I’ve restarted the weekly live chats, and I am contemplating doing readings. Not live readings, but prerecorded teasers of older works, or upcoming ones. I have no idea whether either of those will lead to sales, but that’s really not the point of the weekly chats.
My son, who has been trying to help me with promo, has been urging me to do more audio and visual things in aid of that. I’ve been resisting, in no small part because I am a being of text. Also, because in spite of him saying he’ll do most of the work, I know better. I suspect my time would be better spent in taking a course on Amazon ads, as I have been debating for the better part of a year…
All this, and I’m not even thinking about the writing part. Life of an Indie Author – it’s more than the text. It’s the other stuff that makes it all up. But! I wouldn’t stop doing it for anything. Earlier this week I was listening to JL Curtis and Lawdog on one of their livestreams, and they were talking with their audience about self-publishing and how to do that. I pointed people at Mad Genius Club, and on the off chance any of them came over this direction, howdy.
If you want to be indie, there is a whole long checklist of Things to Do. Don’t let that scare you. It’s just like starting up with any business. Even if you were going to try and submit your manuscript to a tradtional publisher, be it a big one or small, I’d still urge you to treat it like a business from the get-go. It will save you a lot of time and heartache later. (voice of experience, and long-time observer of the community, speaking!)
I’ll also urge you to tap into that community I just mentioned. Making connections is going to be important in your career. You’re reading this, so you’re here already, but there are other places, and as fond as I am of the gang who writes here and comments here (comments on this blog are a safe space, always, and we work to keep it that way), you’ll be better served to get information from all over. Like the Passive Voice blog, which I highly recommend, for IP and other matters.
It will also serve you when you need to find an editor you can trust. Or a cover artist (I am not currently accepting new clients, sorry all) who knows how to represent your book. The cover of your book will be your single greatest marketing tool. This is not something that 99% of authors can or should do on their own. Don’t worry! We are here to help.
If you’d like to join in a small community where you can ask for help, there’s a discord server I run and it’s got helpful folks besides just me, too (link expires). This is me, taking away the excuses.
I keep telling my son two things this school year. One, and the first and foremost: Ask for help. I’ve told him, if the single lesson he takes away this semester is to learn how to communicate: with me, with his professors, with the college who has offered him free tutoring services, heck, even for help from his older sister who’d offered math helps… if that’s the only thing he learns to do, it’s been worth the money. The other thing? That perfect is the enemy of good enough. Which ties into his anxiety of having people see him fail. He’d been trying to learn how to ride a bike, and with the help of a trusted friend, managed that. But when I took him to a park to practice, so he learns how to safely ride before I turn him loose onto city streets? There were people, and he froze up. I can’t push him past that, he could potentially get more hurt through the fear making him do stupid stuff he wouldn’t do if he were paying attention to his own body and the bike than to his concern over the prying eyes of potential observers. He is pathologically afraid of failure in public. I see writers do that, too. They can’t bear the thought of failing somehow with their book, so they never put it out in the wild to wobble a bit before it gains enough momentum to have the next book, or the next, get onto an even keel.
Which probably means I really ought to record myself reading a bit of a book. Because learning new things is usually worth the effort, if not for the skill, than at the least, for the practice of learning.