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Self-publishing Success Story: Sara Rosett, Mystery Writer

Self-publishing Success Story: Sara Rosett, Mystery Writer

headshot of Sara Rosett

Sara Rosett makes the most of her writing time as an indie author

US author Sara Rosett joins us to today to describe her inspiring journey from trade-published author to USA Today bestselling indie – a transition that kicked off with her having to write two books simultaenously, one for her trade contract, one as an emerging indie. Not surprisingly, she is a demon at time management, and has some great tips to share to help us all become more productive:

  • she works in long stretches rather than short bursts, writing four days a week, leaving one for admin (and a weekend for rest and recuperation – good call!)
  • she logs into social media only once or twice a day, and then works from “notifications” to prevent herself being distracted from her prime purpose
  • she learns as many keyboard shortcuts as she can to save typing time – a tiny tip in the scheme of things, but a great time-saver in the long term (just think how many extra words you could write by saving all those keystrokes every day!)

What’s your proudest achievement to date as an indie author?

Hitting the USA Today list with my single-author indie-published thee-book box set last year was exciting and a dream come true for me.

What’s the single best decision you ever made?

cover of Moving is MurderDeciding to pivot in my writing life and try indie publishing was the best decision I’ve made.

I was traditionally published, and the only books I had were with my publisher, so I didn’t have any books or content to work with. I also had a book under contract at the time, which meant writing the trad book in the morning and the indie book in the afternoon—not something I recommend! I did finish both books. With my first indie book, I had the start of a new series that was completely mine, and I found out how much I enjoy indie publishing.

What’s been your biggest surprise as an indie author?

I didn’t realize many of the book bloggers and reviewers I’d worked with wouldn’t be interested in my indie books. Even though they’d blogged about and reviewed my trad books, I was told many times, “I’m sorry, but I don’t blog/review indie books.”

Essentially, I had to start over when it came to publicity. Things have certainly changed now.

What’s your greatest challenge – and how do you deal with it?

Keeping all the plates spinning!

It’s hard to write and handle all the admin stuff. I’ve tried lots of different systems and found I write best when I have long stretches of time, not short bursts. Instead of segmenting each day into writing in the morning and then admin in the afternoon, I block off Monday through Thursday for writing and save admin stuff for Friday. I also work with an assistant, which frees up more time for writing.

How do you get/stay in a creative mood?

Honestly, I don’t think much about my mood or feeling creative.

I have my writing time and during that time I’m either dictating or editing. If a scene isn’t working, I have to figure out what’s wrong with it. Once I unwind what’s bothering me about it, I can fix it.

How do you remain productive/motivated?

cover of Treacherous by Sara RosettI’m like a magpie, collecting ideas and tips from other authors then incorporating them into my routine.

For instance, I’m into nerdy things like keyboard shortcuts, which really do save time and wrist strain. Another thing I do is use automations for social media posts.

I only check in on social media once or twice a day.

When I do log in, I work out of my notifications, which lets me respond to people who want to interact and avoid those distracting cat videos and recipes. 🙂

What’s your favourite thing about being an author–publisher?

I love the creative control of indie publishing. It’s wonderful to be able to write the stories that appeal to me and share them with readers.

I really enjoy the production side too—working with a cover artist to design the cover, controlling the interior layout, publishing on my schedule, and being able to put a book on sale or apply for promotions.

What are your top tips for other ALLis?

cover of Death in the English Countryside by Sara RosettI was caught flat-footed a few years ago when e-books took off. I had no idea they were on the horizon because I was locked in with trad publishing.

Once I realized the potential of indie publishing, I moved in that direction, but I could have done better if I’d been more aware. Now I keep an eye out for trends.

What’s next for you?

I’m writing a new series, a historical cozy mystery, set in 1920s England. I plan to try a new release tactic with these books—write the first three books and hold them back, then release over a few months to test the impact of quick release versus a longer time between releases.

#Authors - gain inspiration from our exclusive interview with #USAToday bestselling author @SaraRosett, who transitioned from trade to indie status and hasn't looked back! Share on X

Author: Sara Rosett

USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett writes lighthearted mysteries for readers who enjoy atmospheric settings, fun characters, and puzzling whodunits.

She is the author of the High Society Lady Detective historical mystery series as well as three contemporary cozy series: the Murder on Location series, the On the Run series, and the Ellie Avery series. Sara also teaches an online course, How to Outline A Cozy Mystery, and is the author of the nonfiction book, How to Write a Series.

Publishers Weekly called Sara's books “enchanting,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.” Sara loves to get new stamps in her passport and considers dark chocolate a daily requirement. Find out more at SaraRosett.com.


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Sara, a refreshing interview. The title of your new book set me back, or up, maybe moved me sideways. Anyway, I was struck by the degree to which the title and the cover of your book worked together to tell me a story. One line (title), one picture (cover) and I’m ready to dig in. Thank youQ

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