This week, as part of the Indie Writers Unite Never Ending Blog Tour, I’m playing host to the fabulous, Jack Wallen. You want to be scared out of your gourd? Get a Jack Wallen book. Check out his blog to see just what this guy is up to. Links to follow. As an Indie author, Jack actively seeks to help out his fellow writers. Here are some of his tips to better succeed in the wild ride that is independent publishing. Thanks Jack!
A Guest Post by Jack Wallen:
5 Lesser mentioned tips for indie authors –
1 – If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. When I was an actor I stopped going to the theatre. Why? Because I knew, full-well, that I would sit in the audience and think to myself “I could do that better.” What does that mean? It means it’s almost impossible to step outside of yourself when dealing with those in a similar vein. Same thing holds true with writing. When I read books, I find myself thinking “I’d write this differently…” But when I read a book and decide I should review that book, the first thing I do is ask myself Can I write a review that is completely positive about this book? Why do I ask myself that? Well, there are a number of reasons. The first reason is this – when reviewing a book as a writer, if I slam a book it could be very easily seen as jealousy. I’ve read those books, books so brilliant I wished I’d written. Another issue is, when you really love a book – so much that you want to give it a five-star review – it could be seen as you “padding” the reviews for a fellow writer. It’s all very complicated. But if you look at it this way, it all becomes much easier. Don’t review a book unless you can do so without saying something bad. You don’t want to slam your fellow indie authors, because at this point in the game a bad review for one can be seen as a bad review for all. I am very picky about the books I review. For one thing, I am a very slow reader. And finally – I just don’t want to say bad things about my fellow indie authors. Fortunately, I have yet to read an indie author that I’ve had anything truly bad to say!
2 – Don’t always work within the comfort zone. If we always work within our comfort zone, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, our books don’t grow. Have you ever read an author who has a long series and at some point in the series you think This has become so formulaic. Generally speaking that is the point where that author has begun to simply work within the comfort zone. They’ve had success with their previous books and are working to repeat that success over and over. I would suggest we all stretch ourselves beyond those boundaries of comfort, just like we would do with any other endeavor. I realize this might seem to go against the old mantra Write what you know, but I don’t really mean Write what you don’t know. What I am suggesting is that you write what you know, in a way you may not have tried or in a voice you have not used.
3 – Don’t branch out too far. I currently have three series I am working on: Fringe Killer series (so far A Blade Away and Gothica), I Zombie trilogy, and Shero. In deciding my next books to write, I was about to begin writing a YA Paranormal book. Instead, I realized what I needed to do was to continue working the three series I had in order to keep building my readership. Once I have that audience established, I could then branch out farther. It’s important to establish that audience because you try to reach out to different audiences. My plan is to have the Fringe Killer series, the I Zombie trilogy, the Shero series, a new zombie series, a YA Paranormal series, a horror series, and…well…whatever strikes my fancy. But I must first have a readership established, otherwise I will stretch myself out too thin, too fast.
4 – Be creative in all your endeavors. We are not only writers, we are marketers, promoters, pimps, and hawkers. Instead of hopping on to Twitter and saying Buy my book! Use that creative brain of yours and do the same thing, but with a creative voice. Make your audience laugh, make them want to know you more, which will then make them want to know your work more. Use that creative-musculature with Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Podcasting, promos…everything. You spend so much time and creative effort into your work, don’t let your marketing fall flat with simplistic cries of Come buy!
5 – Think of yourself as a publisher, not just a writer. As an indie author, your job does not end when you finish writing the words. In fact, the hard work actually begins. To make this easier on yourself, don’t think of yourself as just a writer. Always look at yourself as a publisher – because that is what you are. You are a one-man wrecking crew charged with every aspect of getting your work into the hands of the consumer. By approaching this task with the understanding that you are a business that must succeed, you will do so with the knowledge that promoting and marketing is just another task that must be done and done as professionally and with as much care and nurturing as did the task of writing the book. If you think of yourself as only a writer, you will fail once the words are done. The last thing you want is to finish the book and have everything grind to a halt. Make sure you know, before you get there, what the next step is when the book is written. Have a plan and make sure you put as much effort and energy into the post-writing plan as you did during the creative process. Hopefully, eventually, your readership will grow and you will be able to pull back, somewhat, on the post-writing process.
Yes there are so many ways to succeed as a writer – but there are fundamental aspects of being an indie author that must be in place. Of course I am not saying You must follow these steps or you will fail, but I do highly suggest you take in every tip you read and incorporate those that ring true in your conscience, in your heart, and in your mind.
Read Jack Wallen!
I Zombie I I Zombie I on Amazon
A Blade Away
Jack’s blog: Get Jack’d
Jack on Twitter: @jlwallen
Jack on Facebook