Tips for the Indie Author

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My journey as an indie author has begun! There is so much information out there that my head is spinning. I’ve read many articles on do it yourself publishing and one thing is clear: there is no clear cut way to do this.

One thing I found useful was the website Author E.M.S. They have tons of resources for indie authors, including a database of ebook cover designers and editors/proofreaders.

There are many groups on Goodreads dedicated to indie authors. Most of the people there are nice and very helpful.

Out of the many things I’ve read this week several stick out:

  1. People do judge a book by its cover. If you can’t afford a fancy designer there are many designers out there that cater to the indie crowd and have affordable rates. If you can do it yourself fine, but if not, invest the money (you can get a quality cover for around $40). If people don’t like your cover it’s not going to matter if what’s on the inside is the next Beloved. For information about ebook cover designers in your price range check out some indie author forums on Goodreads or Google “ebook cover designers for indie authors.” Or check out the database over at Author E.M.S.
  2. Hire a proofreader. For me, I do heavy self editing in the draft stages but there are typos that I miss (like using “alter” instead of “altar”), so for me, a proofreader is a must. I hired Christie Stratos from Proof Positive.
  3. It doesn’t matter if you have Facebook phobia (like me). You have to engage in some type of social media activity. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone, do it. How can people buy a book that they don’t even know exists? One article I read suggests mastering two (like Google Plus and Twitter) as opposed to trying to master them all at once. Whatever you decide to do, get online and start making genuine connections with people.
  4. Only one out of every 10 posts (blog posts, tweets, etc) should be about you. This stopped me in my tracks. You mean people don’t want to hear about me every second of the day? I’m shocked. And I quickly got over it. Besides, you don’t want to become the insurance salesman of the literary world (when people see your tweets they take out running).
  5. Reviews, reviews, reviews. You have to have them. You can contact bloggers who review books in your genre or other indie authors and offer to read their book if they read yours and post the reviews on either Amazon or your blog (or both). With that being said, all of the reviews may not be positive so you’ll have to keep that in mind. Although, I’ve read many a bad review and went on Amazon to read the first few pages and made my own decision. Whether people are saying good things or bad things, at least they’ll be talking about your novel.
  6. Blog Tours. More on this later. I’ve found several companies that arrange these for authors and I am leaning towards using one.

That’s it for now! More on this next week:)


Going Indie

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The other day I discovered a novel competition for “Fresh, fun, and strikingly unconventional love stories.” My last project, Being Jazzy, immediately came to mind. The main character, Jasmine, lives in Silicon Valley with her very eccentric (i.e. crazy) mother and sister. They are sassy, southern women who are just as quirky as they are lovable.

I hadn’t read the novel in about two years, and thinking about entering the competition, I starting rereading it. And laughing, and then laughing some more, and then it hit me: Why on earth don’t I just put this novel out myself? What’s the worst that can happen? Sure I’m worried about the novel not selling, or getting terrible reviews, or angry church ladies writing me asking why I wrote such filth, but what’s the alternative? Just let the novel sit there and gather dust? Or even better: what if I do put it out there and it totally finds an audience who loves it (and wants a sequel!)?

Screw the fear, screw the nerves, I am totally doing this. I reached out to some beta readers to help me proofread, started looking at cover designers, and told myself to just kick that doubt in the face.

Although I’m extremely nervous about this, as the framed poster proclaimed (seemingly, right to me), as I left work on Friday:

No one can determine the heights to which you can soar. And even you won’t know until you spread your wings.

Can I get an Amen?

#IWSG: Despite it All

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to talk myself back into writing a novel. The doubt seeps in and I ask myself, “What makes you think you can write this story? Who do you think you are?”

But I ignore that voice and continue to write, despite it.

I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in a cold sweat, afraid that no matter how hard I try to tell good stories, I may never be successful as a writer.

But I still get up the next morning. And write.

The doubt is heavy at times, especially in the face of rejection, but I think (and don’t quote me on this) that someone very wise once said something about the path of least resistance; it ain’t gonna get you where you want to be in life.

Writing a novel is hard. Pursuing a writing career is even harder. And believing in yourself, even in the face of rejection? Exponentially (insert expletive) hard.

But despite the fear, doubt, insecurities, and seemingly impossible odds, I write.

You can find a list of other IWSG members here.