Friday, November 18, 2016

Why an Indie Author Needs a Slush Pile

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

Do you know the number of terrible books I have written in the last six years? (No! It is not easy to find via an Amazon search of my name!)

It’s a lot. I have started books and scrapped them on several occasions. I have finished and abandoned books, too.

There is an old chestnut about indie publishing that the more books the more money. Chestnuts are chestnuts because chestnuts are delicious, if I understand the phrase anyway, and so this is a true thing. But it is not true in its simplest form.

The more GOOD books, the more money.

You, being author, publisher, marketing team and chief dishwasher, cannot afford to publish rubbish. Readers have long memories and don’t appreciate spending good money on bad writing. They will take their refunds, thank you, if the book is no good. They will also leave reviews that say the same thing. One bad book with enough bad reviews can scuttle a career, if you don’t clean up your act.

I am a big advocate of “you can never die as an indie” but that just means you have unlimited do-overs. Better to do right the first time than to have to “do over!”

Let me give you an example. Not so long ago I wrote a short story for a collection. I wanted the collection to do well on release so I wrote a short with a significant plot development for my more popular series. It worked, the collection had a good Christmas season, and all was well.

But as the collection faded I realized new readers to the series would likely be missing out on this moment in the characters’ lives. So…I made the little short story into a single title for sale, outside of the collection. The trouble is, it’s really short. And it’s not getting the greatest reviews (a lot of “this is too short!”) So I am ready to pull it and find a new way to get it to readers. I get a do-over on that one, but at this point in my career I might have known that readers see a cover and title in my series and expect a whole book for their money! I don’t have to scrap the content entirely, but I do have to handle it differently than I first thought.

You may not have to scrap the entirety of your slush pile either. You might have a great off-brand novel that deserves a pen name, or there might be scenes in a book that didn’t work out, that could be reworked into a better book. Whatever you do with your slush pile, just…make sure you have one. Don’t publish “just anything.” You are your publisher, and you deserve to be treated with the same high expectations that any publisher has of their authors

Why an #IndieAuthor needs a slush pile - @TraciTyneHilton (Click to Tweet)

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Tillgiven Romantic Mysteries. Traci has a degree in history from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, two busy kids, and their dogs, Dr. Watson and Archie Goodwin.

More of Traci’s work can be found at

No comments:

Post a Comment