When it comes to indie publishing, every article, interview, podcast, video, and conversation imparts the same piece of advice.
Start. A. Mailing. List.
Seeing as I’m neither a fan of business nor marketing, I have been putting this off. Of course, I figured I didn’t really have anything to offer people.
However, deciding to hone my short fiction skills means that my catalogue will be expanding more than if I continued to focus solely on novels (two of which still require a hundred hours of editing).
Still, I won’t send out a lot of emails. I’ve subscribed to many email lists, and I’ve unsubscribed from even more. (Wait, that doesn’t make sense.) The point is, I know how annoying they can be when done wrong, and I don’t want to bother anyone.
As things currently stand, I plan to only send an email when:
- A new story/book comes out
- There are Advance Reader Copies available
- I have a free book promotion
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As I work on slicing and dicing 30,000 words from one novel, edit the first draft another novel, consider changing tense in my very first novel, and continue writing and submitting short stories to an ever-expanding list of periodicals, I figured why not dip my toe in the Amazon?
After all, it might be a nice change from the sea of rejections.
Using a complex calculus of variables, expressions, and operators,* I have devised a system in which to work Amazon into my submission process.
I plan to put up a few short stories and one novella over the next couple months.
Using short stories is also a good way to put pseudonym conundrum to the test.
First up is a 7,400 word speculative fiction story called The Masq.
* math terms I quickly looked up
Perhaps conundrum is an overstatement. Especially given I know which way I’m leaning.
It’s also not a pressing concern, considering I’m only done the first draft. And I might rewrite the entire thing in first person. (At least it’s only 75k words.)
Regardless, I just finished writing a young adult (YA) novel and began pondering the case for pseudonyms. Seeing as I haven’t made any name for myself, the issue is far down my list of concerns. Somewhere just above who to include in my Edgars acceptance speech.
However, I’ve also wanted to give self-publishing a shot–both to learn the ropes and see how it goes. In that case, the question rockets to the top like the 1999 St. Louis Rams.
Stephen King wrote under the nom de plume Richard Bachman to circumvent an industry that penalized prolificacy.
J.K. Rowling stated that it was “wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
Then there’s erotica. Some sources estimate that 103% of all erotica is written under a pseudonym.
Obviously I do not share the concerns of either King or Rowling. And I’m not writing erotica. But many make the argument to use a pen name when writing a different genre.
Iain Banks wrote mainstream fiction as such, then ever so sneakily wrote science fiction as Iain M. Banks. (More for clarity than obfuscation.)
John Grisham writes young adult fiction and non-legal-thrillers under one name. Many authors write in multiple genres under one name, including the aforementioned King.
The argument is often made that using a pen name allows the reader to know what they’re getting. But there’s a thing called a description. They could always read that first.