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Self-publishing tips for indie authors

I made every self-publishing mistake that you can read about on any author's blog. Until I started listening to others.

Welcome to my blog post. My journey from an accomplished scientist to an author of fiction came with pitfalls. The main one was thinking that all those years of research would easily translate into becoming the next Margaret Atwood. Wrong! However, I have learned a lot of lessons that have helped me to overcome challenges. Read on.

Have a plan before you write

Do you have a story in mind for the general public? Whether you are compiling blog posts with a common theme or writing a masterpiece from scratch - pick your target audience and have an idea which genre best suits your writing style."

Think about the books that you enjoy reading as you are crafting your masterpiece. It helps to pick an e-book template that will make the technical stuff easier once you have woven a story that you pray will go viral. iBook Author, Barnes and Noble, and CreateSpace all offer templates for the novice author, to name a few.

Writing is a solitary process and support helps one immensely along this path. Consider joining communities of like-minded souls where your work can be swapped with the manuscripts of others for reviewing purposes. NY Book editors have compiled a list of their top 11 writing communities.

Super-busy souls can always turn to the cottage industry of publish-on-demand companies such as Dorrance Publishing Co. and Austin Macauley Publishers. But it helps to have realistic expectations; if you publish in a niche genre, the most expensive publication package is not going to yield a great return on investment. In addition, you are still going to have to be in constant communication with any external help to make sure that your vision does not get lost in translation. That lesson is expensive!

Regardless of which option you try, it helps to engage readers before you publish the book. If they are hooked, they will be your best evangelists.

Stun Your Readers

Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.”

Let your personality shine through in your writing. Go wild with your imagination and build characters that make readers wish for more...Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman stands out in my mind as the type of writing that made readers and audiences that attended the play weep because they were drawn into the tragedy. I am sure you can think of more current examples. If you are good at technology, by all means incorporate that into the story. But do not go overboard as I once did and have a critic carp about feeling like he was reading a dissertation.

Oh by the way, it helps to have a sense of perspective about your critics, especially if they took the time to read your book. Your readers will not all have the same points of view. Moreover, peoples' tastes change with time, as Arthur Miller found out when his later plays got trashed by the same critics that praised him to the heavens for his earlier work.

Personally, I am suspicious of anything that is rated 5 stars by everyone (unless it is Mom's apple pie). It makes much more sense if you find a range of opinions about your book. The most important thing is that people purchase your hard work and that it does not lie dormant in a digital abyss.

Get Inspired

To keep up with all things that will help your writing, including website building tips and interesting articles, become friends with other authors and marketers. I used to set my spam folder to trap every marketing email. Fortunately a few of them persisted and now I have enough experience to distinguish between people trying to sell me stuff and those that add useful advice that adds to my knowledge. So, take the plunge and write your story now. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any company. Do due diligence and pick a path that successfully amplifies your story.

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