Recently my mother/writing partner, Barbara Andrews, and I launched our first venture into ‘indie’ publishing. Faith, Fireworks and Fir written as Pam Andrews Hanson is an original inspirational romance available for Kindle at Amazon and for
Nook on Barnes and Noble.
My husband, who was instrumental in the process, strongly suggested I blog about the whole thing. “Write something clever, funny, and witty,” he said.
No pressure there!
Naturally all week I’ve felt more witless than witty. Cleverness also continues to elude, so here I sit on a Sunday night willing to settle for mediocre – but even that seems elusive.
I’m just going to plunge in and make do with what I’ve got.
Several factors influenced this leap into independent publishing. First, after 30-plus books with conventional publishers (with more on the way) for Mom and me (and 50 plus for Mom including those written under her own name), the time just seemed right to explore ‘long-tail publishing.’
It used to be if you wanted to write a book, record an album, or produce a movie, and you wanted it to go out to a national, or even global, audience, you had to work with a major publisher, recording company, or movie studio.
But today, with online technology, anyone can distribute his or her work to a vast audience independently. You can sell your book, album or movie using online stores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes. And since it is all done electronically, you don’t have to underwrite the costs of printing a book or burning a physical CD/DVD.
I have to confess I am slow to change when it comes to technology. Case in point: I just recently gave up my ‘chewing gum’ iPod, and I’m sure the Smithsonian will soon come to claim it. However, I’m also a voracious reader and being able to load half a dozen or more books onto an e-book reader when traveling is very appealing. I’ve come to believe electronic delivery systems of books don’t have to replace the traditional form but rather are complementary.
So why make the leap now? While my mom and I continue to write inspirational women’s fiction for Guideposts, we also love co-authoring inspirational romances. It is complicated to plan projects around multiple publishers. The interest in a measure of editorial and scheduling freedom meshed perfectly with the concept of indie publishing.
We view this foray into independent publishing as akin to launching a small business. Not only did we have to write a good book, we also needed to find someone to design the cover and figure out ways to promote it. I owe a great deal of thanks to many people, especially romance author Holly Jacobs who referred me to the fabulous Kim Van Meter, a Harlequin author who is a freelance designer. Holly was also instrumental in suggesting ways to use social media to promote the book, and she titled the book. She is an amazing cheerleader and friend.
And I owe a lot to my friends for not only liking me in person but ‘virtually’ on my official author Facebook page. Even people I don’t know have clicked like for which I’m also grateful.
This is not the first entrepreneurial venture my mom and I have tried. The summer after my junior year of high school, she and I went into the ‘junk’ business. My Aunt Marge (who gave my mom a paper bag of Harlequin romances which in turn spurred her novel writing career) owned a flea market in a small southwestern Michigan town not far from the city where we lived. She offered us a booth to set up and sell our wares. We haunted garage sales for antiques and collectibles and books to resell. I started collecting cookbooks that summer. After expenses, I earned enough to buy myself contact lenses. It was the best summer job I ever had, and my mom and I had a lot of fun.
Just like we are now.