To celebrate the publication of my novella, Christmas with Mr Darcy, I’m hosting a special ‘Indie Month’ on my blog where bestselling authors will tell you about their latest book and share the secrets of their indie success.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome another indie bestseller – Louise Marley.
Tell us about your latest indie book
My books are basically chick lit with a murder mystery. The latest is A Girl’s Best Friend. I wanted to write something fun and glitzy and came up with this story:
Despite all the work she’s put into the family jewellery business, Danielle feels diamonds are the only thing she can rely on. When a stolen diamond inadvertently comes into her possession, and the thieves make it clear they’ll do anything to get it back, she’s forced to seek help from the one person who has more reason to hate her than anyone – her estranged sister, Isabel.
What made you decide to go indie?
I’ve written for years. I’ve had books, articles and short stories published, and won prizes for scriptwriting. It has become increasingly difficult to have a book accepted for publication, so I decided to be proactive. I owned the rights to my old books so I re-published them as ebooks through Amazon KDP. All three of these books have now been #1 in their genre and made the Amazon Top 100.
Do you design your covers yourself and write your own blurb etc?
Yes. I take a lot of time looking at the covers and blurbs of other books in my genre, trying to work out what makes them appealing to readers. This is what I try to recreate with my own books.
What are the pros and cons of going indie?
You’re independent! You can publish a book when you like, how you like, with the cover you want. And you can’t blame anyone else if the book fails to sell. The downside is that sometimes it would be helpful to have advice over whether something – a scene/cover image/whatever – is or isn’t working.
How do you publicize your books?
I tell my readers when they’re available to buy and that’s about it.
Do you think Twitter and Facebook really help in getting word out there?
They helped me because I already had several hundred followers/friends before my books were published. If you publish your book before you’re established on the social networking sites, and then talk about nothing but your book (spamming, in other words), you’ll just irritate people.
Do you read any indie authors yourself?
I read at least 2 or 3 books a week, 95% of which are ebooks. I don’t deliberately set out to read an ‘indie’ author; I buy a book because it appeals to me. I would say about 50% of the books I read are self-published, although they are usually by authors who have been traditionally published previously.
Would you accept a traditional publishing deal now?
Definitely. Although I’d like to do both …
What advice would you give to writers thinking of going indie?
Thoroughly research self-publishing. Don’t rely on information more than a few months old. Marketing strategies that worked 6 months ago won’t work now.
Write the best book you possibly can. Write the kind of book that people will want to read. Ensure it is professionally presented and looks like others in its genre.
Don’t give away your book for free, particularly if it’s your first and only book (who’ll be left to buy it?) The exceptions to this are: (a) It is the first one in a series and there are other books available to buy, or (b) It is a short seasonal story, especially written to promote your other books.
Of course, the guaranteed, sure-fire way to sell more books is to write more books!
Thanks so much for sharing some really great advice, Louise!