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From Traditionally Published to Indie Author

Ever wondered what it's like to choose to leave traditional publishing for indie publishing? That's what I chose to do. I'm so glad I did.

Here's a brief rundown of my author career: I queried for years, finally got a "yes" via a Twitter post (of all things!), signed a contract with a small publishing house, and saw my debut novel hit the shelves in 2019.

In 2020, I got my rights back on that novel. I won't go into why in this article, but maybe I will in later post. Suffice it to say, traditional publishing wasn't for me, and I wasn't for it.

2020 was a strange year for us all. After I reacquired my rights for my first novel, I had to decide what to do with it. I spent the entire year acquainting myself with the self-publishing world, trying to gather up the guts to give it a try. I even queried a few more times.

By 2021, I was ready to self-publish my debut novel.

Whew, that was a fast recap.

If you follow me on social media, then you watched that process unfold. More specifically, if you receive my newsletter, then you participated in each and every step of the process, from cover reveals to picking titles to preorder fiascos—you name it. I just narrowed my focus to those two areas, though now I plan to blog here more often.

If you don’t get my newsletter, maybe now would be a good time to sign up. I plan to post once a month here, but the best way to keep up with what I’m writing, how the publishing process is going, and general life events (like the new baby!) is to read my newsletter, which I send out twice a month.

I try to offer book recommendations or at least book deals in every newsletter as well. There’s the occasional giveaway just for subscribers too!

So, how did my first year as an indie author go?

Words can’t describe how fun it was.

Or how overwhelming.

Indie publishing is the best. Let me tell you why. I adore having complete creative control over every step of the process. However, this is daunting, especially at first. It’s also complicated to learn literally everything about how to make an idea become a printed and digital book.

Here are a few of the things I’m learning: website design, email marketing, branding, the ins and outs of online retailers, print-on-demand options, working with artists and editors, writing with purpose, increasing productivity with limited time, story craft, social media strategies, book launch strategies, etc.

I love to learn, so this is not a problem for me. The only problem is the TIME. We only have so many hours in the day, and as you can see, it’s taken me an entire two years to learn about indie publishing and execute my first four indie title releases.

Wait, did I say four?

Yes. I republished Mind of Mine as The Veritas Project, which was its original title.

The cover is infinitely better as a self-published book than it was as a traditionally published book. I could write about this for days, but I won’t. At least not today.

I then published a novella to go along with The Veritas Project titled The Transfer. I love that little story. I bought a premade cover, formatted the interior myself, and voila. New book. It’s available for free to all my newsletter subscribers, and it introduces the world of TVP from a different perspective.

After that, I dove headfirst into fantasy. I love fantasy, but there’s a part of me that will always be a sci-fi geek.

Shield of Shadow was my first published fantasy title, though I wrote it after I wrote its sequel, Blade of Ash. I published Shield of Shadow as an ebook, free to my newsletter subscribers, and then I published Blade of Ash, available on all major retailers in ebook and hardback (soon to be paperback as well).

Being an indie author allowed all of that to happen. If I were still waiting around for queries to come back, an agent to finally say yes, and then a publisher to sign me, and then my book to finally release, I probably still wouldn’t have a single book out in the world.

Instead, I have four.

I’m working steadily along on the sequel to Blade of Ash, which I hope to release later this year (new baby might make that goal difficult, so I’m allowing myself some flexibility).

This post was much more update-ish than my normal posts will be moving forward. My writing and life updates appear in my newsletter. Here, I’ll talk about everything from what I’ve learned from coffee shops to how to choose an editor for your book.

If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, feel free to post a comment or send me a message via my website.

Here’s to moving forward!

- C.

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