Monday, January 9, 2012

How To Start Indie Right -- Because I'm Selfish

I am selfish. Yep. I'm selfish. There ya have it. Selllllfish. I sell fish. Trout, bass, salmon.

No. I'm selfish. I don't like fish, don't care to sell it. Not even shellfish ;-)

And I cringe when I see an indie author put out inadequate work. Oh heck, let me pull out my French translation book: I cringe when I see an indie author put out sh****tty work. My French is eloquent, eh? Anyway, how people perceive that author affects how people perceive me. For better or for worse, many people lump indies together. However, that lumping is beginning to change, thank goodness.

In any case, this blog post is for indie authors, new and established, so people perceive you better. And thus, perceive selfish ol' fish-seller me better. Win-win situation, right? :)

1. That book you wrote and you think is great? The work agents and/or publishers rejected, telling you that you need to improve your writing? Yeah, that work. Guess what? There's a reason it was rejected with such a specific explanation.

Get busting. Read at least five writing books. I could be mean and say ten, but five will do for starters. Take writing classes if you can.

But what if you never submitted to agents or publishers? How do you know your work is good? Simple. Use the checklist below.

- I have never read a writing book, never taken a writing class, etc.
- This is my first book.

If you meet the above two criteria, 99.999999999999 percent chances are your work is a fine, fetid foaming craptastic gooey ball of fish. If you think you're in the 0.000000000001 percent, take your work to a critique group. Or a writing professor at a nearby college. You don't need the whole thing, just the first few pages. Heck, try Evil Editor's New Beginnings here. Wait times are minimal, and you only need the first few paragraphs of your work. It astounds me that people think they can write without training. You would not want someone with no experience cutting your hair, right? Or cutting your liver out. Same concept. Believe me, I used to be like you. I decided one day to write and gave no thought to needing writing books or any of that. I sure could have used my handy ol' two-point checklist back then. Woulda saved me lots of cussin' at publishers.

Don't argue if/when that writing professor, your critique group and Evil Editor and his minions tell you that your work is awesome, as in awesomely craptastic. Push yourself to improve. Then (most likely) put that first book away. Write book #2. You'll need considerable skill to revise book #1, and that skill won't come until later, maybe not until book #5 even. Also, there is no shame in starting short by writing short stories first.

**** Now, if your work was rejected because it wasn't marketable, or some reason along these lines, your work is especially suited for the indie world. (If you haven't read five books on writing, though, get busting.)

2. Your covers. Dearie me, presentation is important. You got your work the best it could be, so why make the outside amateurish or unprofessional? You want your cover to be the best it can be, too. If paying a cover designer $100 is absolutely not doable for you, fork over $25 or $35 for a premade cover. Heck, use the Amazon Kindle black and green "stand-in" cover if you have to.  And once you have the $100, you know what to do with it. That's right, send it my way! Thank you very much :-D

**** Tip: If your book isn't selling, look at the cover. Ask for brutally honest opinions. Also look at your blurb. Is it clear? Is the grammar correct? Is the conflict there?

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