by Noah Steele
Hi! I’m Noah Steele, indie author of gay romance, and I’m about to hit you with two words so powerful they make pre-debut indie authors quake. Are you ready for this?
Okay. Hydrate. Take a deep breath. I’m here to help! I’m a 2019 indie debut (Racing into Love came out January this year) and if I can do it, so can you! Here are two things that will help you focus on some important elements to lock down at the start of your career. Of all the things I I did before releasing my first book, these two things were my biggest help.
1. Check the charts!
One of the best places to find info on what works is the place where tips and tricks are already working: the sales charts for your genre! The info you’re looking for here is the coveted trifecta: title, cover and blurb. The bestseller charts specific to your genre/categories are the best place to look for common themes and styles—yes, even for the style of writing in your blurbs!
It’s especially helpful for covers, because you can get a great idea of standout colors and cover elements while also thinking about how to differentiate yourself from the pack using those same strategies. Kobo and Amazon are both fantastic places to start, but remember, you have to be looking in the categories you plan to enter yourself.
2. Network with other authors
Before I released Racing into Love, I was already active on social media talking about my book and meeting other indie authors in my genre. Just about everyone I met offered links to their own communities as well as support groups and forums full of accessible info and discussions geared toward making a career out of indie publishing. You can reach out to many authors via their websites, and in the meantime, here are some other great places to start:
- Resources for Writers, right here on Kobo Writing Life
- KBoards (for Kindle users, but the info is very much applicable everywhere)
- Writer Sanctum, a great forum for writers on writing and readers on books
That’s it! A lot less daunting than you thought, right? Knowing where and how to research the market you plan to enter is only half the battle, though. The challenge with indie authorship is how to take what you learn from market research and turn it into something that stands out as yours.
One last big tip I can offer is: don’t be discouraged by conflicting opinions! In the end, it’s up to you to let the things you take away from your research inform your publishing decisions. There is no one magic formula for success, but understanding how books similar to yours are performing is an essential step in making your indie publishing journey smoother.
Noah Steele is an out and proud gay author based in Toronto, Canada. His debut new adult instalove gay romance series, Cut to the Feeling, is the start of a journey to share stories featuring queer characters getting the happy endings they deserve. He believes that queerness is strength, and the gay men at the heart of his books embody that strength without experiencing queerness as a roadblock to happiness. Like Noah, they’re out, proud, and thriving in their whirlwind romantic adventures! When he’s not writing, Noah is an avid video gamer and gym-goer.