Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Winding Up or Winding Down

Hi, all.

This will be the last of my "Adventures in Self-Publishing" blogs at Mid-Willamette Valley RWA, so you could say I am winding down.

But I'm actually just getting started. This year has been wonderful for me. I dipped my toes in the self-publishing water, and found the ocean so fine I dove right in!

I'm making as much money as I would as a mid-list author with mainstream publishers. No, I haven't hit the big-time yet. But I'm paying some bills, while writing *my* stories my own way. 

I will release six books in 2012. I plan to top that in 2013. My biggest concern now is that I can't write fast enough to keep up with my plans:

I have a set of four books for next year called "A Year in Pajaro Bay." Each story is complete in itself, but there's also a continuing storyline that will wind up with the Christmas story late in 2013. I have another eighteen Pajaro Bay books outlined after that, so I hope to continue the series for a very long time.

I also have a new series which I'm calling "PB DARK." These are books set in the same world of Pajaro Bay, but they are darker stories (hence the name), with a heavier emphasis on the suspense, and plot twists that don't fit into the cheery world of the main Pajaro Bay brand. I have three of them so far, and am really looking forward to that mini-series, too.

Then there's the cozy mystery series I've got in mind. I don't want to give that one away, but it's a trilogy plus a Christmas story that I can hardly wait to write.

And that doesn't even begin to cover the fantasy side of things. I have "Deeds of the Ariane" sequels, and another series that is more directly based on my Medieval Studies degree, with a present-day immortal who was a figure in medieval history.

So my biggest problem is writing quickly enough to keep up with my imagination! And that's the ultimate plus of self-publishing. I am no longer confined by "the market." I put my work out there, and see what readers like and don't like, and go from there. The fantasy is on the back burner because it's not selling as quickly as the Pajaro Bay books, but I still have the freedom to write the less-lucrative storylines as I find time. I'm not worried about being "dropped" by a publisher. It's up to me.

And this year has given me the best gift of all: I have regained my joy of writing. I had gotten so sick of being told "you write well, but you're doing it wrong." Turns out I was writing something that an audience wanted (as I believed all along, but couldn't convince New York). It wasn't that they were wrong--I didn't fit into their marketing plans, and by their standards wouldn't be a success. But as a self-publisher, my books can go directly to an audience that is hungering for them. With a much larger slice of the pie coming my way, it is just as lucrative for me to work for this audience as it would be to reach the NY publishers' definition of a good audience. I am now blessed to be connecting directly with readers who want what I'm selling. No middlemen, no rules. Just the readers and me on a journey.

And that's the ultimate happy ending.

I'll be blogging in different places and with a very different format next year. I'm now at a point where I need to connect more directly with my readers with my blogging, so I will be centering my blog activity at my site and (I'll put in one final plug for Goodreads: I highly recommend it for all authors; it's a great way to connect directly with avid readers). My 2013 blog will profile the "People of Pajaro Bay." I have over 120 brief character biographies now, so I'm thinking I'll be posting the bios twice a week. I will be posting at my site,, and Pinterest, with links to Facebook, Twitter and who-knows-where. Whew. 

I wish all my former chapter mates in Mid-Willamette Valley RWA the best. It's been wonderful knowing you all, and I hope to continue that in the new year (maybe I'll even get around to doing weekly goal-setting).

Happy holidays and a wonderful new year to you all!

And happy writing, everyone. :-)

Barbara Cool Lee


Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Wow! As you're ramping up for 2013, I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit after I write the first nine of my Halo Legacy Series. I'm so pleased you've had such success with self-publishing! But you did your homework and have made smart decisions. Hooray!

Deborah Wright said...

Barb, Thank you for all the time and effort you put into these posts. The information you've shared is incredibly valuable -- and I know I'll be referring back to them frequently.

I'm so glad that you've found your path and that we'll all get to read your stories!