Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Indie Tuesday—Tips to Survive the Rapid Release Model for Indie Publishing

Jessica @AuthorKeller here: There are two schools of thought within the indie world when it comes to book release strategies. The first is to follow the same pattern that the traditional industry has, which is about a book a year—causing a series to span for 3-4 years on a release schedule. This strategy follows the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race model. It's the strategy I'm using, not because I picked it, but because it fit best with my career plan (and sanity) as a hybrid. The second model is a rapid release model. That can span days to a few months maximum between book releases. Many of my author friends are doing this release strategy with excellent results. Author Carol Moncado is one of those friends and she's here today to talk about why she chose the rapid release plan.

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by Carol Moncado @CarolMondcado

Am I crazy?

Those who know me well, like my lovely hostess Jessica, would roll their eyes and think it was a rhetorical question. Those who don’t know me well may hear about my indie release schedule for this holiday season and agree with them.

See, I’m releasing six books in seven weeks.

It started with my debut, Finding Mr. Write, November 10 and continued yesterday with the release of Good Enough for a Princess. Each are book one in their respective three-book series. The third release is next Monday with Finally Mr. Write. After that, the release dates are a bit up in the air, but all six books are expected to be out by Christmas.

The urge to go indie has been building for a year, but I’ve been writing longer than that and have over a dozen manuscripts. It’s a (relatively) simple thing for me to take six books in two series and polish them up for release.

Last summer, I read an article by Hugh Howey on what he called the Liliana Nirvana Technique. Liliana Hart began indie publishing with no traditional publishing career beforehand. She called her strategy “5 down and 1 in the hole.” She released five books on one day and followed up with another one a month later.

“Everyone knows” Amazon’s algorithms like you better once you’ve got four or five books out. Don’t ask me to explain Amazon’s algorithms, I doubt Sheldon Cooper could, but that’s the way it seems to work.

The idea seemed to fit with everything I’d heard “around” from other indies and really seemed to take root. I decided against Liliana’s method but did decide to release two full series in rapid succession.

And therein lay the crazy.

I’ve spent much of the last month absolutely glued to my computer trying to get everything done and I thought I would share a bit of what I’ve learned should you ever decide to do the same  thing.

  • Have at least a good draft of all of them done. For me, the first three were done or nearly so, but the second three need a bit more work. My goal had been to have those three closer to finished before releasing the first, but life intervened after I’d set my first two release dates using Amazon’s preorder feature. This will also give you more time to market, something I’ve sorely lacked.
  • Don’t do it without a great support system in place. My husband is on board with this. Yes, he gets frustrated especially when I’m working away from home, but he believes in me and that I. Can. Do. This. My sister has also been a huge support. She’s watched my kids, moved a recliner into her office/library for me to use, and let me work there as my office-away-from-home.
  • Have a good network. I suppose this isn’t strictly necessary, but I am so incredibly grateful to the friends and family who are supporting me in this indie thing. I have a large network of writing friends. Many-times-multi-published authors and total newbies. Traditionally published, indie published, and every sort of hybrid in-between. Having them cheer me on makes such a difference. Shoulders to cry on are a must.
  • Have a good resource network. Find a group of indie authors who can be your “go-to” people. Whether it’s why the .pdf just. Won’t. Format. Right. Or what do sales generally do after the first of the year [up? Down? Stable?]. Or trying to figure out where that preorder information is. (Thanks, Jess, for helping me with that one!) Cover advice. Advice on dealing with vendors when there’s trouble. Recommending vendors who are fabulous to work with. And so on. It can be a small, informal group of indie friends or a large, formal Facebook or email group, but don’t try to do it yourself.

I don’t really know what to compare it to, but it seems to be doing okay. I’m not breaking any records, but I’m also not doing too shabby either!  So, is this strategy going to pan out? Am I just nuts? Only time will tell!

What do you think? Would you consider doing a variation of the Liliana Nirvana technique? Why or why not?


When not writing about imaginary friends, Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband, four kids, and a dog who weighs less than most hardcover books. She prefers watching NCIS to almost anything, except maybe watching Castle. She believes peanut butter M&Ms are the perfect food and Dr. Pepper should come in an IV. When not watching her kids - and the dog - race around her big backyard in Southwest Missouri, she's teaching American Government at a local community college. She's President of MozArks ACFW, category coordinator for First Impressions, blogger at InspyRomance, and represented by Tamela Hancock Murray.


  1. I wish I had the drawer of manuscripts like you did, Carol!

    But even with releasing one book, the release was plain crazy. I'm writing as fast as I can and putting them out as quickly as I can, but what I learned was that I needed to set aside time for the marketing aspect. I made the mistake of scheduling a release only a couple weeks after I'd planned to have formatting done--and formatting, even though I hired it out, took a bit longer than I'd realized. So everything--final format that needed to be proofed, last minute website updates, uploading, blog tours, blog posts, marketing--it all hit at once.

    So for the next book I expect to plan two to four weeks for nothing but all that nitty-gritty that has to be done to market the book and let people know it exists.

    Sure hope you're getting some sleep, Carol!

  2. Oy! It wouldn't let me comment at work OR on my phone and evening has been nutso!

    Sally - sleep? What's that? ;)

    That's one thing I haven't done enough of, and I know that. Marketing. A bunch of lovely ladies from a marketing group I'm in posted interviews and I'm not even sure I have a full list much less stopped by each of them :(. I'm not breaking any land speed records, but I think I'm doing okay.

    And my websites are still a total work in progress...

    THANK YOU for stopping by Sally! And thanks, Jess - for everything!!!!

  3. Very interesting approach. I think that it can bring good results - in case you can keep up the quality of all those books, of course.

  4. This was great information. Thank you ladies.