I’ve been an indie author for two years now, and if someone had asked me back in 2015 what I think is the biggest perk of self-publishing, I would have probably said, “Money!” Ha. Of course, the appeal of higher royalties is still a big factor.
Another perk of self-publishing, however, has risen to the top of my list of priorities, and this one I have learned to appreciate during the past two years. I’m talking about flexibility. Being able to pivot and adjust my strategies, to change product packaging and pricing, is key when it comes to publishing.
In the past two years I have changed not only the covers of my books but also the titles, to better position my books in the market and appeal to my target audience.
The first decision, to change my covers, came last year, after much deliberation and watching what my fellow authors did (and how well). I noticed that my covers – while professional and beautiful – didn’t particularly signal paranormal romance. In our fast-paced world of social media and online retailers, covers are often viewed in thumbnail and in passing, and they need to clearly signal the sub-genre to catch the attention of the reader looking for that kind of book.
So I pivoted. I got new covers, which featured more standard paranormal romance elements.
The decision to change my titles came about earlier this year, and it stemmed from much the same considerations. My original title of the first book was the one I came up with while I was writing it, and I never thought about changing it. I liked it, it fit the story, so I kept it, and I made sure that the titles of the subsequent books matched the branding of the first one.
After a while, though, and after reading a few comments from readers who said they almost didn’t try the first book because the title put them off, I got to thinking and realized that, indeed, especially the title of the first in the series could give readers the wrong impression about the sub-genre and content of the book.
So I pivoted. I brainstormed and came up with all-new titles for my four books (and the next one I had already planned). Those new titles feature paranormal romance keywords right in the name of the book, which increases discoverability and, in combination with the improved branding of the new covers, lets readers know at a glance what the book is about and what sub-genre it is.
I love the fact that I have this much control over my own product, and that I can change according to the market and my experiences. Evolution teaches us that the ability to adapt is key to success. And being an indie author gives us the best option to adapt in an ever-changing market.
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