Happy Birthday Indie Book Collective!
Amber: I remember during the first IBC meeting, wondering how in the world I’d hold my own and contribute to this amazing group, this phenomenal idea. And now, I cannot believe we are one year old! I mean, only one year old? How can it only be a year that we’ve grown and learned so much during?
Amber: So, Rachel, where were you in your writing one year ago?
Rachel: I was rolling along happily in my little blogging world, figuring out Twitter and Facebook. Then Carolyn came along and kind of snapped me up! Plucked me into her blogtribe – a supportive group where we helped each other with writing and social media.
With her advice, I hit the ground running with essays, articles, posts, and really embraced my social media platform, in particular Twitter.
One year ago, at about this time specifically, I was in the last planning stages of rolling out the IBC with our founder, Carolyn McCray. We started the website, Twitter stream, and Facebook. There really was nothing else like it out there at the time. Still isn’t!
With regard to my writing, she was encouraging me strongly #ahem to take my most popular blog posts, in particular Mancode and Chickspeak, and expand them to create a book.
Which I did! With Carolyn’s keen eye, and the services of a professional editor and graphic artist, I released A Walk In the Snark in January of this year.
Rachel: Amber, How about you. You were already published. What’s different for you from a year ago?
Amber: One year ago, I was waffling between keeping my traditional roots or daring to enter the indie world. I was fresh out of a conference, prepping submission requests and feeling lackluster over my recent agent pitches, successful as they were.
I wanted more.
Play Fling, my first indie title began to make a little money, helping me embrace that indie was in fact the path for me. Then Carolyn McCray emailed me about this wonderful little idea called the Indie Book Collective. She’d seen my blog, the Amber Scott Project, which detailed my indie experience thus far, and saw something in me. I’m so glad she did because I got to help create the single most career changing element of my entire career.
Amber: Where are you now, Rachel?
Rachel: Wow, still amazed at the response the book has gotten. It’s a humorous and at times, poignant, collection of essays about my experiences and really my take on the topics of love, marriage, men, women, and parenting. It reached #1 on Amazon’s Motherhood list in September which is just so incredible. Take that Jenny McCarthy and Tori Spelling – ha!
The reviews have been terrific, too. Very positive, except for a few crankypants men. Which is great! Gives me wonderful fodder for my next book due in a few months, The Mancode: Exposed.
My social media has exploded (having 600 Twitter followers in April 2010 to 9,000 now in October 2011), my fans are awesome, and the promotions we do through the Indie Book Collective has, I feel, made all the difference in my success. And I’m averaging about ten eBook sales/day. The self-pub’d author typically sells four/month, so I’m doing okay!
I’ve even met with an agent in NYC who loved the book and is reading the next as I write it. So we’ll see what happens.
(I don’t want anyone to think that those followers come easy. Fifty percent of my time is spent on building my platform, something we recommend to all authors in our social media workshop.)
Rachel: Let’s talk social media. How has that changed for you this past year?
Amber: I went from 100 followers and never tweeting to now having over 4,000 Twitter followers! I have my secret (sortof) Facebook group, The HOT Club, which is growing and so much fun, plus my Facebook presence is as strong as ever. I now have a uniform brand that readers are responding to on my blog and just overall.
Having a sense of direction by knowing who I am as an author and what my books deliver to readers made all the difference and I learned it all thanks to the members of IBC.
Amber: How did IBC first come into your world?
Rachel: Carolyn, of course. She had approached me on Twitter in early 2010 and brought me into her Borg fold. Kidding. (Kinda.)
She knew of my interest in blogging and social media and thought I’d be a good addition to her vision of the Collective – a resource for all writers to learn about self-publishing, social media, and eBooks. We rolled it out last Fall and the response has been amazing. Hard to believe it was just the three of us volunteering our time and efforts – and now we’re up to over thirty volunteer staff!
Rachel: How do you feel the IBC has affected your writing career? How about personally?
Amber: I went from selling 4-10 books a month per title on Amazon to selling hundreds of each title. I found my brand, my audience and I learned to stop apologizing for wanting success. Not only that but I get huge satisfaction from helping other authors do the same. Authors like Theresa Ragan, Terri Giuliano Long and Ann Charles.
Amber: What are you most excited about IBC overall, Rachel?
Rachel: The teamwork and collaboration to achieve success for everyone is truly heartwarming to me. There’s no drama, which is fairly amazing given the amount of people on our staff. I mean sure, we all have our moments and growing pains, which is to be expected in any first year project.
Writing Dollars and Sense: The Definitive Guide To Self-Publishing Success, co-written by the three of us, was our trial by fire. But we knew this book needed to be written–and we made it through! And it’s helped SO many people. It’s truly gratifying.
And the connections we’ve all made – in publishing, social media, reviewers, fans. It’s really unbelievable when you think about the far-reaching effects the IBC has had on everyone involved.
Rachel: What’s coming up for us that you can share, Amber? Any big reveals?
Amber: We’re still ironing out the details, but due to high demand and the fact that nothing beats an in-person teaching environment, we’ll be offering a Bestseller For A Day Bootcamp! Yep, it looks like this May, in sunny Scottsdale, AZ, we will take the lessons in Dollars & Sense and apply them for 100 participants with a goal to get every author in attendance to bestseller-dom that coming year.
Somebody pinch me! My dreams are coming true every single day thanks to IBC!
Amber: Rachel, what do you want to share about this next year?
Probably just need a call out for everyone to get as active into the IBC as possible because you get ten-fold back, with regard to learning about social media, optimizing your Amazon page, marketing your book, promotions, and of course, self-publishing.
This is especially true for our staff volunteers who have access to all IBC programs, free webinars and resources, but also the amazing Blog Tour De Troops, our upcoming 12 Days Of Christmas Blowout, and an entire slate of 2012 promotions! Contact us today if you want to get involved!