TAG! Guest Blog by Simon Royle

Yes, here it is, the second part of indie writer/reviewer extraordinaire Simon Royle’s journey to publication. Simon’s fast-pased futuristic thriller, TAG, is available just about everywhere on-line, so make sure you buy one! And when you’re trying to decide what other indies to support, check out Simon’s website for reviews of other great indie books and exciting new authors: www.simon-royle.com.

Thanks again, Simon!


I started writing my novel on 23 August 2009. I had a “working manuscript” by June 2010. Then, I stared down the barrel of query or publish. I chose publish. I finally published Tag on 5 December 2010. Tag, starts on the 5th December 2109, hence hitting that pub date.

By the end of December 2010, I had reached a ranking of 876 in all books paid in the Kindle store and was listed at 23 in Technothrillers – at that time just above one of my favorite Canadian authors, William Gibson. Below me in the technothriller rankings were Dan Brown and Tom Clancy. Such is the promise (and giddy attraction) of being an Indie.

Between December and now, I watched as Tag declined in ranking, finally reaching 180,000. Today, 28th May, it’s back at 2,881 in Kindle paid. 22 in All Books, Technothrillers, 23 in Kindle Technothrillers, and 28 in Science Fiction High Tech. It won’t be there long, and that’s fine. A run up the rankings means people bought it and some of those will read it.

Important note: the only value of moving up in ranking apart from the ego boost, is that it makes your book more visible. Visibility is the number one target of a publisher – creating and sustaining Buzz; from which comes sales.

Creating Buzz is difficult and time-consuming, again important to remember is that this is a marathon not a sprint. Having made the decision to be an indie you need to be realistic about your goals. Mine, in terms of authoring, are to build a readership over years. I’ve got at least the rest of my life plus 70 years to do that before I lose my rights to the work – should be enough time to build a decent readership. Also this way I figure I’ll get better at writing and readers will get better at finding me. 

It takes me about year to write and publish a book. Six months to write it and six months to get it ready. I might get better and faster but that’s what it takes me now. So I can put out a book a year and with each release, gain new readers who, if they like what I have written, might read my other books.

The main enemy of any author is obscurity. One way to combat that is to get visible using social networking – for an indie author without the resources of a publishing house to publicize them; it is an essential part of the toolkit.

The key thing in social networking is to contribute. “Buy my book” – is not contributing. I run a blog that features interviews with Indie authors (I’ll be making an exception when Peggy’s book comes out :)), reviewers, and readers. A major side benefit of having the blog is that it has enabled me to connect with other authors and reviewers, and it is one aspect of being indie that is great. An example of this community aspect is that I have the great privilege of having very successful authors critique what I am currently writing. Wouldn’t have happened without the blog.

As Peggy has documented brilliantly on this site, the road to publication, no matter what route you take, is a hard one. Filled with wrong turns, potholes and at times despair. The road occasionally highlighted with moments of sheer joy, as when Peggy got her contract with Penguin Canada. I can’t wait to read, ‘The Beggar’s Opera’, and February 2012 has a calendar entry saying, “Buy Peggy’s book.”

Whatever road you take, remember, the reward is in the journey.

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5 Responses to TAG! Guest Blog by Simon Royle

  1. Vicki says:

    ”Whatever road you take, remember, the reward is in the journey.

    Wise words.

    Congratulations on your success with Tag, Simon. I agree with you about ranking and visibility. Success begets success.

    All the best, Peggy, for February 2012. I’ll be standing in line behind Simon to buy The Beggar’s Opera. 🙂


  2. Simon says:

    Thanks Vicki.

    Peggy, Vicki is a SUPER successful indie author (far more so than me). Her mystery suspense novel, set in Australia, ‘Thin Blood’ has sold well over 40,000 copies and collectively across her three books she must be close to 100K sold by now (or is it over, Vicki?)…


  3. Vicki says:

    Still a way off the 100K mark, Simon, but getting there. Sales have slowed but are steady. I’m happy. 🙂


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