Inhale, the first book in Kendall Grey’s urban fantasy romance triolgy Just Breathe, doesn’t release until May 1, 2012, but it’s already getting a ton of buzz on Facebook, Twitter, and Good Reads. I asked her how she did it. Please welcome my friend, Kendall Grey!
The Necessity of Planning in the Self-Publishing World
Thanks so much, Amelia, for asking me to write about my self-publishing experiences. I don’t know all the answers, but I’m learning a ton as I make my way through the process.
I wrote an urban fantasy romance entitled INHALE, which is due out on May 1, 2012. I have no idea whether it will be a success or not. Eventually, sales will determine the book’s value, but until the world proves me wrong, I’ll do like the Journey song says and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
When I decided to self-publish, I developed a marketing plan early on. I jumped all over social media like Facebook and Twitter, and quickly discovered that if you’re a writer, you have to be a visible force on Goodreads. Duh, people who read use that site!
Even before I had a cover, I posted INHALE’s blurb and details on Goodreads and let people in my social networks know it was there. As of this writing, the book has 148 adds—mostly “To Reads” since it’s not out yet. I think posting information early and having some good reviews really boosted those numbers. Also, someone (Cthulu bless you, whoever you are!) put INHALE on the “Most Expected Romance Titles 2012” and “Most Anticipated Books of 2012 (PNR, UF & PNYA)” lists on Goodreads. I may have gotten a few adds from that. FYI, anyone can add a book to a list, so if you are an author who wants to get noticed, toss your name into the hat and pimp it to friends who might vote for you.
I scoured the Interwebs four months ahead of my release day and composed a list of book reviewers that a) read my genre, and b) accept self-published works. This took me a week. Literally, a week. I wrote semi-personalized cover letters that included my title, genre, back cover blurb, and links to excerpts. I ended emails with a quick note that all profits from sales of my trilogy will be donated to whale education. I’m pretty sure the donation mention snagged a couple of reviewers off the fence and into my playground.
I requested reviews from 132 people/groups. I’ve secured a little over half of them. I don’t expect to hear from the rest.
All five of the reviews that have been posted on Goodreads so far are very complimentary 5-star reviews. I would love to say these great marks are because my book is so awesome, but honestly, I think it’s because the professionals I hired to help me are so awesome.
A lot of readers complain about poor quality in indie/self-published books. I cannot stress this enough: If you want to compete with the big boys in New York, you have to pay for a professional-looking book cover and an experienced editor. These are the two aspects of self-publishing you CANNOT negotiate. Not surprisingly, they’re also the two things most people skimp on or skip all together.
In a nutshell, I think indie success boils down to good planning. Whether or not INHALE’s “To reads” will turn into reviews, ratings, or sales remains to be seen. But I’m 100% certain that if you want to be a successful indie writer, you have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and be ready to take the bull(shit) by the horns. Jump in headfirst and make it happen!
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Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…
After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.
Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.
Just Breathe Novels: http://www.justbreathenovels.com
Cetacean Research Network (Whale-based companion reader site for Just Breathe Trilogy) http://www.cetaceanresearchnetwork.com
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5108885.Kendall_Grey