Posted On February 12, 2016 by Print This Post

Part Two: Reflections on my First Year as an Indie Author by Heatherly Bell

Author Heatherly Bell presents the second part of her post on her experience as a self-published author. Read Part One of Heatherly’s post here

Thanks to Jen for having me here again for part two of my first year as an Indie author. In part one, I discussed how important it is to commit to the process, have a written set of goals, and accept that an Indie author is a small business owner. Today I’m blogging about some bumps I found along the way. I’m certainly no expert so please take this all with the proverbial grain of salt.

Let it go!

Before I self-published, I had two books released with a publisher, so I am familiar with galleys. Even though my books were Heatherly Bellebooks and POD, I received a pdf and was told in no uncertain terms that the only changes made would be mistakes and typos. So the sentence that could have been better constructed? Too late. This can be a living hell for a perfectionist. You might “proofread” a sentence and cringe. You might be tempted to beg your publisher to allow you to change it. Both the beauty and danger of self-publishing is that you can actually make the change.

But should you?

We all know that changes cause a domino effect. If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up rewriting an entire scene (guilty) AFTER your hired editor has already done their job! Now what? Do you hire her again? Hire a proofreader? Typos happen!

Publishers know better than we do that at some point we must stop the creative changes. So if you’re Indie publishing, keep this in mind and keep to a tight schedule that you establish ahead of time. Like anything else in life, be disciplined about it. If it’s too hard to read your own work, make sure you hire a proofreader for that last read-through. All this freedom is intoxicating, so tread carefully!

Price point

One of the first decisions you have to make as a self-published author is price point. What price should you ask for your novel? This was a tough one for me.   A few years ago, I’m sure you will all recall, a little novel called The Mill River Recluse by a debut author, was priced at $0.99 cents and became a sensation.

Things are bit different now.

Those were the days before subscription services and “perma-free” first in a series books. Today, a $0.99 cent book by a debut author might be considered too much to pay by some readers. So deciding the price of your book becomes a difficult proposition. My suggestion is still not to under value your work. Do your research. Check out similar books, with regard to length and genre and price accordingly. The best part of self-publishing is that you can always go in and adjust the price later. Play around with different price points. Have sales!

The only certainty is change

I’m an infant when it comes to self-publishing, yet I’ve already seen major changes in the market place since I first published. Kindle Unlimited went from paying an author a flat amount each time their book was borrowed in the Kindle library to paying them per page read. The rate per page has changed a few times, and sometime last week an author friend noticed that Amazon had recalculated her Kindle Normalized Page Count to a lower figure. I looked, and the same thing happened to my books. Why? We don’t know and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.

The most successful authors will adapt, like any business. For that you need knowledge and information and you’ll find a great deal available. The KDP message boards are one valuable source of information and a good example of authors helping other authors. Another is your local RWA chapter, because many members are self-publishing. In my local chapter there are at least six of us if not more that are Indies.

It’s important to work with other like-minded authors. Exchange ideas. Get together for cross-promotion.

We’re all in this together.

If I you have any questions about self-publishing on anything I haven’t covered, please ask and I’ll do my best to answer.


Unforgettable YouUNFORGETTABLE YOU – February 2016

After being dumped by her fiancée, Diana wants a life do-over. What she needs is a change of scenery and she just might find that in Starlight Hill. But when Diana is the victim of a fire and rescued by her teenage crush, she’ll be forced to remind her heart frequently that she’s sworn off men. Tough and wild Scott has changed from his days as a love ‘em and leave ‘em type, making it difficult for Diana to remember why she gave up on love in the first place …

Scott is an adrenaline-junkie firefighter with a wild past until a painful mistake changes his life forever. When Diana’s rescue is filmed and goes viral, his first instincts are to protect and fix. There’s something about being around Diana that makes him feel human again, and like he can be the man she believes he is. The kind of man she deserves. But first he’ll have to forgive himself …

Can these two trust each other enough to leave the past behind and find happily ever after in the small town of Starlight Hill?


Bio: When early onset stage fright dashed dreams of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Heatherly Bell tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave. She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).

If she were not an author, Heatherly maintains she would be a detective and a criminal’s worst nightmare. She watches Dateline every Friday night and takes notes.

Heatherly lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say ‘hello’ and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows. To learn more about Heatherly, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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5 Responses to “Part Two: Reflections on my First Year as an Indie Author by Heatherly Bell”

  1. Thanks for having me here today!

    Posted by Heatherly Bell | February 12, 2016, 2:03 pm
  2. Hi Heatherly,

    The internet is a great resource for writers, but in some ways, it’s a minefield of erroneous and misleading information. Can you share a couple of sites that have helped you the most?

    Great cover for Unforgettable You!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | February 12, 2016, 2:34 pm
  3. Thanks. Cover again by the wonderful Kim Killion.

    I recommend the KDP boards for accurate up to date information on marketing, promo, real time advice on what has worked and what has not. Christian Indie Authors (CIA) is a Facebook group with a ton of accurate information. It’s kind of an off-shoot of the KDP boards, I believe.

    I have heard that Marie Force has a Yahoo group in self publishing though I have yet to join. I’d listen to anything that lady has to say, lol!

    The Passive Voice in another great site for accurate information and the latest in the industry.

    Posted by Heatherly Bell | February 12, 2016, 8:15 pm
  4. love the point about knowing when to say when. Pulling the trigger on a release is always a scary proposition no matter how well prepared you’ve been. And as a fellow perfectionist, the urge is always there to “change one little thing.”

    thanks for reminding us not to do it.

    Posted by Helen Henderson | February 16, 2016, 7:58 pm
  5. I hear you on the intoxicating freedom thing Heatherly, discipline is crucial in this line of work.

    Speaking of which, I best return to my (self-imposed!) deadline 😉

    Love the post, best wishes to you and all at RU!


    Posted by Nikki Weston | February 23, 2016, 3:48 am

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