Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Attending author Leia Shaw talks about her Indie Publishing Journey

My Indie Publishing Journey by Leia Shaw

I started my writing journey almost three years ago. The first half of a book I ever wrote was crap and may never see the light of day. I think that’s how it is for most writers. We start out thinking we know everything but as we go along, we realize we have so much to learn. Years worth. Or maybe an infinite amount.
Just over two years ago, I finished my first novel, Destiny Divided. I made a half-assed attempt at submitting to agents and publishers but this little phenomenon called self-publishing was starting to make big waves. Since I’m the type who likes to be up to date on trends and technology, I looked into it. I figured out that if I wrote in the right genre, put out books quickly, kept my price low, and marketed well, I could make decent money while keeping most of the control of my career. Instead of having to wait for a publisher to decide when and how much, to change the title or storyline, I could decide all of that for myself. My income could be immediate instead of having to wait a year or more.

 So I experimented with self-publishing. The first month, I sold 7 copies. And I was thrilled 7 whole people wanted to read my book! But I knew I needed to put out more books in order to make it. A few months later, I released the second in the series, Destiny United. After that, I started selling in the hundreds. By my third book, I was selling thousands and making enough money to validate my decision to self-publish.
But, and this is a big but, self-publishing is A LOT of work. More than I had anticipated. I’m lucky in that my husband not only supports me but help me as well. He does the formatting and acts as tech support when things go wrong. I seriously couldn’t do it without him. I’ve also made some fabulous author friends who’ve helped me improve my writing and taught me how to market my books efficiently.

Three years after starting my journey, I have four books and one novella in my paranormal romance series, Shadows of Destiny, and one book and one novella (and an upcoming 2nd book) in my erotic romance series Badass Brats (co-written with Cari Silverwood and Sorcha Black). All are self-published. I have one book published through Loose ID, a small publisher, called 31 Flavors of Kink. Though it validated my writing skill, I don’t make nearly as much money on it and wouldn’t choose to go that route again.
The hardest part for me now is trying to balance writing with marketing. I think most authors have this problem. We need to be putting out new material regularly, but promoting takes time from our writing schedule.

I’d recommend self-publishing to tech savvy authors who want full control of their careers and don’t mind that their book may never sit on a bookstore shelf. It’s been a challenging, joyful, sometimes hard, definitely rewarding choice for me, but I don’t regret any of it.
More about my books:

Badass Brats series - Whether the characters are wielding floggers or blindfolding their "victims," my erotic romances are always character driven, contain light-hearted humor and emotional scenes that may make you cry, will definitely make you laugh, and will certainly make you swoon. Flawed characters that engage in the naughtiest sex scenes you’ll ever read grow to love each other in an authentic way. Immerse yourself in your wildest fantasies. You won’t regret it.

Shadows of Destiny seriesEnter a world shrouded by magic and darkness. Where the one who holds the most power has the sharpest teeth. Where a good grip on a sword is crucial to survival. A world where witches can make the very earth shake beneath your feet, sorcerers plot war against the Underworld, and vampires stalk the night, driven by bloodlust. Light and dark fae, dragons, werewolves, and demons inhabit the realms surrounding earth. Women fight alongside their men, both on the battlefield and in the bedroom. Passion and lust ignite as love takes hold of their hearts and changes them forever.