We have been very lucky and had a great response so far from people wanting to help out with the Indie Author Help Page. Today Bianca Sloane is in the hot seat, sharing her wisdom on this business. Thank you so much, Bianca!
We will continue to accept answers to these questions indefinitely so, why not? Share what you’ve learned with others! We can all learn from one another. What works? What doesn’t? The best way to find out is through actual experience.
Find those questions here:
Amazon: Bianca Sloane
1. How did you decide to become an indie author?
Back in the early 2000’s, I tried to find an agent, but to no avail. Discouraged, I let my writing fall to the wayside. Fast-forward to 2012 and an article I stumbled onto that changed everything. I used to follow late film critic Roger Ebert on Twitter and he retweeted an article about Amanda Hocking’s success with eBooks. Reading that article was like a lightbulb exploding over my head and after learning everything I could about the industry and doing some tweaking to my craft, I published my first novel, “Killing Me Softly,” at the end of 2012.
2. What genre do you write in and why?
I write psychological suspense novels because I love figuring out puzzles: whodunit, whydunit, howdunit.
3. What social media sites do you use and can you offer a tip for each one?
I use Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.
Twitter: Don’t tweet “buy my book” ad nauseum. Show your personality by interacting with others and being genuine.
Facebook: It’s okay to be a little personal on Facebook without a blow-by-blow of what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day. Post vacation pics, mention movies you’ve seen, TV shows you like. Again, you can show your personality without going overboard.
Goodreads: Post the books you’re reading so readers can follow along. Also, the Ask the Author feature is a great way for readers to reach out to you with questions about your books.
Pinterest: I use Pinterest to build boards for my books featuring who I would cast in the movie of my book (maybe one day!), book quotes and more.
4. How important is blogging to an indie author in your estimation?
I think it’s great for building the all-important author platform. Use your blog to share writing tips or other things that fit your author brand and to again, show a little about who you are. For example, my tagline is “Suspense Novels about the Dark Side of Love,” so I post blogs about my “Top Five Favorite Suspense Novels.”
5. How do you go about getting reviews?
I actively reach out to book bloggers who read in my genre. I can honestly say, it’s been a huge piece of the marketing puzzle for me.
6. What do you price your books at and do you give away free copies?
When I came into the industry at the end of 2012, I priced at $.99, as everything I’d read pointed to that being a sweet spot. Earlier this year, I raised my prices to $2.99. I only wish I’d done it sooner!
I do give away free copies of my books. I take advantage of KDP Select Free Days as well as Goodreads giveaways (for paperbacks). My novel, “Killing Me Softly,” is available as a permafree (permanently free) book on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.
7. Do you use a cover artist or make the cover yourself?
I have an amazing cover artist, Torrie Cooney. She’s been invaluable to me on this crazy journey.
8. What do you do about editing?
I’ve started to engage a developmental editor to help me identify plot holes and other weak spots. I also use a copyeditor and proofreader and have also started to do my own “audio edit,” where I load the book onto my Kindle and read along while it reads the text out loud to me. It’s amazing the number of errors that get caught using that method.
9. What do you do when sales are slow to encourage more books to be sold?
I haven’t paid for any advertising, though that’s something I’m planning to do in the near future now that I have a bit of a backlist. Setting one of my books to permafree a few months ago provided a huge boost in sales across my other books and a recent Countdown Deal I did for my novel, “Every Breath You Take,” provided a nice bump as well.
10. What do you know now, that you wish you had known before?
I wish I had realized just how time-consuming this business is. It’s 24/7. Sometimes, you have to force yourself to step away from the computer and remember to re-engage with your life. Still, I love it and wouldn’t change a thing.
11. Do you use a mailing list or newsletter to promote?
Yes, I send out a newsletter to my mailing list when I have a new release.
12. Any further advice, tips or tricks you think would help others?
Even if you write standalone novels (such as I do), don’t think you can’t brand your book covers to look the same (see Gillian Flynn, Danielle Steele, John Grisham – especially his early books). Branding your covers sets the expectation in the mind of the reader about what kind of book they’re going to get from you, which in turn, encourages them to buy more of your books.
Be prepared for the long haul and don’t be afraid to experiment with blurbs, covers, pricing, etc. Above all else, keep writing!
13. Where do you sell the largest majority of your books and do you do just ebooks or print as well?
The majority of my sales come from eBooks on Amazon. I do offer print versions of my books as well, though they make up a very small percentage of my overall sales. Still, it’s great to offer that option to readers.