Tag Archives: indie author

Indie Ain’t for the Faint of Heart

A few days ago there was a tweet going around about how much artists made per book; the advance, agent’s fee, etc and showing what it all amounts to per month. You may have seen it. Basically, they get paid around $422/month and it really sucks. The thing that stuck with me, though, was that these are professionals. They have agents and publishers and contracts, and the tweeter was talking about why artists have to be “on” all the time. If they don’t show up, put out work, and keep their names on people’s lips they will quite literally die. So what about indie creatives?

Consider this:

A book takes anywhere from months to a year to write. Hours and hours of your life, and if you have a day job (like so many of us do), you have to balance that with a work schedule, attempt to sleep, and hope that you can have a life for an hour or two a day. For all that, you get to hear people tell you that $2.99 is too much to charge for an ebook.

An album takes months to a year to produce. Songs, music, studio time, production, all of that takes time and a lot of indie artists have day jobs as well. It also takes money, and gigs don’t net you much, if anything (my friend – as seen above – says you sometimes lose money if they make you pay for your booze). For that, people tell you that $10 is too expensive and that they can just stream it for free.

Game devs put in ridiculous hours, pour massive amounts of money into their games, attempt to get buzz, somehow have families and lives, only to be labeled as losers and have their games pirated only days after release. If they make money on a game it’s a miracle. Women in game development get death threats in addition to all this. It’s a disaster.

And oh dear, my indie artist friends. They put so much time into their art, suffering burnout at an alarming rate and learning new ways to stretch beans and rice. Some of them have gone to school and can draw the most beautiful, evocative comics and illustrations only to be told that $30 is way too much for a full body color commission that will take them hours.

The problem is that society sees creative careers as less than. Books, music, comics, and games are all seen as frivolous or a waste of time, so those of us who create the things that people enjoy aren’t doing a “real job.” Unless we hit the magic number and produce a commercial hit, then we are suddenly Authors or Rockstars. Until then, we are just little girls and boys playing with our words, paints, and songs and we should be grateful for whatever we’re given. Which is almost never enough to even live on, but if we have a day job we obviously aren’t serious about our work. If we aren’t starving artists, are we really making art?

When I first wrote The Detective’s Brother, I had this idea that I’d write one book a year and that’d be great. Then I learned the reason that Harlequin puts out ten-plus books a month is because genre writers have to write and publish often, or we get buried. There’s the Catch-22 of the idea that anyone who produces multiple books a year can’t possibly be putting out a quality product as well, but if we put out one book a year no one will ever know who we are. At Any Cost will be my fifth book released on my own through Frozen Flame Press, and I have put hours and days and months into it. Thanks to my job I can continue writing and promoting my books but sometimes I do wish I could sleep a little more.

I’m fairly sure that if you’re reading this you support indie books, music, comics, and games, so I’ll leave you with the one easy thing you can do to help artists that doesn’t cost a thing: write us a review. Talk us up to your friends. Retweet, share, and ask your library to carry a book or album. Even if you just drop an indie creator a note that says “hey, you’re the bee’s knees” it can make us feel like a superstar.

One final thing – the picture is of a show I attended recently by my favorite band. They’re called Calhoun and are a local Fort Worth band that I’ve been listening to for lucky 13 years, and I am appalled that they’re not actual superstars yet. Go forth and buy some of their music. Start off with an EP and get obsessed from there. Here’s the iTunes link but they’re also available everywhere else you want to look. Paperweights

Oh, and you should definitely preorder At Any Cost while you’re at it. How can you beat $0.99? You can’t!

Available everywhere!

“I’m a saint so I’m used to never getting paid.”

– Calhoun

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50 Best Indie Books of 2018

This year has been fantastic for me. In September, I broke through my pre-order goal for The Search for Sam and sold more books than I’d ever hoped, putting me in the Top 100 in 20th Century Historical Romance. I was so excited that I thought nothing better could ever happen. Then in October, I had my first book signing. It’s almost the end of November and A Christmas Reunion debuted at #1 in New Releases, hung out there for almost a week, and made it to #4 in Tudor Historical Romance.

Hopefully December will be as amazing, because The Search for Sam has been shortlisted for the ReadFreely 50 Best Indie Books of 2018 in the romance category! However, I’ll need your help to make that happen. The awards are based on votes from readers, and I would love it if you helped me out by voting! The link below takes you to a pre-filled form with the information from The Search for Sam, so voting only takes a few seconds. Sometimes you have to click twice on it but it will work! Polls close on Monday so make the most of this weekend and head on over.

It is a bit unlikely that I’ll make the top 50, what with being a new author and not even a year into my self publishing career, but if I did it would be amazing. Help make my Christmas amazing. Vote for me below!

http://www.readfree.ly/50-best-indie-books-2018-prefilled/?indie50title=THE+SEARCH+FOR+SAM+by+REBECCA+LOVELL&indie50genre=Romance

As always, thank you for all your support! Even if I don’t make the list, my readers and fans have made 2018 a year to remember.

Leaves Book Signing

img_4680I had an amazing time at the book signing on Saturday! Leaves is a cute little tea shop in the Near Southside area of Fort Worth, which is becoming more and more artsy and fun. I was excited to sign books but also excited to meet other local authors.

My table mates were Michelle Marlow, Wanda Means, and Mike Baldwin, an eclectic group if ever there was one; multi-genre, memoir, children’s book, and historical romance. Yup, I’m the nerd.

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I was relieved that people showed up and bought my books. As a newer author (with anxiety) I’m always terrified of being rejected but everyone seemed really nice! I sold all the copies of Sam that they had on the shelf and they had to restock. Which, awesome.

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Leaves also has some of the best tea ever. They gave all the authors one free tea of our choice and after smelling Wanda’s butterscotch tea there was no question about which one we’d all pick. As a sweet tea enthusiast, I rarely drink unsweetened tea but this one didn’t even need sweetener! It was very butterscotch’s and nice, and I would love to have more. It would probably be fantastic as a latte!

I didn’t have room to set up all my stuff but the most important stuff was on display, which was really all that mattered. I was expecting to just display The Search for Sam but this worked fine. I felt a little over-prepared armed with my promo cards, business cards and business card holder, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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At the end of our time, there was a book reading by the other authors and while I am far too nervous to do a reading, I enjoyed hearing the others. In fact, I bought Wanda’s memoir and subscribed to her podcast because I was so blown away by her reading. Look for a review soon because…wow.

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All in all, I had a great time. I’m looking forward to going again next year if they’ll have me, and maybe the Fort Worth BookFest too!

Why Self-Publishing?

This is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately, and with my new book out I thought it was a good time to write a (really long) post about it.

I wrote The Detective’s Brother some years ago and was very proud of it. I polished it, edited it, and sent off dozens of queries to agents and editors. None of them picked it up, though a few did show interest. Disappointed but not ready to give up, I shopped it around to some small presses, especially ones that were focused on romance novels.

img_0113It wasn’t long until I found a very small publisher called Sinnful Books that was just starting out. The publisher loved the book and wanted to sign me at once. I was excited and the terms were good, so I signed and sent it off. He set me up with a beautiful cover and the book was headed to the editor with a tentative release date. Then, out of nowhere, he emailed all his authors and said that the company was shutting down. All rights would revert to us, we were no longer bound by the terms of the contract, and were even free to keep our cover art if we wanted to cut out the imprint.

At that point I considered self-publishing, but thought I’d give the whole small press thing another try. I submitted my book to Booktrope because I felt like it would give me more creative control – small press marketing with indie control, what could be better? They also wanted it with some slight edits, so once I got it into the system and picked out my team my book went into edits.

img_5455My editor whipped it into shape, teaching me some very important lessons along the way, and I credit her with The Detective’s Brother turning out so well. Once it was a book we were both proud of, we set it up to be published! Then, about two weeks after it was released, Booktrope said it was shutting down at the end of the month. Unlike Sinnful, though, we were left with the options of either paying back our cover artists and editors or selling them and divvying up the royalties as per the contract. My cover artist decided to just give us the art, but my editor preferred a payout. Of more than a thousand dollars, which would be her fee for my manuscript If I’d gone directly through her.

Since it’s rare for me to even get one paycheck of that sort of money, The Detective’s Brother has gone back on the shelf until I can pay her or the contract runs out in five years. I really do want to pay her and was willing to do it in installments, but then my husband became disabled and I became the breadwinner of our family. As for The Detective’s Brother, I can sell the last few copies I have but that’s it.

treasured Love coverI was pretty depressed about the whole thing. What was the point, I thought, to signing with these small publishers only to have them go under? Thankfully, Tammy Andresen had contacted me before Booktrope shut down, asking if I wanted to be part of a pirate-themed historical box set. As depressed as I was, I had already agreed to it so I wrote the novella for Treasured Love and had a great time. I was also included in Every Rogue’s Heart, another box set with them.

The box sets, as many are, was self-published and consisted of mainly self-published authors, most of whom are very successful. After firing a zillion and one questions at Dawn Brower, I decided to take the plunge and self-publish Drowned History.

I don’t yet know how things will turn out, but I’m pleased with how the book is doing and love the way it looks. It would be nice to have a publisher deal with the marketing and such, but I don’t have to have one to validate me. If there’s one thing I do know, though, it’s that I love writing and I’ll never sell myself short again.

Becca’s Hooks n’ Books

Have you ever wondered to yourself “Gosh, I wish I knew where I could get a quality baby blanket for a last-minute shower gift or a signed book written by an awesome indie author”? Never fear! It just so happens I now have a Storenvy shop where you can find both of those things!

Right at the moment, it only has two items in it but I’m planning to put more in. I have a number of gorgeous, basic baby blankets in a variety of colors hanging around my closet, and some out of print paperbacks that need a good home. Eventually you’ll be able to buy signed paperbacks of my new work there as well! I’m excited to have a way for people to get their hands on signed books, and maybe get some blankets into cribs. Take a look and check back often!

Becca’s Hooks n’ Books

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