Monday, August 4, 2014

Ten 'Must Knows' for Indie Writers



In Jamaica, we celebrate August 1 and August 6 as Emancipation and Independence Day respectively. Considering the changes in the publishing world, I thought this would be a fitting time for me to talk about being an indie writer

It is not always easy to find our niche, or readers who will become rabid fans, but since making the transition from writing for small publishers to going indie, I've put together a list of the ten important things I've learned on my journey.
  • Hone language skills. Anybody can write a book, but attempting to do this without a good grasp of the English Language is setting ourselves up for failure.
  • Learn the craft of writing. This is the biggest favour we can do ourselves. A period of apprenticeship is necessary no matter how we slice it.
  • Don't get in a hurry to publish. Just as traditional publishers take time to prepare a book for publication, so should we. Virtual bookshelves mean our books will be available for a lot longer than a 3-month sales window. I've set unrealistic deadlines that resulted in mistakes I could have avoided. 
  •  Treat writing as a business. While some of us may never make a living exclusively from writing, it is necessary to set goals and make plans. As the adage says, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
  • Never stop learning. It is important to stay current on publishing trends, as well as book marketing and promotion. Frustration with going back and forth forced me to learn how to format eBooks. Continue reading craft articles and books on writing.
  •  A manuscript is never complete. We'll never cross every t’ and dot every ‘i’, but we should submit the best possible manuscript every time. Smart writers know how to let go and move on to the next book.
  •  Develop meaningful relationships. Most of my online friendships have come through writing networks, hops, challenges and visiting other people’s blogs. These friendships extend to email exchanges off the blog and even Skype calls.
  • Never be afraid to ask for help. Writers are open and giving. I've never put out a cry for help and not received it.
  • Practice the principle of Paying it Forward. The blogging world has taught me the value of helping other writers. Unexpected benefits come through the kindness of other bloggers.
Relax and enjoy the ride. While it's important to be disciplined, remember there is life outside of what we do to earn a living.  Creativity is a funny thing. Writing loses its attractiveness for me when it starts to feel like work—even though I’m handling my writing as a business. The point is to find your rhythm and make it work for you.

What things have you discovered on your journey?

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21 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Meaningful relationships and paying it forward - very important. Great tips, Joy.

Bish Denham said...

Excellent advice, Joy. I certainly couldn't have gotten Anansi published without the help of a lot of people in the blogging community.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Too many people rush into publishing. Taking time to do it right is important.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Excellent tips, Joy, I remember when I was a young writer in such a great hurry to be published. It took me a little longer than most, but I'm so glad I used all your tips first. Thanks for a great post.

Murees Dupé said...

What a great post. Paying it forward is very important and asking for help. The blogging community is so kind and helpful.

Pat Hatt said...

Have to take ones time indeed and always something to learn too

Patricia Lynne said...

Excellent advice. Point 3 is one I've blundered on.

Michelle Wallace said...

Great tips Joy!

By nature, I have all the patience in the world! But I have to confess that, as a 'late bloomer' to writing, I feel that so much time has passed me by, so for this reason ALONE, I want to move along... and be published. So I find myself in a predicament...

What's kept me going? Meaningful relationships. I'd never have made it thus far without the support/friendships of this wonderful community... so I'm sure I'll be published... hopefully sooner than later...

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great advice. I so agree that writing can start to be no fun when it feels like hard work. I try to treat it like a business and not take rejections and other set backs personally.

Linda Kay said...

Since I'm about to publish my first novel, after lots of input from friends and readers, this is very good advise. I just need to press the "go" button and get this out there. Thanks so much.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on these tips, guys. I know we all go through these things in one form or another. We grow at our pace, so it is important to work at the speed where we're comfortable.

Christine Rains said...

Marvelous post! The biggest thing I've learned is don't be afraid to ask for help. The writing community is wonderfully generous in advice and encouragement.

Mina Burrows said...

This is a great post and helpful reminders. Thanks for sharing Joy! :)

Dean K Miller said...

Great reminders I need to revisit on occasion. Especially the "don't rush" point. Thanks.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Very helpful tips for writers no matter what avenue they pick to publish.

Jeff Chapman said...

Thanks, Joy. Sound advice.

J.L. Campbell said...

Glad you found this post relevant, guys. I remind myself these things when I get in a funk.

Lynda R Young said...

A great list, Joy! I especially like the last one :)

Doreen McGettigan said...

A valuable list!
doreenmcgettigan.com

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks, guys.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Excellent list!!!