The Business Side of Creativity

I have a lot of guilt that I haven’t been able to create much writing this year. I spent most of January editing A Devil’s Hope and February has been spent cleaning up the business side of things to make sure I can start getting into physical stores.

It’s daunting to choose to be an independently published author. This is why a lot of people try to go the traditional route. It’s not just being able to write the books. It’s editing, designing, advertising, promoting, and setting up.

When I started I was flush with fun money and purchased 100 ISBNS. I’m so happy I did. I own my ISBNs and it comes in handy when I explain the other work I did this month. Bowker is the official US issuer of ISBNs. If you aren’t using your own, I strongly encourage it. The ISBNs provided by places like KDP, Barnes & Noble, and IngramSpark will only work for their locations.

A hard lesson to learn is to not jump in feet first and go with KDP because it’s a massive distributor and Amazon. KDP’s entire process is outdated and cumbersome. Their website is a relic of the early 2000s and is buggy. Their marketing and advertising site is even more a nightmare. I’m regretting throwing my eggs into the KDP publishing basket without further researching places like B&N Press and IngramSpark.

The Vella side is better. But they definitely do not care about UX. It’s painfully obvious a developer who never uses the site developed KDP and Vella. Little things like being able to re-arrange episodes, cancel a publish before it goes live, instant publishing, and being able to group seasons into a series without having to write massively long titles, or put (s#) in the title, are all lacking on the author side. On the reader side, good luck in a browser. It maxes at 450 pixels in width. I’m on a 4K monitor. That takes up about 1/10th of my screen.

I’ve been putting all the business-like pieces in order to focus on writing in March. I initiated an ISBN release/transfer to IngramSpark for all my print books. This will allow me better distribution, and allow physical stores to trust they can purchase my book for their stories. Stores won’t purchase POD books without a guarantee they can return them.

I set all my KU books to not renew at the end of their 90 days. As they are released I will return them to Radish and Laterpress, along with other sites in the works.

I stopped the subscription service. I was losing sleep over not producing what I felt was enough content for my subscribers. I signed up for Ream, and I may implement it for bonus content, and digital content, but I’m not sure I can balance that with everything I’m currently doing.

I updated bookfunnel and my website to allow me to sell eBooks directly. I like Laterpress too, but until I can sell the eBook without a subscription, I’m going to stick with Book Funnel.

I’ve also stepped up promotional content. Scheduling posts on Facebook and Instagram has only been mildly painful due to how Facebook displays what you have scheduled. My newsletters will pick up pace as well. I just sent out a massive one with a bunch of updates, but hopefully they will be more focused and smaller as I go!

I stopped my Amazon ads. They just aren’t worth it. The system is too hard to use, doesn’t let me advertise Vellas (their product!) and the reporting is so screwy it never looks like anything is happening.

Fixed my BookBub. The URL was super weird with them, and the books were all funky monkey. But their site pulls from Bowker I believe, so I spent the time to go and update all the details in Bowker.

I hope this is a little helpful to anyone thinking about getting into the publishing/writing game. To go the independent author route, is daunting, and takes a hyper-focused person to balance all the hats you wear.