The Awesome Power of the IBC
In my first year as an indie author, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that, to survive – to thrive – we need to build a supportive community. The Indie Book Collective, a caring network of indie authors dedicated to helping and supporting other indie authors, is just such a community.
Publishing is a scary proposition, and even more so for indie authors, who rarely enjoy the traditional support team of agent, editor, and publicist. A rookie indie publisher, I made a lot of mistakes.* For instance, I had no idea that Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble each require different e-book formatting. I uploaded the Smashwords’ formatted book to all three sites, only to discover months later, when I was selling a hundred books a day, that formatting issues had resulted in what appeared to be sloppy editing errors – e.g., loss of indentation and dropped quotation marks.
Those, however, are minor hurdles compared to what comes next. Once the files are uploaded to the retail sites, the real work begins. Until I placed my novel, In Leah’s Wake, on Amazon, I had no idea how hard it would be to market myself. I felt foolish, ashamed to self-promote. One year and 15,000 sales later, I can laugh at myself. Then, trust me, it wasn’t so funny.
For five months, I did nothing. I had no idea what to do. Predictably, I sold very few books. In May, scouring the Net for innovative ways to market my book, I come across the IBC blog, where I read about a cool upcoming blog hop, called Tour de Troops. Visitors hop from blog to blog, in a daisy chain; for leaving a comment, visitors receive a free eBook from each blog author.
That weekend, I received over 150 unique comments – and distributed 150 coupons for a free e-copy of my novel. Plus, for every eBook we gave to our visitors, a free book went to a U.S. active duty troop! Marketing, I suddenly saw, didn’t have to feel slimy – it could be fun and others could benefit too.
Many of those early readers posted reviews, elevating my book in the eyes of potential buyers – some readers even became evangelists, sharing news of my book with their network of family and friends. Best of all, I met new friends. Sharing my experiences with other indie authors, I felt less alone. As my confidence grew, I began to feel good about marketing my book.
In July, I participated in another Indie Book Collective blog hop, the super-fun Menage a Blog Tour. In Leah’s Wake had begun to attract attention, with sales averaging 15 – 20 books a day. I was honored and amazed when, after the tour, the IBC offered to sponsor In Leah’s Wake for Bestseller For A Day.
This elite promotion, the culmination of over a month of hard work by the dedicated IBC staff, harnesses the awesome power of the Collective to pull a book onto the Amazon Kindle Bestseller chart. On August 17, In Leah’s Wake reached number 300 on the Amazon bestseller chart! That day, an Amazon representative actually called me – at home – to wish me luck!
After Bestseller For a Day, my sales climbed to over 100 books per day.
This Labor Day weekend, I participated in the IBC’s Indie Book Blowout.
As anticipated, the event was a huge success. On September 2, the day In Leah’s Wake appeared as a featured book in the IBC newsletter, I sold 600 eBooks, tripling my all-time high. As I write this post, In Leah’s Wake ranks in the top 100 on the Amazon Bestseller list. None of this would have been possible without the generosity, friendship and support of the Indie Book Collective and the awe-inspiring IBC founders and wonderful staff.
Thank you, IBC! A million times over!
Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College. She was grateful and thrilled beyond words when her award-winning debut literary novel, In Leah’s Wake, hit the Amazon bestseller list in August. She owes a lot of phenomenal people – and especially the Indie Book Collective– for making this happen!
Tune in October 28th as we take ALL HALLOW’S EVE by Cristyn West to the top, too!