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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Indie Road Show & A Quirky Little Contest

Like most new things that require computer savvy, someone had to drag me kicking and screaming into the world of self-publishing. I had to try it, if only to make an informed decision about the process and the results.

Lest you think this whole thing came out on a whim, I want to set the record straight. It took my accomplice friend MONTHS to convince me this was worth the effort. It was pure luck that I happened to have a story looking for a home.

Originally, I'd written The Devil To Pay for a small press who was putting together an anthology of angel and demon stories. Only they had a very strict word limit (20k), and mine was way past that. I let the deadline pass and realized Kismet was giving me an opportunity to walk on the 'wild side'.

I had kept mum about it, not because I was trying to keep it a secret, but because I had no idea how long everything would take to accomplish. I'd look like a schmoe if I promised a story and then didn’t deliver on time. (I don’t need any help in the schmoe department.)

I studied successful indie authors, read books, asked a thousand questions about format (which was the part that scared me the most) and started the tedious process of gathering potential artwork.

If I was going to do this, I was going to do it just like the big boys. That meant multiple editors, my own ISBN, professional art, and a promo budget. Granted, it had to be on a much smaller scale, but I refused to skimp on quality. I contacted the best people I knew for advice and their expertise.

By the time I started designing the cover layout, I realized it was time to put my money where my mouth was.

Would I be successful?

There was only one way to find out. I had to go to the deep end of the pool and jump in. And me without a life-vest!

So now The Devil To Pay is out in the cold, cruel world hoping someone will notice it.

In the past, my publisher was the one who put out ads, tweeted about my book, or talked about me on Facebook. Now it's all up to me.

Yeah. It's as scary as it sounds. Big Scary.

That's why I need your help.

Starting in July, I want to do a special blog tour where I’ll talk specifically about what I’ve learned about the indie process. I'm calling it the Indie Road Show. If you think your readers would be interested in reading about one author's experience on the indie superhighway, I’d be pleased and proud to write a guest post for you. Email me.

I’ve already come up with several topics, but I’d love to hear what you personally are curious to find out. What do you want to know? Tell me in the comments and I’ll put it on my list.

Even if you don't host me, would you mention the book to your Twitter, FB or blog followers? I'm serious. Almost no one knows me! It's embarrassing. 

But wait, there's more!

I put a Google Alert on the title "The Devil To Pay". If you post the most links and mentions through the end of August, I will write in a character with your name into the next novella. And of course, you'll also win a copy of the book.

I promise I won't write you in as a bad guy...unless you insist. :grin:

There's so much I want to tell you about all the things that happened behind the scenes, but this will do for now. It was an exciting, nerve-wracking, nail-biting and exhausting experience. But I'm glad I did it.


Angelina Rain said...

Maria, you are always welcome to my blog. That is so cool that you're going to write one of your fans into the story. Good luck to whoever wins (I'm in the running, right?).

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Angelina! Start mentioning my book. "Angelina" would be a GREAT name in a demon and angel story, don't you think?

Joanne said...

The indie journey sounds like a great theme for a blog tour, so many readers are curious about the process. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts :)

Ellie Garratt said...

I'd be honoured to host you on my blog because I'm in contact with a lot of authors who are considering self-publishing. For me, I'd like to know what you feel an author MUST do when considering publishing - sort of the minimum requirements, like editing, professional cover etc.

Ellie Garratt said...

Oops...forgot to say awesome competition. Count me in (pun intended).

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: When I started researching, information was a bit scattered and not always verifiable. I figured if I explained how my journey went it might help others.

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie, you know I'd love to be on your blog. I'll email you tonight--which will probably be midnight for you. :)

Hope you're feeling better.

Dru said...

I read this blog
and you might be interested in them.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i don't know how interested my readers would be, but i certainly am and would be happy to have you guest post on my blog. I'll send you an email once i'm off my work PC

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Thanks. I'll check'em out.

Sarah: It would be fun!. Email me and we'll talk.

Mike Keyton said...

I'll do my bit, Maria, and if you can find away of using my blog you're welcome to that, too.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Maria, I'd be interested in hosting you on my blog. Something I'd be interested to learn would be how you chose the editors you worked with.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I expect two bits from you. :o)

Sandra: That's a great topic! I'll email you tonight.

J.K. Coi said...

What a great story! Come on over to my blog any time :)

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I am so looking forward to this series on indie publishing. It's something I'm very interested in. I'd like to know how many hours a day you spend promoting, and what avenues you're taking to get yourself out there and get people to buy. Also, are you offering a print version as well as digital?

On a more personal note, did you feel more free publishing yourself than through someone else? Were there more rules you thought you could break or something like that?

Maria Zannini said...

JK: Sending you an email.

Barbara: Love your question about freedom and rule breaking. Let's use that as the topic for my visit. Someone else already contacted me about the first question so we'll cover that too. I'm sending you an email.

Ref: print
No print version at this time. I prefer to take baby steps.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm very interested in reading about your journey, Maria, since I've been thinking about doing something similar now that I have my tax number etc sorted out. You certainly have a gorgeous cover. You're very welcome to visit my blog too, Maria. Any time.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Thank you. I'll write you in a bit.

Sarita said...

Maria, you are welcome on my blog any time. I'm curious about the time factor. How long did it take to get your book out there? Of course I'm not including writing time, but once you had the finished product, how long did it take to get it to the first sale?

I wish you the best with this new part of your writing journey. Hope you have tons of sales!