Wanna Be Successful at Indie Publishing? Be Prepared to Work

I’m getting better at this whole social media thing. When I decided to e-publish my novel and take my destiny into my own hands, I had 17 followers on Twitter, and I was blogging about twice a week, which was getting me, as you might imagine, a minimal number of reads.

In a little over a month, I’ve added over a hundred followers on Twitter, I’m blogging almost daily, and I’m seeing much better traffic. That’s partly because people are retweeting my tweets, I’ve learned to use Tweetdeck to schedule them so that I announce new blog posts five times a day instead of just once, and I was very fortunate to get my blog listed in several other people’s blogs and newsletters.

There’s a lot more to do. If I’m going to sell State of Grace the way I want, I’m going to need more followers and more traffic.

But I’ve discovered something in the past few weeks as my social media “empire” has started to expand. Managing and growing it is a lot of work.

For instance, Saturday night, I went to family get-together and then played a game of Magic with my GF’s kids. In the few hours that took, I added three new followers, someone retweeted me, and there were two new comments on a Goodreads thread I’m participating in. So, before I could get back to work finishing the edit on State of Grace, I needed to check the comments, follow-back my new followers, and send a thank you for the retweet.

Sunday, I spent three-and-half hours watching the Bengals lose to the Ravens. When I got home, there were three new followers and traffic at my blog that needed attention.

This happens every day.

And I’m very excited about it. I can feel my platform getting larger, which is what I need. But it certainly doesn’t grow without nurturing, and that takes time.

All of which is a stark reminder that, if you want to make it big as an independent author, you’re in for a lot of work. You have to write the book, and you have to get it edited. But you also have to make sure people know about it, and you have to thank them when they help you out.

Joe Konrath says you have to get lucky to hit it big. If luck is the residue of design, there’s a lot work that has to be done to get lucky.

So remember: it isn’t just about writing a great book and making sure it is in as perfect a shape as possible. Those things are important. But it’s also about hustle. Be prepared to work hard at things that have nothing to do with writing if you want to be successful at the indepdendent publishing game.

It’s already been a lot of work for me, and I’m not even successful yet. But I can tell there’s a lot more work ahead if I want to make my dreams come true.


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