Indie Author Help Page Answers Elizabeth Tyree

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! (readfulthings@gmail.com)

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

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Author Help Page Answers: Duncan M Hamilton

Today, Author Duncan M Hamilton is sharing his wisdom and experience with us. Thank you, Duncan! (He really has some great advice!)

You can find Duncan’s Amazon Author Page here:

http://www.amazon.com/Duncan-M.-Hamilton/e/B00BOUK5ZA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1438180933&sr=8-1

1. How did you decide to become an indie author?

I’ve been writing all my life, but always as a hobby, and never as something I thought I could make a living at. When a relative fell seriously ill, she said not to get to that point in your life with any regrets. Publishing one of the books I had written was my first thought. It was around the time self publishing was getting some media attention, so I decided to give it a try.

2. What genre do you write in and why?

I write in Fantasy. Historical fiction was always my thing, but I usually hit a road block when historical events wouldn’t allow my story to progress. For that genre, I’ve never liked the idea of playing free and easy with real events, so this was a bit of a problem. One day it struck me that making up my own history would not only help solve this, but would also be a lot of fun! I haven’t looked back!

3. What social media sites do you use and can you offer a tip for each one?

A WordPress based website and blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads author profile, and a Google Plus page that I never use. I’m not great at this stuff, so the main tip I’d suggest is the thing I rely on. I have my WordPress set up so my blog posts are automatically shared on the other sites, populating them with content and saving me a lot of effort!

4. How important is blogging to an indie author in your estimation?

In honesty, I don’t know. I don’t blog that often, and probably far less than I should, because it’s not something I’m particularly good at. When I do, it’s limited to book related news, and things that give me inspiration. I’ve always seen it as a resource for people who’ve already encountered my work to visit, rather than a tool to grow my audience. Not sure if this is the best approach or not. Probably not.

5. How do you go about getting reviews?

For my first book, I spent some time making a list of all the review sites and book bloggers that were open to my genre, then went about emailing them all (it took quite a while!). I mailed nearly two hundred sites, heard back from about 10, of which 4 ended up posting reviews, so it can be something of an uphill battle.

6. What do you price your books at and do you give away free copies?

They range from $2.99 to $5.99. I’ve given away some copies as part of promotions, but I don’t have a permanently free title.

7. Do you use a cover artist or make the cover yourself?

I use a cover artist. In my opinion, the cover is too important not to have expert input.

8. What do you do about editing?

I use professional editors.

9. What do you do when sales are slow to encourage more books to be sold?

Panic! Work harder to get another release ready sooner. This is something I really don’t have much of an answer for. There’s no silver bullet that I’m aware of. If you have one, I’m listening!

10. What do you know now, that you wish you had known before?

I can’t think of anything. There’s so much information out there for writers looking to venture into self-publishing, that a bit of time spent researching can cover most of the pitfalls before plunging in. As with anything, there are minor things I change and refine with each book, but they’re more matters of personal preference rather than anything substantive.

11. Do you use a mailing list or newsletter to promote?

Yes, I do. Conventional wisdom is that it’s pretty important. I can’t say with any certainty how helpful it’s been for me.

12. Any further advice, tips or tricks you think would help others?

If you hope to make a career out of this, behave professionally in all areas and at all times. Only release your work when it has the level of production quality you would expect from a book you buy.

13. Where do you sell the largest majority of your books and do you do just ebooks or print as well?

Amazon, with Kobo in second place. I have my novels available in print through print on demand.