Business or Hobby?

For those visitors that are new to my blog, I indie published my first 6100 word short story “Fire Starter” on 12/06/2010 to Smashwords for $0.00. The short story was about one of the main characters in my first three-book Space Opera Broken series.

After readers downloaded the FREE short story over 2000 times, I changed the price to $0.99. And watched as more readers discovered it online and purchased it.

I saw the potential of making a living from writing, both fiction and non fiction and leapt into writing and publishing the Indie way. And continued to learn every aspect of this business along the way.

Jumping forward to now, I have 25 eBooks published via Smashwords and Amazon, and a steady income (if rather small) each month. I also have 15 of these eBooks on Createspace as Print on Demand paperbacks.

I do check Twitter at least 4 times a year for about 15 minutes, and go to Goodreads to make sure each new publication is showing in my Book List on my Author Page, but that is the extent of my Social Media effort, other than this blog.

I spend up to an hour a day reading blog posts of other authors and publishers, and adding to comments and discussions about the business of indie publishing on a few different forums.

I spend most of my time writing stories and publishing them. The more I can write and publish in a year is the best advertisement for my other stories. However, I can not produce a novel length story every month like some other Indie Authors, but I am working on producing 3 or 4 novels a year from now on, allowing 3 months to write, edit, format and release each story.

There is no marketing, no Facebook or Google Advertisements running, or whatever the latest fad is in becoming a best seller the month of release of your latest publication.

I realised I am dividing my time between management of my backlist (20%) and writing new stories (80%) and decided it was time to sign up for the Indie Author Fringe event in October with a focus on Running an Author Business. Just to see what I can do to help sales of my backlist other than “write the next story”.

You can check out past Fringe Events as well as check out the Business Focus Fringe Event details here.

Other interesting blogs were:

Jane Friedman’s blog article “What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media?

I know that my website is used to grow my email list and that is more important than all the social media sites available. Why? Social media does not sell books. It brings awareness of The Author and the author’s books, but it does not sell anything.

Social Media Just for Writers has a blog, “5 Reasons Why You should Be a Social Media Minimalist”.

Notice the passive selling of her latest book at the bottom of the article in her About the Author paragraph. I am not recommending you get the book, but you could put your own latest publication link at the bottom of your own blog articles and track the clicks of your blog visitors who check out your latest publication. That is gathering data that you will not get from Amazon or any other distributors. Your blog and website are more important than social media sites.

Having said that about Social Media, there is another side to social media, bringing awareness to your readers on social media sites where your readers gather including links to your books, or email list, or sales. I include my email signup, author and publishing site links in the back of each book so that it is easy for the reader to find more stories or sign up to be notified when the next in series is published.

You could sign up for Frances Caballo’s free email-based course to find out how you are doing online and how to save time on social media.

And as a free gift, receive her book Twitter Just for Writers.

Another article, “5 FAQs about Indexing: Why Indie Authors of Non-fiction Need Indexes And How to Create an Effective Index “ informed me that it costs at least USD $3.50 – $5.50 per indexable page to pay an Indexer to format an Index at the back of Non-fiction print books.

That means for a non -fiction book of 100 pages it would cost USD $350.00 to $550.00 for an index, and much more for a longer book.

Are you prepared to spend that amount of money to create an index?

Or you could purchase my book Creating Print on Demand Interiors & Covers using Scribus 1.4.1  for USD $12.99 (print) or USD $5.99 (ebook), and learn to create your own Index or Table of Contents while laying out your print book inside Scribus, a FREE program similar to InDesign.

See how I did that? I passively included a link to Tift Publishing with more details on my non-fiction book.

Do you treat your Indie Publishing as a hobby or as a business?

Are you using your blog or website to help sell your books? I hope so.

If you have other free, passive advising tips to share on marketing on your blog or web sites let me know in the comments.

Keep writing and having fun.

2 comments so far

  1. E.K. Carmel on

    As I’m gearing up to finally publish my first novel on Amazon, I’m thinking a lot about the business end of things. Working on setting up an email list and newsletter and reader magnet. Then all that legal stuff with finances and taxes. Ugh. But very necessary.

    I’ve attended the Indie Author Fringe before and learned quite a lot. I’m sure you will too. Thanks for the blog links. I’ll check those out.

    Right now I’m in the middle of a monster-sized free course A to Z of Self Publishing offering by Iain Rob Wright and it’s been very helpful.

    Good luck with your new publishing schedule. 3-4 books a year is what I hope to accomplish eventually.

    • D J Mills on

      Good luck with publishing your story. You can do it. It seems daunting at the start, but just do one step at a time. Get your signup page, and Mailchimp or other email list program connected.
      Then format first book for eBook and POD and upload. Leave alone and write the next story.
      No advertising or other stuff. Just produce stories and publish.
      Rinse and repeat.
      And don’t blog every day like some, just every so often. I try to blog once a month, and any other blogs are announcing my next published story or something interesting other authors might like to know. This leaves more time to write.
      I will check out the A to Z of self publishing. Might learn something new. 🙂

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