The biggest problem independent authors have is marketing their wares. You could write the best book ever, potentially an award-winning classic, but if nobody knows about it, you might sell ten copies and that’s that. Sure, the very best form of advertising is word of mouth but even that will only get you so far.
This is where the big publishers have the advantage. They can afford billboards in train stations, ads in newspapers, reviews on review sites and the like. I sure can’t. Neither can most of my peers. Some people make a reasonable living from their books but not many. For most of us, writing is not much more than a hobby.
However, we’re not in competition with each other so what we can do is join together to increase our collective marketing efforts. So, we join forces to create book bundles or something like the Pets in Space anthology to reach out to readers who would be interested in our science fiction romance books. I think we all recognise that it’s a niche market.
Although we have an executive editor who does all the work of setting up the anthology and making it available on the respective ebook stores – Amazon, Google Play, Apple, Kobo, and Nook – we all must take responsibility to make sure our group of readers knows it’s out there. We work together to widen our reach and we all benefit from it.
What’s really interesting about Pets in Space is how it show cases the individual authors and their very different writing styles. We all were given the same brief – create a novella which is a science fiction romance that features a pet. The pet can be anything – alien, home-grown familiar, a creation like a robot. But it must play an important role in the story and the evolving romance. The story must have an upbeat, happy ending. No erotica, no dubious consent.
The result? Eleven totally different stories. Some (like mine) are space operas. One is set on Mars. One is set in a mining operation on an asteroid. Some involve aliens. Some don’t. There are cats, dogs, birds, mice. There are created creatures, robots, totally alien beasties. Some stories are sexy, others are not. It’s a smorgasbord of stories. I don’t expect many people will love all of them but I cannot imagine that a reader would not find any they enjoyed. It’s a huge volume – nearly four hundred thousand words for US$4.99. That’s a *lot* of reading. Apart from giving readers a great read, the intention is to introduce readers to new-to-them authors in the hope they might buy some of that writer’s other books.
Here’s the full collection of pets with a short description of how they fit into their story. (Click on the image to get a full size version.)
One of the authors, Veronica Scott, asked each of us to explain how our Pets in Space story originated and published the results in Amazing Stories. If you’re at all interested in how the creative process works, it’s worth reading. Here’s the link.