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The Difficulty of Indie Publishing
September 22, 2019Posted by on
One of the best indie writers out there is Kevin Brennan. He writes literary fiction. Stories not quite like any other. I mean, who comes up with a story about a small town in the 1800s occupied entirely by women, who band together and “hire” a man to come out west to help continue the town’s population? Or a road trip tale about an old-style arcade game?
What both Kevin and I have discovered is that indie writers who write literary fiction have a rough row to hoe. Better to write romance or legal thrillers or some other genre where readers have some comfort in the formula of that genre.
That’s the thing about indie writing and publishing though. A lot of what I read from indie authors doesn’t necessarily fit into a particular genre and even when it does, there’s a difference. And that’s what is so good about what indie authors produce — stories you won’t see from the traditional publishers.
So … Kevin just published a book. Eternity Began Tomorrow. As he describes it, it is a political thriller that revolves around climate change. If that isn’t a timely tale, I’m not sure what is.
Kevin published the book on September 18 in e-book format only. For the princely sum of $2.99, you too can buy a copy of his latest and be entertained by one of the best out there. Let’s remind ourselves that the traditional publishers are charging four or five times that amount for e-books these days.
As of yesterday, Kevin had sold a grand total of 9 e-book copies of his tale. 9. And I’m one of them. I haven’t read it yet, because I’m plowing my way through a book about the Olof Palme assassination in 1986 and I want to finish the damn thing before I move on.
But, still … 9?!?!?! Kevin has over 1,350 followers on Twitter. In three days, he only sold 9 copies of his new e-book. 9!! Have I said that enough yet?
Here’s the problem. We writers want followers. We want people reading our blogs and our tweets and then we want them to buy our books when we publish them, but the one does not, obviously, follow the other. Over 1,350 followers and almost every single one didn’t bother to put out $2.99 to buy the e-book of one of the best writers in the indie community.
It’s disgusting and depressing.
One some level, I get it. Many of those 1,350 followers probably follow hundreds if not thousands of other people on Twitter. So the chance that they are actually seeing every tweet that passes through their feed is slim and none. But still. 9! Out of 1,350!
One of the things I’ve noticed is how much writers on Twitter crave more followers there. Hate to break it to you, but followers do not translate into purchasers and readers.
There has to be some way for quality indie authors to break through this morass. For people like Kevin to find the audience he so richly deserves. I’m struggling, as I know Kevin is, to figure out what that way is.
All I know is this … if you’re reading this and haven’t given Kevin a try, do so. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.