Indie Corner 2015 -- The Year of Diversification


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Vision 78

 

Indie Corner

2015 -- The Year of Diversification

By

J. A. Marlow

Web Blog

Copyright © 2015, J. A. Marlow, All Rights Reserved

2014 is now gone, and wow has it been a year of change. With the coming of 2015 it is time to revaluate the writing/publishing business plan. Identify what worked and what did not, and make the needed adjustments.

Many people are calling 2015 the "Year of Diversification." This article discusses various types of diversification possible as both a writer and a publisher (although obviously not all). We've talked in the past about having a 'writer hat' and a 'publisher hat'. The below ideas are marked with what 'hat' applies:

Publishing Hat:

Multiple Distribution - This is a way to limit the affects of any one retailer's changes a writer's career and publishing business. There are many distributors and retailers, with more appearing all the time. See the Reference Guide to Indie Publishing in the Forward Motion forum for a list of a few of these options (link: http://fmwriters.com/zoomfm/index.php/forum/indie-publishing/42-reference-guide-to-indie-publishing). Don't forget to think globally. There are new international markets that didn't exist a year ago.

Newsletter - This has been talked about for years, but is getting more buzz for the coming year. A newsletter is a great way to personally speak to your fans. To let them know when you have new releases, personal appearances, as well as any other news. This can boost the sales of new releases dramatically. Wordpress has many free options for newsletters. There are also services such as Mail Chimp (free for up to 2000 subscribers, and then turns into a paid service).

Rapid Release - This one involves the Writer Hat as well as the Publishing Hat. The idea is to write the first three books in a series, or finish a trilogy, all ahead of time. Then doing one of two things:
1. Releasing all at once. Many writers are finding success with this. If it is a trilogy, then a reader can buy it all at once and read the entire finished story. If it is a longer series then this allows a reader to submerge into the world created, making it more likely they will continue coming back for future volumes.
2. Releasing 30 days apart. This will keep the series in the "New Releases" algorithms at many retailers for an extended period of time (much longer than a single book release will).

Formats - It's time to look at other formats. For ebooks, are your works available in all the common formats such as Epub, Mobi, and PDF? Paperback, hardback, and audio are other options. There are also foreign translation and movie/television opportunities (and yes, these are happening all the time without the help of big publishers and/or agents).

Release Planning: Time to look at when releases did the best. Spring, fall, summer? It appears that the holiday closure to uploaded content at several major retailers is going to be a regular thing. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to not plan any new releases in the later part of December.

Presentation: This is the year of updating! Take a look at the cover, description, formatting, and the front and back matter. Are they still relevant? Have the style of cover in the book's genre's changed? Many retailers are dropping keywords. With this move, the description becomes all the more important. Are the keywords needed to help readers find the book now in the description?

Pricing - Always a topic to get people talking loud and heated. However, many are playing with pricing for 2015, and many times this means upping the base price of their ebooks and print books. Many are reporting that a dollar or two price raise is not affecting sales, yet they are making more money. In some genres a pricing study may mean a slight price reduction. Take time in 2015 to study this aspect of your publishing business.

Writer Hat:

Series - Series sell. Not only have I been hearing that 2015 is the year many are focusing on series, including new ones, but that shorter series are a goal. Which makes sense for a series where a reader needs to start with the first book. Having more series allows one to have more first books to market and promote to bring readers into the writer's story universes. Example: Instead of writing a series of twelve books, the goal is to write 3 series of four books each.

Length Considerations - This will not apply to all writers, but I thought I would mention it. Some writers are focusing on shorter novels or novellas in a series, allowing for new releases more often. Then later, these books can be put together into collections for yet another release.

Roadblocks - It's time to identify those things that are stopping you from reaching your full writing potential. Are you having time-management issues? A distractive environment? Stop writing for a period of time after having a story problem? This may mean learning new habits such as switching projects when one becomes blocked or powering through the problem if this is a chronic problem. Or creating a dedicated writing space. Or learning to take those 5-10 spare minutes to write a few words instead of waiting for a big writing time chunk. Other ideas can be found in Rachel Aaron's blog "How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day" (link: http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-i-went-from-writing-2000-words-day.html)

Genre - It may be time to mix it up when it comes to genre or sub-genre. Take a look at what you have written and see if you can identify anything in particular that is selling more than the others. This is technically a Publishing Hat job, but the Writer Hat should also consider it. If you enjoy writing in that genre/sub-genre, then consider writing more within it. Is there a genre that you've always wanted to write in? 2015 might be the year to try for it.

Having Fun - This may be the most important. I've seen many writers say that this is the year they make writing more fun. To consider why they started writing in the first place. To do those quirky or niche stories they always wanted to do. To have fun telling the stories close to the heart and then share them with readers.

Do you have other ideas? If so, share them 1n the Forward Motion for Writers forums. (link: http://fmwriters.com)