Recently, I shared my top ten tips for Indie writers on www.authorculture.blogspot.com. I thought I would use this week’s blog to explain the list I created.
- Do your research to thoroughly determine if you can publish on your own or if you need to go through a company. When I was deciding what route I wanted to go to publish my first book, I was scared of the possible rejection letters I would receive if I went through a traditional publisher. I also wanted my son to illustrate my book and that is the biggest reason I went with self-publishing. I did a lot of research before settling on the company that published “Duney” for me. I knew I needed someone with business and marketing experience to help me. As I have said many times, I know how to write, but the business stuff is foreign to me. Unfortunately, that first company ended up being a bad decision. I have since connected with a small company that is a lot more personable.
- Thoroughly research any company before signing up with them. Seriously, I thought I did all my research. I thought I read every letter of the contract, and I still ended up in a bad business relationship. So, when you think you’ve researched enough, research some more!
- Create small groups of Beta readers and take into account ALL the suggestions they give you. My Beta readers are usually people I know. I prefer odd-numbered groups, and I never have more than five on a project. Beta readers are very beneficial to your work becoming even better. My Beta readers do everything from just telling me if the story flowed well to doing a full on edit for me. I take into account all the suggestions they give me when going through my work again after receiving their comments. I want my work to be well received. I respect each one of my readers and have been very happy with the groups I’ve had so far.
- Don’t rush putting the book together!!! YOU ARE ASKING FOR MAJOR MISTAKES WHEN YOU DO THIS!!!! I have been guilty of pushing publication, and the result has been a rush to correct major mistakes that were caught way too last minute. It’s okay if the new book isn’t ready for the next event. (This is something I’ve learned the hard way.) Take the time to do the proper process and it will be ready in time for future events.
- Market! Market! Market! As an Indie writer, marketing really comes down to you. You may have a small publisher, as I do, but everything falls on you. Keep this question in the forefront of your mind at all times; HOW SUCCESSFUL DO YOU WANT YOUR BOOK TO BE? The answer depends on what you are willing to do to obtain that success. I know self-publishing is costly. I, myself, run a tight, small budget for it, but there are always ways to take steps to move you and your book forward.
- Pay attention to words that can “brand” you or limit your audience. Unfortunately, in today’s society, some words in book descriptions or on back covers make potential readers turn away from buying your book. I have witnessed the negativity first hand from a word I had in my descriptions and on back covers. I, personally, don’t want to be “branded” as a specific type of author, and I don’t want to limit my audience. So, changing the descriptions and back covers was something I was okay with. It is a personal decision you have to make.
- Write what your heart and mind want you to say—never force it. I find this to be very, very true. There have been many times where I have an idea for a new story or poem only to sit down and find myself forcing it to be written. I’m never successful when I write like this. I have to let it write itself. Otherwise, the writing isn’t any good.
- Don’t be afraid of the edit. Editing serves a purpose and it only helps your work become better. Don’t marry yourself to every single word on the pages. Allow your editor, whoever they are, to do their job. They ARE there to help you!
- Always talk to other authors—especially in your genre—and see what they are doing to get their book out there. One of my favorite things to do is to go to conferences or any place authors gather. There is a lot to learn in this world of writing and being around other authors that have been doing it longer is very beneficial. A lot of what has moved me forward is based on information I obtained from other authors.
- Always surround yourself with an amazing support system! Your support system can consist of anyone that is important to you. Don’t be afraid to share even the minor victories with them. Their positive comments combined with your successes can help you move to the next step of your journey. They’re also great to have when you have to talk out some frustration!
The tips I’ve shared are my own personal top ten according to the journey I’ve had so far. I hope they help other authors as well.