Today Elizabeth Tyree is joining us to share her experience as an indie author. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, Elizabeth! You can find the answers of other authors who have been generous enough to help us out on the resource page of this blog and the blog of Charles Yallowtiz . Feel free to answer the questions and send an email if you would like to share your own experience. Every bit of knowledge we can get helps! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You can find Elizabeth’s Author Central Page HERE with a list of all her books.
1. How did you decide to become an indie author?
It was 2012 and I had already completed 2 novels in my Stone Dragon Saga and was working on the 3rd, but could not seem to find an agent. In all reality, I sent maybe 4 or 5 queries to agents and only a couple to publishers before just giving up and deciding to die in obscurity (I was rather outwardly dramatic at that point). Then my father, who is a minister and spiritual author, pointed me in the direction of CreateSpace. He had published his long time work with that site a few months earlier and was enjoying all of the benefits of having control over his projects. I researched, wrote, and eventually chose to use the site as well. I love it!
2. What genre do you write in and why?
I typically write in YA fantasy. I love the freedom you have to really delve into both the crazy amazing creativity children and teens enjoy (but many adults forget) and the depth of characters you can bring out at the same time.
I also have some picture books, a children’s adventure book, leveled science readers (fictional animal stories with facts), and new adult/adult short stories that I enjoy working on occasionally. Each different age group and genre offers a new challenge and new opportunities for creativity.
3. What social media sites do you use and can you offer a tip for each one?
Twitter – I try to tweet a few times a day, but do my best to make 85-90% of those tweets personal. I interact with people, post about my day or my writing, and include teasers when something I’m writing seems like it would grab a body. Don’t just advertise 24/7 or you’ll get unfollowed and blocked pretty quickly!
Facebook – Dad and I have a page together for our Tyree Tomes platform (since we are both authors, we put the Tyree Tomes logo on publications etc.) We post interesting tid-bits, blog posts, teasers, and occasionally personal factoids or questions to our followers.
Goodreads – I love the Ask the Author options, as well as being able to see if people have added my title to lists etc. I’m still very new to this site though.
4. How important is blogging to an indie author in your estimation?
I believe blogging is incredibly important for an indie author, and probably for most authors! Not only does it help you build your platform, brand, and followers; it helps connect you to people who write in your genres or age levels. Having a support system that understands when you suddenly lose the storyline or someone to talk to when you suddenly decide to switch it up and write something completely different than ever before is absolutely invaluable!
5. How do you go about getting reviews?
This is something I need to work on! I do utilize the free give away option on Kindle and request that people who read the books review them. I also use Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to remind/ask people for their opinions in review form.
6. What do you price your books at and do you give away free copies?
They are currently $12-$15 for the physical copies and $4 for the e-book. I do give away free copies, mostly through Kindle. However, I did a combined give away recently where I had Dragon on My Neck free for e-download and if you posted that you a) had reblogged my post about it, b) had downloaded the book, or c) already had the book I entered you in a drawing (every time someone used you as a reference, or you reblogged, etc you got another entry). Then 2 people won a physical copy, signed and personalized!
7. Do you use a cover artist or make the cover yourself?
I have made all but one of my covers myself and the other was made by my mother, who is an artist and about to embark on the adventure of being an illustrator!
8. What do you do about editing?
I have used Beta readers in the past, although I do the first three full edits with minimal assistance from ‘outsiders’. This past year I also used passages needing to be edited in my 5th grade writing class. It boosted their confidence and helped me out!
9. What do you do when sales are slow to encourage more books to be sold?
I post teasers, have free give away days, and make sure to link up in my blogs. I haven’t done any paid advertising yet, but I plan to try it soon.
10. What do you know now, that you wish you had known before?
I wish I had known the time it takes and all the work you need to do in order to be an Indie author. As an Indie Author you need to be the author, editor, PR rep, advertising agent, and usually the financial backer as well. That takes a LOT of time and research even without the writing part of the deal. I wouldn’t trade it for much of anything!
11. Do you use a mailing list or newsletter to promote?
I do not use either, though I have been thinking about it. In the past I have always just used the blog and social media outlets for promotions.
12. Any further advice, tips or tricks you think would help others?
Set a schedule and write a to-do list! Don’t just think ‘oh I’ll do that tomorrow’ without actually scheduling it out, especially if you’re like me. I have to write it out or I forget all about the tasks I meant to finish, and then I’m up all night trying to get things done. Do this for everything, not just your actual writing time, but time spent on social media, time spent advertising, promoting, cleaning house, and cooking food. Schedule it out and you’ll get a lot more taken care of without as many frustrations (most days anyway).
13. Where do you sell the largest majority of your books and do you do just ebooks or print as well?
I do both e-books and print, though 95% of sales are of the e-book variety