Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Journey to Amazon Bestseller by Indie Publishing: Guest Post by Debra Burroughs

My Journey to Amazon Bestseller by Indie Publishing – by Debra Burroughs

Although I published my first book two years ago with a small press, about a year ago I plunged headlong into the dark unknown of Indie Publishing.

Well, it’s not really dark or unknown, that’s just how it felt to me – at first. My first book, CHICANA, a labor of love that took me over two years to write, did not set the world on fire as I had hoped. I had visions of going on The Oprah Show and The TODAY Show to talk about my gripping and compelling story, but the invitations never came.

After I decided to go it alone, I was determined to learn all I could about self-publishing and how I could market my books to the masses. From the day I made that decision, I voraciously devoured everything I could find on the subject.

I began by following the blog thewritersguidetoepublishing.com, which posts every day on all things indie (which was a fantastic place to start). I read J.A. Konrath’s blog on self-publishing, Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward blog, and Kristen Lamb’s WarriorWriters.wordpress.com. I joined KindleBoards.com and hung out there in the Writers’ Café, interacting with other indie authors.  

Here is a list of some of the books I read to learn about Indie Publishing:
Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success (by Carolyn McCray et al)
Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author (by Zoe Winters)
Let’s Get Digital (by David Gaughran)
The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success (by Scott Nicholson)
How To Really Sell eBooks (by Jon F. Merz, who turned me on to TweetAdder.com)

I know we all think we can write the “great American novel,” but you will find you improve with each book you write. And the more you read, the better you get, so regularly read top authors in the genres you want to write. You’ll be surprised how it will improve your writing.  

Here are some of the writing books I read to improve my writing skills:
Plot & Structure (by James Scott Bell)
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go (by Les Edgerton)
Story Engineering (by Larry Brooks)

After all of that, I have to tell you that my best marketing promotions are done on Twitter (with the help of TweetAdder) and those I have done in conjunction with the Indie Book Collective (IndieBookCollective.com), I have found, at least for me, that cross-promoting with other good authors can be very successful.

Using a combination of a Free promotion and a cross-promoting campaign, I was able to get my latest release, Three Days in Seattle, into Amazon’s Top 100 Paid for 15 days in a row last month and it has sold over 17,000 copies since its release at the end of February, 2012.

I believe that through all I have learned on this exciting indie-publishing journey, I can boil it down to three things – write a good book, have a professional and attention-grabbing cover, and market the heck out of it (which is the hardest part).

In the end, as I have been told by long-time and successful authors, the best promotion for your books is to write another great book. I am getting ready to release my fourth book this June, The Scent of Lies, and plan two more before the end of 2012.  

What has your publishing journey been like?

You can follow Debra on Facebook, Twitter@DebraBurroughsAuthor and also check out her website@http://www.debraburroughsbooks.com  

About Debra Burroughs:
Debra Burroughs grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the tumultuous 1960′s, during the time that the Civil Rights Movement was gearing up and racial tensions were mounting. Her parents moved the family to a more peaceful town in the Central Valley of California, where she became the assistant editor of her high school newspaper and even had a teen column in the city paper.

Starting college, she majored in broadcast journalism, but over time she changed her major to business. Even though she moved her focus to the business world, she never lost her love for writing. She always hoped one day to return to it.

Over the years, with a large Mexican family, she heard many stories about their history, particularly from her grandmother and mother. As she would relay these colorful and heart-wrenching family stories to her friends, many times she would hear them say, “You should really write a book about that.” So, finally, she did. CHICANA, a Memoir debuted in November, 2010. Her other books include Three days in Seattle and She had no choice.  

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

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