I’d like to welcome Kristy Tate to my blog. Thanks Kristy for stopping by!
Swimming Moats and the Indie Business Model
This is a post I wrote in about 18 months ago:
Yesterday I picked up a book on marketing at the Friends of the Library bookstore. Written in 1986, the book compares marketing to guerilla warfare. (It also refers to IBM as a god of the market place—so yeah, it’s outdated.) But fifty cents seemed like an okay investment. The book’s general advice: seek out the weaknesses of the opposition so that you can destroy them.
I’ve also been trying to hone my business skills by web surfing and I came across articles by Warren Buffett. (Because, let’s be honest, I was a literature, not a business, major and I’m a much better reader than I am a business person.) Mr. Buffett talks about how each business needs a moat—a shield that protects from the opposition trying to destroy its business. A good business is focusing on widening its moat. An aggressive business is looking for ways to storm the opposition’s moat.
With sincere respect to marketing experts in general and Mr. Buffett in particular, I must say that when it comes to indie publishing I disagree. The code word in indie publishing is generosity. Help others and gratefully acknowledge when someone helps you in return, because they will. People like to help. It feels good.
I’m not advocating writing glowing, gushing reviews to undeserving books, nor am I saying you should promote what you haven’t read. What I am saying is that when you share what you learn and observe about writing and the book business—people will appreciate that. They might decide to read your books, because writers were readers before they were ever writers, and if they like what they read, they may decide to help you, too.
That’s my indie business plan. Will I be as successful as Mr. Buffett? Probably not. But that’s okay. At least I won’t get wet and dirty wading through moats.
This is what’s happened to my career since embracing this plan:
Last Christmas, I joined with the Authors of Main Street and published an anthology of Christmas Stories. We were an Amazon #1 bestseller for several weeks and sold more than 50,000 copies. Of course, those who read my A LIGHT IN THE CHRISTMAS CAFÉ went on to buy and read some of my other books.
In June, I again collaborated with the Authors of Main Street and contributed to a Wedding Anthology. While this wasn’t as successful as our Christmas boxed set, it was still a #1 Amazon bestseller of short stories for several weeks. I know I had spillover from the wedding set, because a number of readers wrote to tell me they loved my story STUCK WITH YOU
I now am currently involved in three upcoming anthologies, all published in October. The first is a clean romance anthology consisting of ten novellas. My novella, The Witching Well, is really an introduction to my upcoming novel, The Highwayman Incident. I’m hoping that those reading The Witching Well will want to read book two, three and four of the series (none of them are yet finished.)
The second is a collection of thirteen paranormal stories which will include my novel BEYOND THE FORTUNETELLERS TENT. Is a stretch of the imagination to call Tent a story—it’s a 300+ page novel—but I’m really excited to be involved with this talented group of authors. And again, it’s the first book in a trilogy, and I’m hoping that the anthology readers will want to read the rest of my Beyond books.
My last October anthology is a collection of flash fiction from 101 indie authors—each story is less than a thousand words (about 4 pages.) My story, Anywhere Else, doesn’t have sequels or anything else. It’s a heartfelt story of loss and endurance. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/1nJcndm
Why all the collections and anthologies? Because by cross promoting, we’re sharing our talents to a wider readership. And besides, if you have to swim a few moats, it’s a whole lot more fun to do it with friends.
Kristy studied English literature at Brigham Young University and at BYU’s International Center in London. Although a long time resident of Orange County, California where she lives with her family, Kristy’s heart belongs in her hometown of Arlington, Washington, AKA Rose Arbor–the fictional setting of her popular Rose Arbor series.
For updates on Kristy’s upcoming novels, please visit her blog at kristystories.blogspot.com