Five Essential Tips For Independent Authors
Being an independent author is not an easy gig. You have to be your own boss, do your own research, and at the end of the day keep yourself on task. Then, once you've finished the project, you have to figure out how to get it to your reading public, and how you're going to make money off of it.
All of that can feel like climbing a mountain. However, if you're going to take a journey of a thousand miles, it's important to focus on each step you need to take so you don't get overwhelmed. Which is why you should keep the following tips firmly in mind.
Tip #1: Make Writing A Priority
There are some days where writing is easy. The words come when called, and you can bang out a thousand of them with what seems like no effort at all. There are others, though, when writing can feel like a frustrating slog. Times when you are tired, when you feel stressed, or when you'd rather do anything but sit down at that keyboard.
Those are the times when you need to do it most. Make writing a priority, and it will become a habit. Once it becomes a habit, you'll feel off if you don't add anything to your current project.
Tip #2: Have A Business Plan In Place
Writing the story is important, but it's only the first half of the journey. You need to know what you're going to do with it, once you have it completed. So ask yourself where you're going to submit this piece once it's done, and what you'll do if you get a rejection letter? Will you publish it yourself, if necessary, and what platform will you put it on? Most importantly, how will you promote the work once it's been released?
Writing is hard, but it's only one part of the job.
Tip #3: Become Part of The Writing Community
Writing is often thought of as a solitary enterprise, but to be a successful independent author you need to have a community behind you. Whether you join groups on Facebook, follow a subreddit, get onto a writing forum, attend local writers' groups, or some combination thereof, it helps to have other people around you. Other writers can help you solve story problems, they can offer their own insight on professional matters, and you'll extend your personal network.
Tip #4: Get A Group of Beta Readers
No matter how closely you pay attention to details, you need to have someone other than you read your story once it's complete. You need beta readers; people who read your work before you send it to an editor and/or publish it. Ideally your beta readers should serve a certain purpose, as well. Some might be fact-checkers, others are grammar and spelling hawks, and some will be fans of a given genre. Some won't be fans of the genre you're working in, and can act as a test to see if you can engage people who wouldn't normally read this kind of story.
Tip #5: Listen To Feedback
Whether it comes from beta readers, editors, or fans, it's important for you to listen to feedback on your work. No one is so talented that they are above criticism, and even though you worked really hard on your story, it's important to listen with an open mind to what people have to say about it. All too often someone will point out a flaw that, if fixed, could make your story ten times better... but if you close your ears, then you'll have a hard time growing as a writer.