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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES


Lizzlie Lamb, a rookie writer, looks back over then last 12 months and what a year it has been1


I’m about to publish my second Romantic Comedy: Boot Camp Bride - romance and intrigue on the Norfolk Marshes. The manuscript has been copyedited, is with a formatter, the cover is ready and I’m raring to go. Rather than sit twiddling my thumbs, I thought I’d clear the decks - I’m aiming for a paper free office! - continue publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and start getting word about Boot Camp Bride. This entailed a clean sweep of my office, resulting in four bin liners filled with scribbled-on draft manuscripts, numerous self-help sheets and posts downloaded off writers’ blogs. And it suddenly hit home just how much work I’d put into launching myself as an indie writer.   



This time last year, I’d just sent off my ITIN to the US Inland Revenue so Amazon.com wouldn’t without 30% of my earnings. They did anyway, but that’s another story. I thought a W8-BEN was something to do with: Ben there, seen it, got the T-shirt and worn it out. (sorry) I’d also spent over £100 buying ISBN numbers from Nielsen and registering on PUBWEB. I spent hours searching through royalty free photos to find an image of a man in a kilt that wouldn’t put me off my haggis, neeps and tatties. I finally found one it on  www.dreamstime.com. I found the photo for my second cover via Google image and then sourced it back to ‘dreamstime’.

I had to set up a PAYPAL account to buy credits on the website and now use it to pay my website designer, proof reader and formatter. (I may have bought one or two non-writing purchases, but let’s not go there!) I didn’t fully appreciate what was involved in formatting a manuscript for kindle and Create Space but managed it anyway, using crib sheets provided by RNA members Freda Lightfoot and Amanda Grange. This time I’m paying someone to copy edit and format my manuscript - nuff said!

I enjoyed designing my front cover and writing the blurb but had to learn all about categories and tags on Amazon and didn’t realise how important they were. I’m better prepared this time, too, regarding having the shipment of my novels but wish that Create Space would print in the UK and save me postage.  

On the run up to publication, I organised a tweetathon/giveaway to publicise my book. I replied to so many tweets in a two hour period that I was put in twitter ‘prison’ and had to continue on my ‘event page’ on Facebook. Since then I have become an avid tweeter and re-tweeter, which I think has really helped to sell my novel outside of the UK. I now sell more downloads on amazon.com than any other site. Re-tweeting can be tedious, but through it I have gained many lovely readers who are waiting patiently for number two. I’m fast becoming expert on #hashtags #favourites, tiny/urls and how to use them to my advantage. 

I had a profile on Facebook before I became a writer and established quite a community of friends there. Many Facebook friends have downloaded and my books and supported me this year and I can’t thank them enough. Please ‘friend’ me if we aren’t already friends - www.facebook.com/lizzie.lamb I now have a Facebook Author page www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter but most of my readers like to ‘friend’ me on my main page as I talk about non-writerly matters there. I now realise the importance of   amazon reviews and how they affect the algorithm that determines my place in the rankings.

I now have a website with a blog and have purchased a domain name. I’m on my second website as I wasn’t happy with the first one; however, I need to spend some time launching it this autumn along with Boot Camp Bride (www.lizzielamb.co.uk) I am in the process of having a quarterly newsletter designed, too.  I have appeared on many blogs but now need to start repaying the favour. I have also established a presence on GoodReads, after other writer friends advised me to. Jury’s still out on that one!

Along with three other writers, I formed The New Romantics 4 and held book launches in pubs, clubs and hotels. We’re about to start Round Two and hope to hold a launch in London this year.

Finally, last December I offered my book as a free download and although I had a great sales spike afterwards I don’t think I’d do it again. My reason - well, that’s for another blog post. Instead, I keep altering my price as I find if you leave things to simmer, Amazon doesn’t seem promote my novel as much.  I have stayed on KDP select as the latest self-publishing seminar I attended said that amazon has 95% of the market, Apple 5% and the other outlets 5%. But I might consider KOBO when the three month deal ends.

That’s my retrospective. Is it getting any easier? Debatable. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted. It seems that as one climbs one peak, there’s another one to be conquered - and another book to be written. And if anyone tells me indie writers have it easy, I might forget I’m a lady.



Find out more about Lizzie by checking out our Author, Books and Review Pages. Also take a look at Lizzie's links too.



Lizzie’s Links

Tall Dark and Kilted:  http://t.co/jKpB4WMM4F
twitter: @lizzie_lamb             twitter: @newromantics4


39 comments:

  1. Reading back through this I now realise why I feel exhausted. LOL. Looking forward to holding BOOT CAMP BRIDE in my sticky hands and our first gig at the Festival of Romance in November. See you there?

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  2. My goodness Lizzie your feet haven't touched the ground! I too am amazed at the amount of work that accumulates during the production of a book. Most of mine is electronically filed but I did have a bit of a blitz the other day with old paperwork being guzzled up by the shredder. And as for getting any easier, well as writers enjoy what they do so much they just rise to each challenge don't they - no gain without pain! Good luck with the new book. Jo xx

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    1. Thanks Jo, I can't wait to get back to the actual WRITING!! There is always so much to do and I'm sure I spend far too much time Tweeting etc. But I've met some lovely readers that way so I can't really complain.

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  3. What a roller coaster, Lizzie but what wonderful rewards you've received. Am duly impressed that your novel is downloaded so much over the pond. It's uplifting to see what sheer initiative, hard work and energy can achieve. But then again, Tall, Dark and Kilted, is a rattling good read! Talent will out . . .

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. I've received so much help and inspiration from multi published authors like your good self. Mind you, the hard work has been worth it. I'm quite surprised about how many people in the US have bought Tall, Dark and Kilted. Hope they like the next one half as much. Thank you.

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  4. I've watched you on your journey, you've been inspirational. Very well done for going it, for REALLY going for it! Loved the honesty of your post : ) Good luck with Book No 2 x

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    1. Yasmin, I've learned so much from reading your blog and I know you've worked really hard to promo GUNSHOT GLITTER. Any success we've gained is due to hard work, although it would be nice if 'luck' was about to kick in any time now. LOL.

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  5. LOL I feel exhausted reading this too, Lizzie! But I can totally relate to you. You're doing a fab job... you'll soon get the hang on everything and you'll be able to breathe slowly and calmly again :D xx

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    1. Breathing, Suzy, what's that? Indie writers have to work twice as hard - and thank you for he;ping me out with the Portuguese in Boot Camp Bride. There's a wee mention in the acknowledgments :-) Looking forward to being on your blog one day very soon, too.

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  6. I've loved following your publishing route, Lizzie and think you've been inspirational over this past year! Congratulations on the Amazon.com sales and here's to a massive success with Boot Camp Bride - I can't wait to buy my copy!

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Georgina. I think we've been running on a parallel course, you and me. Can't wait to find the time (ha, hollow laughter) to read JERSEY KISS. I know how hard you've worked to get it ready for publication. More power to our elbows - or something like that.

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  7. LOL! Love the title and cover of Boot Camp Bride!

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    1. Thank you Susan. So kind of you to say so :-)

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  8. Fascinating - just fascinating. You are one of the many Indie authors who have inspired me to think very seriously about this route in future - and your first book, as you know, I loved. Can't wait for the second one. Please keep sharing and inspiring. Shani xxx

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  9. I have been on this journey with Lizzie, and I have to say she is amazing and an inspiration and I would not be anywhere without her as an indie!!!
    Boot Camp Bride is hilarious and moving and brilliant, and will be a best seller, I have no doubt.
    Onwards and upwards, Lizzie I am right behind you (as usual) Adrienne xxx

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    1. Can't wait to read a CHANGE OF HEART, Adrienne. Rert of message at foot of page !!

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  10. Phew! what can I say! Total respect!

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  11. Wee word of advice - because you have your own ISBNs you can also print books in the UK, and are not tied solely to CreateSpace. Look around for a friendly small printer and negotiate a printing price. My small printer matches the Amazon authors' copies price, but I had to negotiate this as he started higher! However, ensure the printer you choose is near to you as carriage costs in this country can actually exceed the CreateSpace carriage cost from the US!
    Good luck with the new book I hope it does well.

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  12. Thanks for that, Chris. Oddly enough, I'm going to Norfolk at the end of October to check out a small printer there. Last year I was just pleased to get the novel 'out there'. Time to be a bit more adventurous now. I an also go over to Norfolk frequently or get the book picked up. Thanks for the advice.

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  13. Marilyn - that's why I need the botox. Beginning to look like my granny (bless her memory).

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  14. Adrienne, we're side-by-side, sister. I couldn't have got this far without your help and cheerfulness. And, OK, Sauvignon blanc might also have played a starring role. Can't wait to read your next one, either. Once we've got those magical three books under our belts we can stand back and take stock.

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  15. Shani, mutual respect, mate. I loved THE RUNAWAY YEAR and I've picked loads of tips about social media up from you, too. You could easily self publish and I'm first in line to buy any book you write.

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  16. Gosh it's hard work!!! Well done you...I'm trying to build my base in prep for new novel,,, so working hard and then will work even harder when it's out. You have done spectacularly well ....and here's the reason why!!

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    1. Thanks Carol. Its been hard at times without a publisher but at least I am in TOTAL control. As for your base, I think you;ve got loads of fans because of your YA series and your blog. Bit behind on the blogging front I must say. Feeling quite grown up today s I now have an accountant - now to make sense of all those receipts.

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  17. Lizzie is certainly a powerhouse,with an amazing capacity to get things done.But she's incredibly generous with her time and tips and encouragement,too - always ready to offer help and support to flagging friends.(As a recent flagger,I speak from experience.)The new book is just fabulous!

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    1. Dear Flagger, I have sent you mad texts during this uploading process and you have always responded with great calmness and wisdom. I guess we compliment each other. All the things I've outlined, you've done too. Thanks for popping by, can't wait to read number two.

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  18. Congrats on an amazing year, Lizzie! I'm tired out just reading about it. Wishing you loads of success with Boot Camp Bride in addition to continued success with Tall, Dark and Kilted.

    An accountant? How professional. I depend on my hubby for that...

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    1. Thank you Melanie for your kind remarks and for having me on your blog earlier this year. I might take a breather from the writing for a few weeks as we have our book launches coming up in November. Good luck with your writing, too.

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  19. Goodness, you've been busy! Being an indie makes it feel like our work is never done! That's great that you've had such success with Twitter. I still often feel overwhelmed by it! Best of luck with the new book - love the cover!

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    1. Thanks you Jackie, I know that we stumble across each other in the Twittersphere. There's a lot to learn as an indie, but I gather from conventionally published chums that they have to do much of the promos themselves, too. The only thing is, their publishers can get their books publicised in national mags etc.

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  20. Tweeted.See you at the Festival of Romance!

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    1. Thanks, Serena. Yes, see you at the FOR - Adrienne Vaughan and me are allegedly talking on a panel on the Sunday about self-pubbing but waiting to hear more from Kate Allen.

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  21. Hi, Late as usual - Now I know why I'm exhausted, Lizzie, the past year in a extra large nutshell. Wouldn't have got where I am today without your constant help and chivying - a big Thank you - and the support of the other two New Romantics 4, Adrienne and June. Looking forward to reading Boot Camp Bride and Change of Heart, plus June's as-yet-to-be titled.

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    1. Think June's about decided on her title. JUST. Thanks for calling by, Mags, I know technology isn't your forte but you;ve come a long way in the last year, too. As for chivvying - guess that must be my middle name. LOL.Looking fwd to reading Twins of a Gazelle, soon.

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    2. Well,you know what I'm like with deadlines - right to the wire. You would have hated to be one of my school teachers.

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  22. Congratulations, Lizzie! What an amazing journey! Respect and Kudos to you! Looking forward to your Boot Camp Bride.

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  23. Thank you Lindsay. I have a long way to go before I catch up with you. Thank you for laving a comment and for all the ReTweets. Much appreciated.

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  24. An exhausting year, Lizzie, but one where the hard work has certainly paid off. Here's hoping Boot Camp Bride is equally successful. Ex

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  25. Hi Elizabeth - it has been a busy year but we all have to work hard to realise our dreams. Or at least, some of them. Lovely to see you on FFP - you've been a great RTweeter. You didn't even seem to mind when I called you DULCIE - should wear the reading glasses at all times. LOL. Good luck with your own writing.

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