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Welcome to WMG Books!! Such Joy to You!
The Big Deal With Big Names | INDIE

The Big Deal With Big Names | INDIE

But I Want The Real Deal

You may or may not have heard of Brandon Sanderson.

If you are a door-stopper epic fantasy series reader, then one of your greatest fears is that your author will die before they finish gallivanting you about their double-digit book series. Before they say “The End” and you can sigh in relief that you are free and it is finally over…and now have an excuse to read the entire child-high stack of books in the series again from page one. Sweet!

Well, one author did die.

Before his series was finished. (That, yes, I read multiple thousands of pages in – a couple times - inspired by gaming nights with friends arguing between themselves about who starts out as a tool but turns awesome, or who just stays annoying throughout the series, as they sip Dr. Pepper and eat Chinese take-out from the Safeway buffet.)

(No eggs benedict there.)

(And for more on why I give a flying-rat’s-reference to eggs benedict in a book blog, read this blog and enjoy!)

That author’s death was a fantasy reading world tragedy.

Fortunately, the author had - I’ll just say - spilled the storyline beans in copious notes prior to him turning the page in his own story. And Brandon Sanderson jumped in and (according to previously aforementioned friends with raging-bull-like strong opinions who tested the first book Mr. Sanderson wrote in the old series prepped to hurl and burn the book with vim and vigor) saved the day.

(Much to said friend’s mixed emotions of disappointment and relief.)

(That prepared bonfire had been impressive.)

(There wasn’t actually a bonfire.)


(…there was totally a bonfire.)


Mr. Sanderson, with the help of one of those big ol’ publishing companies, became mild-ishly famous. And I am sure got some good book deal offers.

You know what he is also doing now?

Indie publishing.

All by himself.

Well, I would say not by himself, because he needs some people to do customer service, and put his book boxes together, etc.

He is selling so many copies of books on his own (his own publishing company, his own websites, his own Kickstarters) that I am sure he has put a team together (yes, like superheroes because why not!). He’s put a team together that are showing what is possible in Indie publishing.

He did a Kickstarter of his own books that grossed over $41 million.

All by his lonesome.

(With his superhero team. At his publishing company, Dragonsteel.)

(Lonesome dragon that ate the dove.)

(Hmmm…I kinda went out west with that reference.)

(OK, I’m back with chaps and a sunburn.)

Yep, that was $41 million. Without a big house publishing company. He is now his own big house publishing company.

“But,” you say without swooning because you have your head about you and you’re trying to stay grounded, “he was already legit. He sold to a big publishing company. He was already the real deal before he went indie.”

“He doesn’t count.”

Well, you just hold onto your britches, then.

"INDIE authors build their own fan base, one new reader 'friend' at a time."

You’ve Got No Business Doing Big Business

Once upon a time…

Part of the myth of the Big Publisher Prince saving the day of the lowly author with the book of gold is that success is really in the work.

Even Brandon Sanderson had written a ton of books before he was “discovered.”

And tootling about Kickstarter looking at the most backed and funded fiction projects, there were a good handful at the top that advertise themselves as “New York Times Bestselling Author.”

Hmmm, impressive.

And then I click to a project of an author who sold over $1 million in books and merchandise in 29 days to over 15,000 people (fans)…

And there is not one award listed nor one title bestowed.

She just greets her readers and her only cred is, “Hey guys, as you probably know I’ve written many, many books…”

She’s also done many, many Kickstarters.

And been working at building her own book business and relationship with her readers for many, many years.

Let me say that again.

She, personally, has been building a relationship with her readers for many, many years.

(Apparently this is the repeat-for-emphasis blog.)

(I’m digging it. I’ll keep it.)

The Title Has To Grab You

Did you know it only takes 5,000 sales in a week to hit the New York Times Bestseller List?

I was blown away when I first found that out.

I thought it had to be like a million or 100,000 or some impossible number that only the uber and amazing and god-like in all ways could do.

Nope. 5,000.

And pre-orders count.

As in promote the heck out of yourself with tons of marketing for a couple months and then have all those orders process on the release day although they had been bought in the months before.

Nifty, right!

So why are many authors with this Honorary Title not telling anyone? Authors with awards and creds as long as laundry lists and grocery lists and Honey-Do lists…

(…that just keep getting longer because the Honey is super busy and sometimes when they get home they don’t want to rehang that picture of Great Aunt Betty doing the splits on the highwire at age 102 no matter how ridiculously cool it is because Junior forgot the difference between inside and outside and decided to practice T-Ball off the arm of the couch with Whiskers set-up as catcher with one of those facemasks off Junior’s Dodgers bear and forced on the cat in such a way that left no marks on the child and proved there are angels of the claw deflecting kind, but you just want to read the last chapter of the book you have been trying to finish for over a week now so you can know once and for all if in fact the butler did it!)

(Note: The butler always did it.)

(Note to the Note: UNLESS, they are not – in fact – the butler. But just posing as the butler. Or Tim Curry. And if you don’t get that reference, you are missing out on a delicious whodunnit silly mystery movie classic. Here’s a Clue…)

“Why?” you ask again after you try to backtrack back to where this started, “Why aren’t ‘indie’ authors listing out the cool stuff they’ve accomplished. Their ‘creds’ so to speak, so we know they are the real deal?”

“Why?” I repeat tantalizingly as you lean in just a little closer. “Why? Because…”

Not many people care anymore.

“What!” you exclaim, and almost swoon, but you have your head and shoulders about you and hang in there upon your bottom appendages. “How can that be?”

Well, please let me tell you.

Once upon a time…

"Indie authors create a personal community they continually cultivate. They work for the fans. They get personal. The create relationships. Make cool stuff fans want and would like. They make reading the next book an event!"

Hey Mikey, He Likes It!

Big Publishers can spend a couple thousand to a couple hundred thousand dollars to advertise a book when it comes out. A lot of that is ad spend, social media and labor spend.

And do you know how much money the Big Publishers expect to make off of every book? After forking out all that money?

Umm, none.

They are happy to just break even.

(I will give you a second to blink a couple times as that computes since your big-kid anti-swoon trousers are keeping you pretty steady.)

(Well done.)

Yep, they usually don’t expect to make money. They just want to stay in the black.

“But,” you can’t help but stutter, “but why not?”

Very, very good question.

The answer is…

People prefer to read books that have been recommended to them.

That other people have read and liked.


Not something flashy on a website’s side bar, or wedged into your Facebook feed, or fast-talked about in a bebopy commercial on the television.

No. People want to hear from other people.

When you buy something on Amazon, do you check the reviews? (Yes) Or at least the number of reviews and the star rating? (Yes, and yes.)

(And if your answer is no, then maybe you are some of the few that respond well to the Big Publishing Companies ads. And that works too! I hope you loved the book. Truly!)

When a friend recommends a book to you passionately, do you lean in a little closer? Even if it’s a genre or subject that is usually not your cup-o-apple tea?

(I’m currently sitting with an enormous mug of apple-cinnamon-something else ridiculously yummy in front of me and I want to use my hands for putting it in my face instead of typing.)

(OK, please hold for a sip.)

(I’m back. I had to reheat it. Lots of typing.)

Show Me the Money

Let’s revisit (it’s not a repeater but a refresher) the gal on Kickstarter, the Indie Author that made a million dollars with +15,000 sales in a month.

With no titles, nor awards listed. Nope.

Let’s think about how much of a profit she probably made.

I can tell you looking at her pricing for her items, the overall estimated costs, her likely overhead and Kickstarter fees she probably made…

A lot more than just breaking even.

A lot more.

And why?

INDIE authors build their own fan base, one new reader “friend” at a time.

Who tells their friend.

Who tells their butcher.

And their baker.

And their candlestick maker.

Because they are passionate about it.

And the Indie writer keeps up a personal relationship with their readers. And let’s them know when their next book will come out.

Along with some fun behind the scenes while writing.

And fun cat pictures of Snuggles riding the cleaning robot, which scares the beet juice out of Pansy (their Great Dane puppy who is all legs and really doesn’t understand the world. Let alone Snuggles. But Snuggles is a different kind of cat. And what neither of them realize is that Snuggles little kitty form was filled with the spirit of a ferocious yet aging Bengal tiger whose purpose in existence has not yet been fulfilled. And though Snuggles is not unkind, he’s freaking intense. Especially on the robo cleaner, as that contraption does not make sense in any universe.)


(Where was I?)


Indie authors create a personal community they continually cultivate. They work for the fans. They get personal. The create relationships. Make cool stuff fans want and would like. They make reading the next book an event!

And the reader feels connected to so much more than to just a book series they like.

They are part of something greater and exciting and joyous…

It’s not about the titles.

It’s not about the awards.

It’s about something more than just a book.

It’s personal.

Wait! I Just Got A Text From Godot…

“So,” you say. “If I want to find great new books and authors I just…wait for people to recommend them to me?”

“You could…” I say.

“Can I get a jump on things?” you ask. “And go in search of Indie authors and these personal and wonderous community of readers myself?”

“Why, yes!” I say.

You glare at me, cause I am being a little cheeky. But the twinkle in my eye and the warmth in my crooked smile eases you.

And then I shout enthusiastically, “I’d love to tell you how!”

(It’s a little much, I know.)

(And I understand your stagger at the suddenness of it. But you have your spotter there for in case you swoon. And though it isn’t a swoon, they bend their job description out a bit and help you in your time of steadying need.)

(You chose your spotter wisely.)

Venture back here next week and we will dive and swim and do fun spins while we splash about in the whole wide world of finding an Indie Author you like.

So many new favorite books are on the horizon!

(I see Beef-Cake and Butch are already there as it is in sunset so it is near-mandatory that they ride into it.)

(It makes them really easy to find this time of day.)

(Don’t understand the reference? Check out this blog.)

Wishing you a glorious week and thanks for coming out to play!

See you soon.

Stephanie Writt

Writer, instructor, graphic artist and all around lovely soul, with a generous sense of humor  (yes, I am totally writing this myself), takes delight in sharing her geeky knowledge and ridiculous joy in reading, writing and business. As the current Director of Operation at WMG Publishing Inc., she has the privilege and mischievous pleasure in writing this blog every week. 

Not A Righteous Bonfire Of The Dr. Pepper Fueled Raging-Bull Variety, But If You Like Historical Mystery I RECOMMEND THIS!! (She Says Enthusiastically)

UC Berkeley, January, 1969—In the midst of turbulent student protests on campus, a cherished building suddenly bursts into flames. Pammy Griffin, an alum who owns a women’s gym nearby, heads over to check out the fire and walks straight into a troubling mystery. Who wants Berkeley to burn? Hippies? Protesters? Or someone with an even darker motive?

But as Pammy investigates, she finds herself, and her gym, embroiled in a troubling turn of events. To catch the arsonist, she and members of her gym must confront some of society’s most brutal, and most hidden, violence using whatever weapons they can.

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’s Readers Choice Award 2017, Fifth Place.

Wait! I Thought You Had To Kill Someone To Write Mystery...

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