Being an Indie Author with Theresa Ragan

>> Sunday, July 31, 2011

My guest today, author Theresa Ragan, writes medieval time travels, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and her first romantic thriller, ABDUCTED, was recently released under the name T.R. Ragan.

Theresa has garnered six Golden Heart nominations with Romance Writers of Americafor her work.

She lives with her husband, Joe, and the youngest of her four children in Sacramento, California.

Being an Indie Author
You can make this easy or you can make it difficult.

Yes, becoming an indie author is a LOT of work, especially if you decide to do everything yourself. But it’s all fun if you take one thing at a time and deal with it. Right now, many indie authors are scrambling around, trying to find that magic “thing” that is going to make their book sell. I have days where I feel like OMG I need to get my book on this site and that site. I need to write more blogs and do more interviews. I need to giveaway free books and I should probably fix my blurbs and change my covers.

Maybe I should do ALL of those things. And maybe those “fixes” won’t do me a bit of good. I won’t know until I do it. But I only have so many hours in a day. Stressing and spreading myself too thin is not going to help matters. In fact, it will probably hurt me more than it will help me.

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.”

Random, I know. But I love that quote. I think of it often. Because I think we can find happiness in absolutely everything we do. Even laundry (well, maybe that’s pushing it). Since becoming an indie author, I am busier than I’ve ever been in my life. But I am also happier. I have readers who have read my books. Just typing that last sentence gave me goose bumps. After 19 years of writing, I was beginning to think that might never happen. But it has and the thought that people are enjoying my stories makes me smile.

Like many of you, I have a “to do” list that is growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk. I am choosing not to stress over my growing To-Do list. I am going to take one thing at a time and do the best I can. That’s all I can do. That’s all any of us can do.

I am going to make writing my priority because that’s what I love to do and it makes me happy and I really have an obsession with being happy. Life is way too short to be anything else. If I spend more time focusing on story and characters, delving deep into their wants and desires, the book sales will follow.

I know it. I feel it. I believe it.

My advice is to enjoy the ride. Enjoy it now. Today. Slow down. Breathe. Smile. Have fun.

You can find Theresa:

Barnes & Noble


Anonymous,  1:05 AM  

I love this and pretty much how I'm feeling these days. So important to find out what works for you--do it and enjoy it. Awesome advice!

Anonymous,  4:17 AM  

Excellent, excellent advice! I can't believe the amount of stress some indie authors put themselves under feeling like they have to sell 1000 books a day NOW.

Yeah, I'd love to sell 1000 books a day, but I've only been published a month! And it was a pretty good month for a newbie. :-) Right now I'm just enjoying the ride. And writing, writing, writing!

Barbara Forte Abate 4:28 AM  

Most wonderful advice to read first thing on a Monday morning when the week ahead is wide open and waiting for what I intend to do with it. Most often it's a mixed bag of worry and concern about marketing, networking, looking for a new hole in the wall where I might push through the pages of my book... I know I'd rather be writing -- and really, I think that's what I'll do :-)

Thank you, Theresa, for a wonderful post!

Marie Force 5:19 AM  

Great advice, Theresa, and I totally agree. I've never been happier in my life than I have since I decided to take my career indie (with the exception of the Fatal Series). It has paid off for me in every possible way, but you are right, it's a ton of work--but that work makes me HAPPY, as does making REAL money on my books for the first time. Congrats on your success and finding your audience. I couldn't be happier for you!

Caroline 5:31 AM  

You're calming words have eased my Monday morning stress. I'm feeling that 'to do' list like crazy right now. I'm trying to get my two back list titles up as well as my first indie published book. Working on covers, formatting and promotion! But—now, I choose to be HAPPY, and ENJOY the ride....

Thanks, Theresa!


Theresa Ragan 6:34 AM  

Hello everyone. So glad you stopped by.

Hi Kathy! Yes, find out what works for you...find your zone and go with it!

Shea, good morning! sounds like you have the right attitude. I know you'll do well!

Barbara, I love it! I am going to write today, too. Let's do it.

Marie, I haven't talked to you since you posted on the Wet Noodle Posse site. I am very excited about your success. I see your books everywhere! Congratulations.

Caroline, thanks so much for your sweet words. Write that To Do list to get it out of your mind and then enjoy working on your covers. That is exciting stuff.

Thanks for having me today, Joan. I am going to take my advice and go write! I'll be back.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) 7:44 AM  

Hey, Theresa! I love what you said about having an obsession about being happy. That's so cool.

Congrats on all your success. You know that I'm super happy for you and your success. And I'm pretty happy myself this morning because I just had my best month yet with my self-pubbed sales. Yay!

Theresa Ragan 8:54 AM  

Trish! Hello! I am super excited that you had your best month ever. This is a great time for all writers. We just need to be patient. I knew you would do well. Hugs!

Marilyn Brant 9:19 AM  

Joan, thanks so much for letting us know about this post ;).

And, Theresa, congrats on your writing success! I love hearing stories from authors about how they recognize the work that goes into self publishing and, yet, it's brought them great happiness, too. I've experienced that as well this summer and am always glad to know what's worked well for others. Wishing you all the best!!

Elisa Beatty 9:25 AM  

Wise advice, Theresa! Thanks for being so generous in sharing your experience as an indie author!

Theresa Ragan 9:57 AM  

Hi Marilyn! I read According to Jane so long ago and all this time I meant to tell you how much I LOVED your story! I will make a point of writing a review this week! It's on my list now. And I will have FUN doing it. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you, Elisa, for taking the time to write such a nice note. I appreciate it.

Denise Z 12:07 PM  

I so agree - find the obsession and for my two cents, don't forget to be, happy. We need more joy in what we are and gratitude for our simple pleasures of what we can achieve through our efforts. Thank you for sharing with us today and reminding me about the joy :) 12:56 PM  

Theresa, Very inspirational for ALL authors! So appreciate your insight and encouragement! Thanks for guesting with me!

terri.forehand 1:12 PM  

This is encouraging, I look forward to the day when I can give up the steady job and just write. Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Isaac 3:59 PM  

I'm late to the game, again.

In the first promotional push for my first book, (and coincidentally, on the first day of my blog tour) I was forewarned to be careful about what to do and how much to do. Still, I find myself questioning a few of the decisions I made. How far do I want to travel on my own dime for a book signing, how many blogs can I reasonably book on the tour, because booking is one thing, writing the posts is another? Can I manage Twitter and Facebook and my group blog and my personal blog?
It is a constant tug of war, sure I want to sell lots of books and grow my audience, but at what cost? (and I don't mean dollars)
Theresa, your post, and your advice, could not come at a better time for me.
Joan, as always, top notch.

Melissa Foster 5:03 PM  

Great post! I'm launching the Women's Lit Cafe in September to help Indie authors build platforms at no cost. We'll be the bridge between readers and authors - free promos for both, and for bloggers, reviewers, and editors.

I'm an Indie author, too!

Check out the Women's Lit Cafe here:


Theresa Ragan 5:33 PM  

Thank you, Denise, for the super sweet message. I agree...find the joy.

Theresa Ragan 5:35 PM  

Hi Joan, thanks for having me.

Thanks for the comment, terri. That was always my be able to stay home and write full time. I knew I was going to have to go back to work full time now that my last child is going off to college...but self-publishing has made my dreams come true. I really do hope they come true for you, too.

Theresa Ragan 5:50 PM  

Hi Sherry, I got chills while reading your post. You definitely don't want to sell your soul and do too much. IMO, if you do the things that appeal to know, the things you truly like to do, then you can't go wrong. If a writer doesn't like to blog, I don't think they should blog. If they like booksignings, then definitely do booksignings. I think assigning a certain amount of time to promotion after each new book is released is a good idea. Bottom line, as everyone already knows, writing is the best promotion. Good luck and thanks so much for the great post.

Theresa Ragan 5:51 PM  

Thanks, Melissa. I'll definitely have to check out the Women's Lit Cafe!

Trish 8:25 PM  

What perfect advice at the perfect time.

I'm just starting my self-publishing journey. I'm going to print this post out and hang it in front of my internet computer as a reminder to enjoy the weeks ahead instead of stressing about them.

Theresa Ragan 9:37 PM  

Trish, wishing you much success with your new self-publishing journey! Enjoy the ride.

Sally Chamberlain 10:18 AM  

Write, write, write! We all want to read your next book!!!

Theresa Ragan 1:42 PM  

LOL. Thanks for the comment, Sally!

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