If you’ve dropped into the middle of The Productive Indie Fiction Writer, and are working you way through archives, I’m sure your first impression is that the only thing that matters in getting ahead as an indie is more books, more books, more books.
Unfortunately, that’s only half the story.
What you write has as much impact upon your income and career as how much of it you write and publish.
In our fierce focus upon getting more words down, every day, it’s possible to overlook this. Especially, when you first start out as a novelist, you may not be sure what it is you think you want to write.
That was me, when I first started out. As you’ll see from my bio posts, I shot myself in the foot, badly, and for years, because I couldn’t settle down into a single (sub)genre and stick with it.
Write What You Read
The problem with this hoary old piece of advice is that writers are usually omnivorous readers, gobbling down a dozen different genres, hundreds of authors, and love and appreciate most of them. It’s why we become writers.
Those writers who come to writing because of a single sub-genre of book that they adore and read exclusively are very, very lucky. Their choice of what to write is made, and they already know the genre inside out.
I, unfortunately, flitted from genre to the next shiny genre, over and over, trying this and that and having a blast…while killing my readership dead with each successively and wildly different release.
I’ve written enough books now, that of the six major sub-genres I write in, I have enough books in each to provide readers with a “next” book to read when they’re done with the last one. Part of the reasoning behind my big switch to a book-every-three-weeks, that I announced on Tuesday, is that by putting out so many books a year, I will be able to provide eight or more books in the most popular sub-genre per year, and at least two books in each of the other genres.
It’s not just the genre you need to stick with
It’s also the series you’re writing.
You are writing a series, aren’t you? Series are rocket-fuel for indie authors. While advice on all other aspects of indie publishing can often conflict, everyone agrees that writing a series is the only way to go.
These days, there is a publishing strategy that is popular, called Rapid Releasing, where you clump together the releases of each book in the series closely together–anywhere from a month apart, to days apart, to simultaneous releasing.
This is a fantastic way of releasing your very first titles, as it immediately gives readers something else to buy once they’ve read your first book.
If you’ve managed to resist temptation and have only published in a single sub-genre, then you can also safely rapid-release a whole series in the same genre and not abandon readers of your other genres (as you don’t have them).
For this reason, if you’ve built a readership in more than one genre or sub-genre, then rapid-releasing in one genre will leave the readers of your other genre(s) hanging. Readers forced to wait too long for another book tend to forget you’re there.
Rotate through your series.
If you’re like me, and you’ve established yourself in two or more genres or (in the case of the very big genres like romance) major sub-genres, then you must provide new releases in all those genres as often as you can. Your only strategy in this case is to rotate through all the series you’re currently writing, adding a new book each pass.
When you can, wean your series down to one in each genre, so you can provide a new book in that genre more frequently through the year.
Can you see why being able to write quickly and publish frequently is a useful strategy? Coupled up with releasing the right books, you will be able to power up your sales and solidify your readership.