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7 Tips for Indie Authors

Yet another Wednesday has arrived! Last Wednesday I feel like my post was kind of lacking and was kind of all about me... Which I guess can be OK every once in a while, I mean it's good to have an update but I feel like that's what monthly wrap ups are for. I want my blog to be more about you, the reader, than about (or for) me.

Hence this post. Over the past few months I've learned a lot about being an indie author. This is the route I want to pursue, therefore I want to know everything I possibly can about what I'm getting myself into and how to best make it work out for myself. Here are a few tips or just things in general that I've learned that not only apply to indie authors but also writers pursuing traditional publishing.

  • Newsletters are so, so important! I knew about newsletters. I knew I should probably have one. But I didn't think they were that important. Not until I started listening to Kiersten Oliphant's Create If Writing podcast. Kiersten is an email genius. If you have any questions about email go to her cuz she knows everything there is to know about newsletters and email. Her podcasts sold me on the idea of having a newsletter and how important it is. Just last week on Wednesday, Instagram and Facebook were down for a whole day and it made me realize what would I do if I didn't have my social media? How would I reach out to people? Keep in touch with people and get my book out there in front of people? I was insanely glad I had my blog and my newsletter. Even though they both have small followings, I don't really mind because my numbers may be small but those who do follow me are friends and aren't just passive followers on social media who only care about pretty bookstagram pictures. Anyways, long story short: newsletters are very important and if you want to turn your writing into a career, you need one. 
  • If you treat yourself like a real author then you are a real author. This is something I've just started to figure out over the past month. I've started taking myself more seriously as a writer and author. Maybe some of it is because I've matured since the beginning of this month. I'm more confident in who I am as a person and what my goals are. I no longer feel nervous to tell someone that I'm a writer and what I'm working on right now. So if you treat yourself like a real author then you are one. Be confident in yourself and your ability as a writer. What you're doing is amazing and just as valid as someone pursuing an office job career. 
  • Get your own domain and website. This is a lot like the newsletter thing. I knew getting a domain and website was important. Especially as an indie author I needed a legitimate website that belonged to me. So, after getting a decent sized check from an odd job I did, I bit the bullet (is that an actual saying or did I just make that up??) and bought my own domain and website. It changed things. It's weird and maybe I'm the only one who felt this way, but it give me a major confidence booster. I don't know, I guess that was the thing I needed to take myself more seriously as a writer and author. Also, its boosted my visibility and my newsletter subscriber count, so I definitely recommend a website. 
  • Invest in yourself and your book. This goes hand in hand with my website. That was also the first time every that I had invested in myself as a writer. I had never before spent money on my author career and that also gave me a major confidence boost. The fact that I was so sure of myself, so positive that this is what I want to do that I was willing to spend money and make the commitment to pay yearly for a domain and website. I highly recommend you take the dive and buy yourself a website or take that writer/author course that you've wanted to forever or to pay that editor to sharpen up your book. It will change you and make you a better writer.  
  • Networking and community building. This sounds super technical and market-y. I used to think that mentioning that I want to build a community and network made me sound insincere and like I'm only out to make friends so I can sell them stuff. Over the past few months, I realized there's no shame in admitting that you're looking for community and you're networking. It's OK, good even, to be intentional with what you're doing on social media. What you're saying, who you're talking to, what you're posting. I love my writergram and bookstagram friends on Instagram. They're such an encouragement and I love the community of friends I'm building on there. 
  • Research, research, research. There's a lot of research that goes into being self-published. You have to do everything yourself. Find an editor, find a cover designer, figure out what adds and marketing strategies work best. Figure out who's your audience. That takes a lot of research. So don't be afraid to jump down the rabbit hole that is Google and learn everything you possibly can about being self-published, finding editors and cover designers and the best way to get your book out there. 
  • Write for a market. This was something that I heard not just during the Author Branding Challenge but also on the Create If Writing podcast. Kiersten was talking about how it's not selling out to write to market. It's not wrong to write with an audience in mind, especially for an author planning to self-publish. I've done tons of research on this over the past few months and I've realized that the best way to make decent money as a self-published author is to be intentional with what you're writing. Find your niche and write in it. Heck, even if its not your niche, give it a try. Kiersten Oliphant who does the Create If Writing podcast said she never thought she would be writing sweet romances a few years ago and yet here she is having published ten books in the past year and making a substantial amount of money off her sweet romance series. So, I'd suggest doing lots of research on what genres are selling the best on Amazon and then seeing which of those work best for you. Sweet romance or contemporary romance isn't my thing. But contemporary fantasy or paranormal romance? I can so do that and it sells on Amazon. So find your niche and write in it. 

Those are a few things that I've learned over the first half of this year about self-pblishing and being an indie author. What it really all boils down to is being intentional. That's the key word of this post. Be intentional in everything you do as an indie author. Write intentionally, market intentionally. Keep your goals, your ideal reader, and your why you're doing this in mind the whole time and things will work out. 

If you're planning to pursue self-publishing just know that this isn't an overnight success kind of thing. This takes time, patience and lots of hard work. But in the end, it is so worth it. 

I hope these tips were helpful to all my fellow indie authors just setting out on this long and exciting journey! 

Do you have any tips for future/present self-published authors? 

Comments

  1. These are great tips! I still need to get on newsletters and I’ve got my site but I’m working on building it gradually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I just started a newsletter this year and so far, it's been super helpful. If you need some tips on newsletter building you should check out the Create If Writing podcast. :)

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