You’re into indie publishing. Good for you — self-publishing has great rewards, even for new authors. Who knows, you may hit it big with your first couple of books. On the other hand your books may bomb. It’s more likely that neither thing will happen. You’ll publish, and publish some more, and slowly build your readership, and business.
A couple of readers have asked about the “risks” of indie publishing. My response: “What risks? You’re putting your books out into the marketplace. They sell or they don’t. If they don’t, you write more books. You’re in charge. You don’t answer to an acquisitions editor, a literary agent, or a publisher.”
Risks? I was baffled, until I figured it out. To new authors, indie publishing is seen as risky because you do it all yourself. You’re betting on yourself. It’s lonely. You need courage and confidence.
Writers like the validation of traditional publishing. Then you can assume that your book’s in good hands. I understand. However, if you talk to authors who’ve been traditionally published, and opted to go indie, you may feel a lot better about your choice. Not more confident — that’s impossible until you publish a few titles — but better. Your confidence will grow. It’s normal to be nervous.
Here’s a truth for you: no one knows what will succeed. No one. So you might as well keep writing.
These tips will help.
1. Build a mailing list now, before you publish
You’ve heard about mailing lists. You’ve decided that you’ll start building your list after you’ve published a couple of books.
Why, oh why???
Start building your list now.
Yes, before you publish a single book.
Write a blurb for your book, convert the first chapter into a PDF, and offer it as a free download for subscribers. Post your blurb onto a Web page, and start collecting subscribers.
An additional tip; put a link to your mailing list page in the front matter of your books, rather than the back matter.
Lists are easy to set up. I’ve been using aweber for my lists for over a decade, but there are many list providers.
2. Hire an editor, and get a cover
Editors are busy. Book an editor as soon as you have an idea of when you’ll finish your first draft. Check forums for editors in your genre, or hire one on one of the outsourcing websites.
Get your cover designed asap too. If you’re doing it yourself to save money, create the cover now. Once your cover’s designed, your book will seem more real.
3. Schedule your writing time each day
To publish a book, you need to finish it, so schedule writing time daily. Inspiration is fine, but it won’t help you to complete your book. Time spent on it will.
4. Get a large calendar, and plan the rest of 2015, and early 2016
Buy a wall calendar, or draw one yourself on a large sheet of paper. Work out your publishing plans month by month. Put the calendar where you can see it. I like this idea for creating your own wall calendar with chalkboard paint.
5. Join a writer’s group, and/ or get a writing buddy
If you’re a new author, it’s lonely. You need support. Join a supportive writer’s group. With luck, you’ll find a kindred soul who will become your writing buddy.
So there you have it — use these tips. Indie publishing is lots of fun. Take it day by day, and before you know it, you’ll be a published author.
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