Sunday, September 28, 2014

Self-Publishing Author Collaborations — The New Business Model?

Change isn’t necessarily a bad or good thing, it just is. Expect it, deal with it, make decisions, set goals, take action and move on.

With the rapid changes in the publishing and digital world, it’s hard to anticipate the next change, other than it will happen. It’s also difficult to make a five year plan when publishing can shift and reorganize from month to month. I think my five year plan has changed four times this year and I’m reworking it yet again.

I always say to new writers, and established writers, think positive. I still believe that, but expect the rug to be yanked out from underneath you from time to time, because it will. One thing I know is I have to be flexible, anticipate change and always, always look for opportunities. When they arrive, take the risk and take action. More on what I did this year concerning that.

Author Collaborative Groups or Mastermind Groups-Mini Publishing Companies

Authors with smart business sense, who’ve decided to ride out the storm of change and make a career of writing, have created new innovative ways to run their writing business. One way is to join forces with other writers into collaborative groups. They’re Mastermind groups of authors working together on a common goal(s): Promote each other’s books, plan writing projects, box sets, series/serials, brainstorm individual projects, do online workshops or workshops at conferences, podcasts, group blogs, newsletters, reader Facebook pages, Facebook parties.

Many in these groups bring special skills: Technical. They can format and upload to online retailers. Artistic and Cover Design. Make professional book covers. Editing/copyediting/proofreading/beta reading. Social networking savviness. Organizational skills. Legal expertise. Marketing knowledge. Project development. Basically a mini publishing company. If the group is lacking in any of these areas, like editing or cover design, they can outsource.

This isn’t a NEW thing really. There are a number of author groups out there now who are successfully doing this.

The group I’m in is called Sexy Scribbles
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Opportunities and Risks. So what did I do this year that I’d consider a risk? I wrote a book different than what I’ve been writing, really pushing the envelope, knowing the topic would probably annoy a few readers and would probably get panned. Why did I write it? It was a story that had to be told, something from my gut. I didn’t hold back while writing it. I thought it might never get published, but I had to write it. Then I edited/revised it and it sat for months. I didn’t know if I should submit it to agents/editors. I thought it might be too controversial. I did send it to a couple agents as a test and promptly got rejected without much feedback.
I pitched RED TAPE to a NY editor and she did like the idea, compared the storyline to Tiffany Reisz. I submitted the three chapter proposal and waited—months. I’ve been doing the same pitch-request-submit-wait-and-hope-nice rejection for years. Although I’ve had a few ‘almosts’ and kind rejections in the past, I was anticipating the ‘R’ as the months dragged on. Then a friend and CP contacted me while I was at a conference and she frantically asked, “There’s one slot left for a 16-book box set I’m doing. We need a completed erotic book. Do you have one and are you interested?”
I could continue to wait and hope on that NY submission or go in on the box set. I pulled my submission and went in on the box set—RED TAPE became my first self-publishing endeavor. It paid off. We hit #6 on the New York Times and #13 on the USA Today bestseller lists.
While working on the next book in the RED TAPE –FLC series, I’m also working on a joint non-fiction project within the Sexy Scribbles group and planning a box set that I’ll be spearheading for 2015.

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