Can an #IndieAuthor Make It In Today’s Market?

If you work really hard, amazing things will happen. ~ Conan O’Brien

I am true blue Indie author. I have been since 2011. I am in charge of my writing, formatting, tweaking, and social media. I do hire out my edits (Faith Williams) and cover designs (Erin Dameron-Hill). I make all my own decisions: what to write, where and when to promo, and when to release my books. There are several pros about being an Indie author. The main one is that you know even before you begin your book, it will be published.

When I began this venture, I hadn’t a clue about publishing. All that I had was a strong desire to write. I understood nothing about social media, formatting, editing or trolls. I learned quickly. I have four facebook accounts under my pennames and real name. I will let you in on a secret. I’m absolutely awful at social media. I have over six thousand facebook friends I don’t know. Why? Because I was told that I needed a presence on Facebook. I have over 45,000 twitter followers. I will confess—I must be the most boring Twitter person. My whole focus is my books or someone else’s book. But I am there and that is important.

I will tell you how out of touch I am…how engrossed I am in my books. The night of the presidental election, I was shocked when Donald Trump won his first state. I thought Hilary was going to win by a landslide. I guess that’s what I get for using Saturday Night Live as my news source.

So, the hardest part for me as an Indie is keeping up with the ever changing world of publishing. I’ll delve into that more in a minute.

In the past, I will admit I have tried to get my books published by the traditional Big- 5 publishers with no success. I have even tried to get an agent. Last April, I attended the NECRWA Conference with only one intention—talking with an agent. At these meetings, you have an assigned time.  At this one, it was a fifteen minute time limit. They were running behind with the agent I was meeting with, but I was assured I would get my full time. Didn’t happen. I was trying to pitch Framed, my release last September. I wanted to branch off into contemporaries and I thought I would give it another shot at getting an agent…at getting published by a Big 5 publisher. The truth was I realized that my mother didn’t have long left on this earth. Even though she had read my books, I don’t think she considered me a true author. I wanted…I wanted her to know I was. Unfortunately, that didn’t happened.

Back to my appointment, the agent…I loved her…the 5 minutes I had with her. As with most of the times at these meetings, she asked me for a longer sample and told me to email it to her. Well…I did. I got a standard response back that if it wasn’t solicited, the email would be deleted. I didn’t worry. I did as requested, submitted as requested, but I got no reply. After I waited the required amount of time, I sent another email. Sadly, I got the same standard response and there, again, no reply. Once more, I realized I wasn’t going to get an agent. I released Framed as the second book in Boston’s Crimes of Passion. The lesson I learned—my sales pitch must be sorely lacking.

I believe trying to get a Big 5 publisher was not only for my momma, but for the acknowledgement to myself that I can truly write. Over the years, as an Indie, you are bombarded with one thing after another…external forces pounding into you must not be good enough to be called an author— like not even getting a response back from an agent. I have tried different things to get respect from the gods of writing. Some examples: I submitted Belle of Charleston for review to Publisher Weekly (Got an awful review. Said they hated the ending…they, too, ignored the warning that it was a serial). I submitted Belle of Charleston to Kindle Scout and got shot down. I asked Amazon if I could release Southern Legacy as a true serial. They said no. So I had no choice but to release it in four installments. But sometimes, they are wrong. Southern Legacy serial has become my bestseller.

AMAZON    BARNES&NOBLE   ITUNES   KOBO

I guess you can say I’m pretty stubborn. You see, I think I’m a damn good writer.

There again, my stubborness is probably what has made the agents and Big 5 pass over my writing. I write what I feel. To make money writing historicals, you should write Regencies. I don’t write a lot of true Regencies. I have three under Colleen Connally. One of my pride and joys is Seductive Secrets. But even writing a traditional romance such as Seductive Secrets, I deviated from the formula. My secondary character…whom I absolutely love…Charles is gay. Even though the Big 5 say they want originality, they don’t want controversy. Same as when I had tried to get an agent for Southern Legacy, I got the book was too long. I understood, but I couldn’t cut the story. So, you see I brought a lot of the rejections upon myself. That is why its a good thing I’m an Indie.

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I am perfectly happy being an Indie, but the face of publishing is ever changing. Now, we are facing another change—  AMAZON

In the past, Amazon has been the reason Indies could break into the tremendously competitive world of publishing. Amazon is the reason I make money doing what I love. Now, the rest of this blog is only my opinion, but I think AMAZON has become the sixth big publisher. I think it is the most powerful force in publishing…at least from my perspective. They have their own imprints. They have changed the rules in publishing. Some that were beneficial to me, but the ones they made recently have hurt. For a while, I had all my books in KDP. Amazon made it worthwhile, but then it changed. My KDP numbers dropped dramatically. Why? I saw somewhere it had to do with the Kindle flip-page. Could be. But there was another avenue Amazon opened up —Kindle Unlimited. My books weren’t included in Kindle Unlimited. Now, I have pulled about half my books out of KDP and have gone back to the other sites: Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Everything is changing, but it can’t stop us Indies. This is only one more obstacle for us Indies to manuever around. The most important one on the business end for Indies is PROMOTING! It is a must. You have to get your book in the hands of readers and no one is going to do it for you. So, where do I promote?

First and foremost: BOOKBUB.

 

I love BookBub, absolutely adore BookBub. I can’t say enough good things about Bookbub. Even if they never took another book of mine, I will always promote BookBub. BookBub is the reason I’m still writing. Back in 2012, I got hit hard by trolls, trolls that dug their nails into my back and wouldn’t let go. I had one that it seemed like it was her mission to save the world from my writing. I don’t ever want to relive that time. I ended up having to take down the book the trolls were going after, Daughter of Deceit…aka Seductive Secrets. I took Daughter of Deceit down and put it back up under a different title and penname, Seductive Secrets. I gave it away perma-free for a time (It is now one of the books I left in KDP). This was back when BookBub was just coming up. They posted Seductive Secrets and I haven’t looked back. After a year of hell with this troll attacking me, I had seriously thought of giving up on writing. The attacks on me were horrible. I believe fully it was because the gay character in the book was presented in a positive light. I wrote Charles specifically for a special person. She said that growing up, gay characters were always portrayed in a negative way. So I wrote Charles into my next book which turned out to be Seductive Secrets. But there is a price to pay for going against the grain. You can expect consequences. I just didn’t expect the trolls to be so aggressive.

Didn’t mean to get into that…but to put it simply BOOKBUB is the best place to advertise.

But BookBub promotions are hard to get for Indies. There are some other really good places to promote. Some of the ones I use:  BookSends, Ereaders News Today, Kindle Nation Daily, Digital Book Today, Many Books, Great Books Great Deals and FreeBooksy. There are others, too. You just have to search for them.

I post books on Romantic Picks. I post my own along with other authors that I think you will enjoy. Everything I do on Romantic Picks is free for the author. It’s my way of giving back. Also, if you are just starting out, join author groups, especially Indie author groups. Indie authors are awesome at helping each other.

So, my conclusion, can an Indie make it in today’s market? Absolutely! I think the message is write a wonderful book, work hard, and believe in yourself. Good luck!

 

 

It’s UP ON PRE-ORDER—Set Fire to the Rain

 

COMING APRIL 4TH!

BARGAIN AS PRE-ORDER $0.99!

“I say set fire to the rain. Ignite the flames with what is true and just. Torch the blaze with our courage and resolve so when we are done, all men will be free!”
~ General Daniel Morgan, Set Fire to the Rain, Bk 4 Winds of Betrayal

Six long years, the war has raged. Six long years, the Corbett siblings have clung to the belief in their cause. Moreover, the war is far from over!

The Southern Army is in tatters with the devastating defeat at Camden. But all is not lost. General Washington sends his most trusted general, Nathanael Greene, to lead what is left of the army. In the darkest hour, Greene, in turn, draws upon the Old Wagoner, General Daniel Morgan.

At his northern headquarters, Washington faces his toughest decisions. Once more, he turns to his most trusted spy ring. Once more, he seeks the information needed to turn the war. This time, though, he needs more. He needs to feed the British misleading intelligence. He needs the British to believe he is eyeing New York…at least, until it is too late for them to act.

Spies and traitors! Love and Betrayal! Winds of Betrayal is coming to a dramatic conclusion! Follow Jonathan and Hannah Corbett on their final path of their fight for freedom!

A SWEEPING ROMANCE TO WARM THE LONG WINTER NIGHTS!

AMAZON    BARNES AND NOBLE    ITUNES

BARGAIN!!  $0.99!

Happy 2017! I’m starting off the year with a huge BARGAIN. Southern Legacy, the 4-Book Collection is only $.99 through January 14th! FOUR Books…the complete serial! This won’t happen again this year…who knows if it will ever happen again!!!

If you read ONE historical romance this yearthis has to be it! You won’t be able to put it down! Romance, Suspense, and Passion. It is one of those books that stays with you for a long time. Must Read!  ~  Romantic Picks 

Now the bestselling serial is under one title— SOUTHERN LEGACY!
Including Belle of Charleston, Shadows of Magnolia, Born to Be Brothers and the dramatic conclusion, The Sun Rises!

Set against the backdrop of Antebellum Charleston with the martial clash of brother against brother looming on the horizon–here is an absorbing, tantalizing saga of life during one of our country’s most turbulent times–Southern Legacy Series.

In a world of pageantry and show, the Montgomery family accepts the way of life that has been antebellum Charleston for over a hundred years. Two cousins, the handsome and debonair, Wade Montgomery and the bold and brooding Cullen Smythe, were born to be brothers. Raised as Southern gentlemen, their character could never be questioned–loyalty, honor, duty to one’s country, God and family. It was the tie that binds until…their bond is threatened, not only by the cry for secession but by a woman–Josephine Buchanan Wright.

Josephine Buchanan Wright is a dutiful, southern belle. Her future seems fated to the two Montgomery cousins…until all she has placed her faith in falls apart. As her life spirals out of control, she tries desperately to cling to the honor and duty that has been instilled in her. But how can she do so when all she has known is no more?

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

COMING APRIL 4, 2017!

THE DRAMATIC CONCLUSION TO WINDS OF BETRAYAL!

Winds of Betrayal is coming to its conclusion! The war is at its turning point, finding Jonathan Corbett anxious to rescue with his brave and courageous wife before its too late to save her and his sister, Hannah, finds herself facing her worst fears. Spies and Traitors; Love and Betrayal, Set Fire To The Rain has it all. It will be up for pre-order January 10th.

One thing I would recommend for those that have read the whole Winds of Betrayal series up to this point— Winds of Betrayal, The Darkness of Deception, and The Heavens Shall Fall—there is one more book that has a connection to Winds of Betrayal—The Bastard Son. You don’t have to read it, but there are some crossover characters that help lay the foundation for Set Fire To the Rain. 

Also, don’t miss out on Southern Legacy! Highly Recommended to Read! If you haven’t read it, pick up your copy! January will be Southern Legacy’s month!

AMAZON          BARNES AND NOBLE        ITUNES     KOBO

READER’S REVIEW

By Nancy on March 10, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

My first experience with Jerri Hines was reading her “Winds of Betrayal” series. I loved the series and, in fact, read the first three books again when I discovered the fourth installment (I’ve since subscribed to her newsletter so I won’t miss any new releases). Anyway, I enjoyed the series so much I decided to read “Southern Legacy” but only after the series was complete. I’m just too impatient to sit through cliff hangers and Ms. Hines gave plenty of warning each book left you hanging, which I was grateful for. It too was an excellent series and I highly recommend it do anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It’s one of those books that keeps you thinking about the characters long after you’ve stopped reading. That, to me, is a sign of an excellent story teller.
Also, coming in 2017, I’m revamping my fantasy series, Whispers of a Legend. I will be bringing it under my penname, Colleen Connally and revising each book along with publishing the next book in the series.
Also, I want to congratulate Michael P., the winner of the Kindle Voyage Contest!
Welcome 2017 with a great read!!! Happy New Year everyone! Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

SOUTHERN LEGACY, The 4-Book Collection! Special Offer—Limited Time Only!

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AMAZON    BARNES AND NOBLE   ITUNES  KOBO

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY—THROUGH DECEMBER—IT WILL ONLY BE $4.99! Four books for only $4.99!

Southern Legacy, the 4-Book Collection, now has its own cover! Absolutely lovely! More importantly, this cover depicts the essence of the book—a sweeping historical romance!

This book represents why I wanted to write. Southern Legacy is the accumulation of years of research, hours upon hours of writing, and the heart-wrenching toil of putting on paper a part of me. My love for my Southern roots is within every page. There is an acceptance of the past that came with this book.

Explosive! Action-filled! Unforgettable Romance! A story that won’t leave you after you finish the last page!

REVIEW~ C. Roberts

I wept at the end of the book for more than one reason. I was ready for the end of the series but I still want more. I loved this book the most because it pointed out the failure of resolution. It also pointed out that the north held their own prejudices. The most meaningful quote for me was when Jo reflected, “life is not about making an impact on the world as we know it, but on the lives of those you love. I wonder what impact I have made…” This series is definitely the best I have ever read regarding the War Between the States. It was gripping, romantic, suspenseful and historical. A story well-woven.

 

 

The Holidays Are Upon Us!

I was shopping yesterday. It struck me that Christmas is just around the corner. The shops are filled already with Christmas decorations. Most years, I might have complained. This year, though, I think I appreciate the atmosphere more. I want to feel the joy and happiness that the holidays bring, even if it is before Thanksgiving.

To be honest, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s about being thankful. This Thanksgiving, I’m so grateful for so much. My family. My health. Also, for having the precious time with my momma before she passed. The loss of my mother has hit me hard. She fought hard to recover from her stroke last November, but I will hold to the moments we shared during those last few months. She will always be in my heart.

I’m also grateful that I feel my writing again. It has come back.

For the holidays, I hope you enjoy the free books I have to offer you. Belle of Charleston is perma-free everywhere (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo). You can, also, get Shadows of Magnolia free if you sign-up for my newsletter.

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BUT now you can also get WINDS OF BETRAYAL for FREE—ALMOST EVERYWHERE! 

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AMAZON   BARNES AND NOBLE ITUNES  KOBO

Which means that Set Fire To the Rain is on the Horizon! I will have a release date in the next couple of weeks.

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Also, Enter my new contest  #HOLIDAY #KINDLEVOYAGE CONTEST for your chance to win a Kindle Voyage…Just in time for Christmas.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Be Safe!

 

November’s Winds

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I have come to regard November as the older, harder man’s October.

I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October.

It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer’s death as winter tightens its grip. ~Henry Rollins

I can’t believe that November is half-way done. This month has been a blur. I do have a few things going on that might hold your interest. I set The Governor’s Daughter for free and then I didn’t really promote it except on one site. But The Governor’s Daughter is FREE until November 17!

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I’m in the process of taking Winds of Betrayal off of KDP. It will be up soon on all the sites. I believe The Darkness of Deception and The Heavens Shall Fall is offered most everywhere now. Winds of Betrayal is going to take a little longer. I’m going through Smashwords again because its where it has all its reviews. So it will take a little longer to go through. But when it does it will be a perma-free book! I’m also having a devil of a time getting the print covers changed.

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I will have all the links set as soon as everything goes through Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

Don’t forget that Belle of Charleston is FREE ~ BUT you can get Shadows of Magnolia FREE as well by signing up for my newsletter.

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It’s Hard to Say Good-by

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Ramona and Gerald Caveness’ Wedding Day

Last November, my mother had a stroke. Over the following year, she fought hard to recover. Unfortunately, she lost her battle last Saturday. She was 81.

My mother, Ramona, lived a full life. Reasonably, I know that it was ‘her time.’ I know that I’m old enough to understand that this is life. I have faith in God and his plan he holds for each of us. I take comfort in that knowledge.

But I wasn’t ready to say good-by.

There is nothing…nothing like a mother’s love.

Momma inspired my love for books. She is the reason I write. The picture I will always hold near my heart is her sitting in her chair with a book in her hand.

I am an Indie writer. In the Indie world, writers battle to compete with the big 5 publishers. Readers don’t realize what goes on behind the covers. Nor should they. Readers deserve books that will entertain them and allow them an escape from reality for a short time. I am the one that has to deal with the extremely competitive world of publishing. To get your book in the hands of readers is like finding a needle in the haystack.

Before I began writing, I was not a business woman, but I had to become one to sell my books. I love to write and create stories and am so appreciative of the fans I have. I realize I owe them the conclusion to Winds of Betrayal. I have had emails asking when…when is Set Fire To The Rain coming. I have set dates that I have not met. For that I apologize.

The real reason it isn’t complete is because I write what I feel. The story comes to me while I type. To be honest, I haven’t felt the story since my mother became ill. It’s hard to get into a book and have your attention drawn away. It is not an excuse, but the reason. The fact of the matter is, I’m truly not a very good business woman. My emotions get the better of me.

I do have some funny stories about Momma and my writing, but that will be for another day. Today, I am returning to writing with my momma, once again, as my inspiration.

Momma, you will be missed.

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Momma’s Eightieth Birthday Celebration

 

 

AWESOME BOOK NEWS from jerri

Happy Notes
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WINDS OF BETRAYAL— New Look…Same Great Books!

[November 1-November 4— Winds of Betrayal is FREE!]
Last time exclusively on Amazon for FREE!

Spies and Traitors; Love and Betrayal!

Inspired by the notorious Culper Spy Ring of the American Revolution. Winds of Betrayal is a rousing family saga for the fight for America’s independence!

It’s a dangerous game you set to play, Miss Corbett. One that can have far worse than deadly consequences! **

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THE DARKNESS OF DECEPTION! Previously titled The Kiss of Deceit.

“The Darkness of Deception weaves together a fine tapestry of romance and history. With intense emotion and passion the characters come alive on the page and engage you from the opening chapters. Author Jerri Hines has cleverly crafted her story around the war torn south with such rich detail it makes you feel as though you are right there in the midst of the American Revolution.”
–Cynthia Vespia

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THE HEAVENS SHALL FALL
A Wonderful Series for History Buffs and Romance Lovers of the American Revolution — Jerri Hines is quite the writer
“This book was no less spectacular than thethree preceding ones. It carries us further through the events of the AmericanRevolution introducing new characters and more intrigue. As characters wereintroduced I’d check the internet to know if these military officers existed ornot. Ms. Hines builds such a convincing story that you have to remind yourselfthat it is fiction, albeit the historical characters were real and the eventsof the war were, too…”
~Eileen Dandashi- BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

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After all these years, it is coming—the dramatic conclusion—
SET FIRE TO THE RAIN!

I will have a release date…soon!!! Coming Soon!

#KINDLEPAPERWHITE CONTEST

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FALL INTO ROMANCE OCTOBER!

Start the Fall with your chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite Contest! Easy to do. Click this link !

Have you subscribed to my YouTube Channel yet. I have seven ebooks, The Bastard Son, to give away to the next seven readers to subscribe! After you subscribe, email me at jerri.hines@jerrihines.com and I’ll send you a copy!

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Lastly, I have an #Amazongiveaway going on FRAMED! For your chance for a copy of my latest release…enter!

Check out the YouTube on Framed!