What did I mean by that?
When I decided to self-publish Clockwise, the only arsenal of knowledge I had was how it was done Traditionally. Especially when it came to marketing and selling. Here are the big differences:
-- Traditional marketing has a a big lead up to launch date, several months, even a year or more of effort to create pre-launch buzz. There are a lot of marketing campaigns available to Trad publishing that aren't available to indie pubbers so we try to copy this via blog tours and big prizes. This works for some people, but was a bust for me. With indie pubbing, buzz can be built in just a few weeks and I've released books with no build up at all other than the fact that the previous books were doing well and I had built a fan base.
--Traditional publishing is big on selling the printed book. This is one area I had a hard time changing my thinking. With indie publishing the main effort is in digital sales. Though you will sell print copies, the lion's share of sales is digital (I think most indie authors would agree with me). The ROI (return on investment) in doling out cash to get your books in print is very low. Trying to sell print books ala traditional publishing is where I lost big cash. I had to embrace a big paradigm shift as an indie author. Print books are secondary. As in, just do them for friends and family and a few die hard print book fans. Cost for the design of a back cover and spine is around 100.00. With Create Space you don't have to pay anything if you don't opt in to extended distribution (which I don't. Not worth it.) From now on that's the most I will invest in print. And not for all my books.
--This also ties into advertizing. Because I was still thinking like a trad pubber, I sunk money into advertising and promoting in venues where people presumably shop for print books. I also spent money on paid advertizing for e-books, and for me, that still wasn't good value. The best advertizing and marketing is word of mouth. Social networking helps a lot (make friends on twitter, facebook, blogging and with book blogger/reviewers), but it's still important to break the friend/family/acquaintances divide. For me the way that happened was by putting Clockwise free. With the help of sites that promote free books (like Pixel of Ink), Clockwise was downloaded over 50,000 times. There's no way I could've bought that kind of promotion, not with my budget anyway. This drove the sales of the sequel and the other books in the series. Some people find it hard to stomach the idea of putting one of their books free, and it's not always necessary to do so to succeed. Some authors put out companion short stories or novelettes for free to drive the sales of their novel.
-Another difference is time in between releases. It's okay and even beneficial to put out books back to back as an indie pubber. Because there's no need for a big lead up to build buzz, you can schedule releases whenever you want to. In fact, it's better sometimes not to mention an actual day :), just in case you need more time, or in some cases, things go more quickly than you thought and you can release it earlier.
To summarize, I spent way too much money on Clockwise. It's the old adage: If I knew then what I know now--well, I'd be richer. My rule of thumb now is to keep expenses under 1000.00 per book (more like 600.00). Spend 40% of your budget on editing, 40% on a cover (don't skimp on either of these two things. If you do nothing else, do this: get a great cover and thorough editing) and reserve 20% for miscellaneous, like postage, business cards or some promotion. Write a compelling blurb (see my post on how to write a query/hook in four easy steps(link), and then get it out there and let everyone know.
Now I'm heading into year two with a new pen name(link) and a new series. So curious as to how the next year will play out!