What I Learned in My First Year of Indie Publishing


It’s been over 15 months since The Six Train to Wisconsin was first published. About time to stop and think about everything that has happened to me since then.

When I first embarked on this indie journey, I had no idea how many emotional highs and lows I’d hit each week. Or day. Or hour.

Every moment felt so life of death for my book. You’re up, you’re down. Sales are happening, sales stop happening. You won an award, you didn’t place for an award. But a year later, I still am selling copies.

I’ve come to realize I have no direct control over sales. And sometimes they suck. And sometimes they soar.

It’s about balancing the writing and the promoting. And being okay with ranking dropping.

I’ve come to accept that there is no exact correlation between the effort you put into promo activities and actual sales happening. You can guestimate. If a sale happens the day after an event, maybe it’s related to that event. Or maybe they heard about it on Facebook, checked out your book trailer, and decided to try it. Or maybe one of your readers recommended it to them and it had nothing at all to do with your promo work.

There is no concrete way to trace how a sale happens. So there is no definitive way to say if a promotion tactic has succeeded or failed. Maybe it didn’t motivate a sale that day, but maybe it was part of several interactions that led to a sale further down the road.

That’s why it’s so important to have a marketing strategy. A long-term approach to promoting. It has to be about getting your name out there and creating discoverability. And believing that sales will flow from there.


I am not the same girl who trembled at the thought of giving a speech. Sure, I still get nervous and I over-practice to compensate, but I am getting better and better at doing things I used to run from. It still tires me out—I’m not a natural extrovert. So “being on” saps my energy and I need a day or two hiding in my Kour cave to recover.

I have readers. People who enjoy my novel and reach out to me! People who really connect with my story and my characters. Beyond the sales figures and the review writers, there are people who I don’t know about reading and enjoying my story. That’s pretty cool. I just wish I had a way of knowing how many of them were out there. I suspect it could be thousands. Which is really awesome.

There are also readers who dislike my book. That hurts. But it also means they aren’t my target audience. They aren’t the people I wrote the book for. And so they aren’t going to like it. Sometimes a review reveals more about a reader than a book. What they dislike is usually exactly what my target readers like.

Mostly, I’ve learned to stay the course. To believe in my book and myself. And to hire a team of people I trust in completely. They make it so much easier to manage my indie publishing career.


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