Guest Post: Selena Blake on Being Willing to Change

A few weeks ago, Selena Blake offered to do a guest post on the Authors Helping Authors series. With everything going on with Shadow Cat, I fell in love with her rule #7. Yay! for me when she offered to expand on it. And Yay! for you too. haha So here we have it:

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Rule #7 of my Ten Commandments of Indie Publishing is be willing to change.

I think that just like in life, those who are willing to change and adapt in the publishing industry are those who will flourish. Admittedly, change can be scary and sometimes even hard. But it’s worth it.

For me, change came when I got the rights back to five books from a previous publisher. I turned around and began publishing those backlist books myself and I’ve done really well, I think.

I’m certainly not the only one embracing change in the publishing industry. Readers are embracing digital books as well.

According to Yahoo News (January 2011), Amazon stated “since January 1, U.S. customers have bought 115 Kindle editions for every 100 paperbacks sold.”

How’s that for change?

I’ve watched the ebook industry pretty much since inception. I’ve waited for it to grow. And I’ve seen how large traditionally print publishers have reacted to this new wave of technology.

The key here is traditional publishers are reactionary. I’ll admit it’s pretty hard to turn an ocean liner (otherwise the Titanic might not be lying on the bottom of the ocean after half a voyage.) But the people who are thriving these days are those who are willing to take risks.

With the digital wave, it’s time to swim or sink.

While big publishers resist change, we indie authors can use change to our advantage. We can shift faster than big companies can. We can take risks that their board of directors would scream at. We can move between digital releases and print when it makes sense for our business. We can adapt to changes in the market, within our genre or distribution method.

Becoming an indie author is a lot like being tossed into a pool for the first time — without your water wings. Honestly, it can be a little scary with no one there to cover your back. Everything falls to you: cover art, blurbs, promotion, revisions and editing, book keeping.

But that’s also the beauty of indie publishing. With you at the helm, you can steer your ship. You can change course. You can even keep on your water wings if you want.

You have the benefit of being able to tweak your blurb/description over the course of the book’s (very long) life. And if you discover your cover isn’t selling, you can change that. You can surround yourself with a team of your choice to edit, design, layout, and promote your books.

Over the course of my career, I’ve changed publishers. I’ve embraced ebooks as the media of choice for my career and all my personal reading. I’ve changed titles; I’ve tweaked blurbs. I’ve revised how I construct descriptions. I have all new covers for my indie releases. I’ve expanded previously released books. And I’ve changed and expanded my focus as an author. I’m targeting new publishers and writing longer, more complex books. I think it’s going pretty well.

In short, I’m embracing change. I’m embracing diversity.

A few final thoughts:

1.       Take advantage of your flexibility as an indie author.

2.       Be willing to change and adapt your writing. This doesn’t mean stifle your voice, but embrace a different path.

3.       Try a new genre.

4.       Write a short story or a novella if you traditionally write novels.

5.       Get a new cover if you think it would improve sales.

6.       Update your blurb. I’ve done this several times, even as a book is on sale.

7.       Be willing to change your title.

8.       Don’t be married to your words. You may have to cut them.

9.       Try a new type of promotion. Join an author co-op. Try advertising. Experiment with a soft launch.1

10.   Try new methods of distribution. You don’t have to stick with them forever. Try things until you find something that works.

How are you embracing change within your writing life?

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About Selena Blake

An action movie buff with a penchant for all things supernatural and sexy, Selena Blake combines her love for adventure, travel and romance into steamy paranormal romance. Selena’s books have been called “a steamy escape” and  have appeared on bestseller lists,  been nominated for awards, and won contests.  When she’s not writing you can find her by the pool soaking up some sun, day dreaming about new characters, and watching the cabana boy (aka her muse), Derek. Fan mail keeps her going when the diet soda wears off so write to her at selenablake@gmail.com.

Want to know more about Selena Blake? Check out her website!

0 thoughts on “Guest Post: Selena Blake on Being Willing to Change

  1. Change is such a hard thing, even when we know we should. I don’t know what it is about human nature that keeps on the “safe” but ineffective path.

    I was over at Terrance Foxxe’s blog the other day, and he pulled out the Einstein quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  2. Selena,

    This is a fantastic article. Change is as good as it is hard. I like to think that I try to embrace chance but I’m not immune to the fears and self doubts that come with it. But we find a way around all of that and push forward. Thanks!

  3. I try to keep that quotation in mind when thinking about change: what would you do if you knew you could not fail?

    That’s not saying we won’t fail, but I think as we get older we fear change more and more. And I think that’s a dangerous place to be. I think we can embrace change while trusting our instincts. And certainly follow the data.

    Did you guys hear that ebooks are outselling paperback books now?

    Thanks again, Reena, for letting me blog with you.

  4. Great post! Change can be hard sometimes, especially to things like titles! Even worse though, is when you need a change but don;t know it, and no one will tell you. I’m guilty of this. I’ve run into really horrible titles etc. but never say “You know, you might have better luck if you changed x” because I always feel like no one wants my unsolicited advice. It’s such a fine line!

  5. That is a tough one, Joleene. Not everyone takes criticism well. 🙂 For the record, I take it well so don’t think your advice is unsolicited with me. I don’t always make changes. haha. I’m one of these people who’ll go down the safe ineffective path at times. But I’d rather know that not.

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