“The best thing you can do for yourself and your growing fan base is to write the next book,” advises the self-published prolific novelist Barbara Freethy, an established New York Times #1 best-selling author with 35 novels to her name.
Focus! I know that's an intangible answer, but it's the truth. The more I focus on my books, on their covers, their blurbs, their price points, the better I do. The more I concentrate on producing new material instead of agonizing over how older books are continuing to sell, the better I do. No one cares more about your books than you do. That's why self publishers have been beating traditional publishers in the Indie market, focus!
What was the single best thing you ever did?
I trusted my instincts, and I started releasing books on a frequent basis to build momentum and an audience.
Did you get lucky? What happened?
I was lucky in that I had some back-list books that I could start self publishing with. That gave me a few extra books to get up while I was writing new material. But I was only able to get lucky because I'd started thinking about self publishing months earlier. I'd gotten my rights back to some books before publishers even considered they would be valuable. I always believe that preparation puts you in a place where you can get lucky.
How do you get/stay in creative mode?
I'm a self-starter and I've always wanted to put out series books close together. While writing for traditional publishers, I was never able to do that, but on my own, I can, so I love writing and I love putting out connected books that keep the readers happy!
How do you prioritise?
I ALWAYS put the writing first, marketing second.
I'm in the middle of writing my new connected family series, The Callaways, about a family born to serve and protect, many as San Francisco firefighters. Each of the books has a love story as well as a mystery and a little adventure tossed in for fun. The first three books are out: On A Night Like This (#1), So This Is Love (#2), and Falling for a Stranger (#3). Between Now and Forever (#4) will be out on 24th October 2013.
What's your top tip for other indie authors?
Write the next book! I've seen writers waste too much time planning Facebook parties and agonizing over price points and free giveaways. All of that is important, but the best thing you can do for yourself and your growing fan base is to write the next book. It's much easier to sell the third, fourth, fifth, sixth book, then the first or second. I try to limit marketing to no more than an hour a day and the rest is spent on writing. You have to prepare for the long haul. You don't have to sell all your books in a week or a month. You're going to be selling your books for years, so spend time making them really good, and the readership will grow!