she risks losing her best friends along with her reputation. Help comes from an amazing source: a famous rock star who shares the club’s views.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      It does sound interesting. I think as far as the topic, I’ll leave that to my reading group to decide. Email me for details and thanks for your comment.

  13. Renee, I definitely don’t fit this mold but would love to get in on some future iterations that might move into different areas.

  14. laura thomas says:

    What a great idea Renee! Makes me wish I was an author. But if you need a reader who will give an honest, polite review let me know. Good luck!

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for the offer – I would love to have you on the team. Send me an email and I can give you the details.

  15. Good luck to you! Anyone trying to do something positive for Indie authors has my vote! I hope it works out as you intend, and will be keeping an eye out to see the results!

  16. Renee,

    Thanks for opening up another avenue for indie authors to try to get some notice. I find it really hard to reach the middle grades through conventional “indie author” methods (Twitter/Facebook/etc.) and hope my Toonopolis books work for your group. It takes place in a cartoon universe and most kids I’ve talked to have enjoyed it.

    I have emailed you the details already but wanted to thank you more publicly. :)

    -Jeremy Rodden

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      I understand that. Thanks for commenting and sending an email. I responded and would like to have you send your story along. We’ll see where this grand experiment goes :).

  17. I never could resist anything that smells remotely like a challenge, but I’ll have to pass on this one as none of my YA books are at the point where I’m ready to do anything with them. Will be watching with interest though and if you ever need another pair of eyes and a book review blog, if it helps. Wishing you success with this project.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks, I appreciate that. I think I’m going to need some readers so if you’re up for that, let me know :).

  18. In regards to KDP Select, I started my free day yesterday and it will end tonight. I’m closing in on 5500 downloads, but the real test is sustaining long term sales afterward (as you mentioned). I plan to post the results on my website, but so far, I’m glad I did it. Good luck to you!

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      That’s great. I have yet to see those kinds of numbers, but I think genre and how much you push the free days are a big piece of it (and some who you know who will help you retweet and share helps :)). I wish you the best. Thanks for your comment.

  19. Hi, Renee,

    Well, I certainly don’t qualify, because my books aren’t YA. That being said, I would love to post about your little experiment at a later date, once the “results” are in.

    Is that possible? I run a small literary blog that gets between 6,000 – 10,000 visitors monthly, and I am always looking to promote new information about indie authors.

    Best to everyone,
    Yamina Collins

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for your comment, and heck yes! I’m shooting to be on radio shows in late April to early May (maybe earlier) and I’ll be sharing the results here and wherever. IF this goes as I plan, it will expand to other books, so you may be able to be featured down the road. Keep in touch as I’d love to share on your blog.

  20. Hi Renee! I just emailed you the information for my middle grade book, Jack Dervish, Super Spy: http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Dervish-Super-Spy-ebook/dp/B00696I7YA/
    It’s the first book in a series I just started at the end of last year, and sounds like it fits what you’re looking for, but let me know what you think!

    Thanks for this, either way ~ very cool idea!


    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for the comment, got the email and I will be checking out your books and getting back to you.

  21. alan nayes says:

    Just released RETURN TO UNDERLAND. here is nook link, will be released on kindle next week. thx. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/return-to-underland-alan-nayes/1009315638?ean=2940014336703&itm=7&usri=alan+nayes

  22. LJCohen says:

    My debut title, THE BETWEEN is a YA novel, with a 17 yo protagonist, but there is nothing inappropriate for younger readers in terms of violence or overt sexuality. Our middle school’s English teacher has brought several copies into his 6th grade classroom and has had extremely positive comments from both boy and girl 6th grade readers.

    Here is the amazon page for the book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Between-ebook/dp/B006UVP724/

    I would be very interested in participating, if you feel the book is appropriate.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks for commenting. Send it along (Kindle format) – if it doesn’t fit with this go-around, it very well could with a future list.

  23. My novel, The Lucky Boy is a little old for middle grade, might pass with the boys.

    It is YA, But
    I am a performance poet, not that the novel is long form poetry but,
    using video, sound, speaking– and radio I would love to be included.
    Even if you don’t include my recent book, interested to be included
    to help.
    I’m compiling videos of indie authors as a project.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Send a copy to my email and we’ll take a look. Thanks too for commenting. Would love help, don’t know if you’d want to be a reader…or help with promotion when we get there lol.

  24. Patrick Fox says:

    Great idea! Unfortunately my book doesn’t qualify, but I wish you all the luck in the world with this.

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