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.
What things have you discovered on your journey?
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