This week’s guest blog is brought to us by the delightful, funny, and hard-working Ionia Martin of Readful Things. She also is the mastermind behind The Community Storyboard where writers and readers from all walks of life can gather for some fun. Did I mention she’s hard-working? If you haven’t had the joy of checking out both of Ionia’s blogs then I suggest you take the time to do so.
Now, I asked Ionia to make a list of Do’s and Donts’ for the Indie Authors. I thank her for taking up the challenge and having fun with it. Enjoy.
So you have decided to be an indie author, huh?
I can always count on Charles Yallowitz, the owner of this here excellent blog for two things. Number 1: He writes great books.
Number 2: He is always entertaining and ensures that his posts far outweigh any other responsibilities I deem as important on any given day. He’s cool like that.
Charles has asked me to write a guest blog. Guess what? I have no idea what I am doing. I have guests on my blog all the time, but this is the first time anyone has asked me to guest blog. I have a plan and it goes a little something like this—I’m gonna wing it and hope I don’t crash and burn. Tell my mum I loved her. Anyone want four slightly used kids? Almost good as new. Kinda.
Here is a list of do do and don’t don’t for the indie author (emphasis on the doodoo)
- Do: Develop a thick skin. You will need it. I don’t mean thick like a piece of sandpaper. I mean thick like Thomas Harris “it puts the lotion on the skin” kidnap a rhino and make a coat kind of thick. If you are thin-skinned you will bleed to death when you get your first 1 star Amazon Review.
- Don’t: Act like a selfish jerk. Share your blog space and tweets and Facebook page with other authors and interact with fans. When you are pointing your index finger at someone else, you still have three fingers pointing back at you. Three of your own fingers pointing back at you are better than just the middle one pointing your way from someone else.
- Do: Read trashy tabloids and watch celebrity gossip shows. This will remind you why you don’t want to be an overnight success and suddenly have the paparazzi stalking you. As an indie author, you can get away from work long enough to check the mail in your bunny slippers and robe and no one is likely to photograph you. Unless you live next to Charles. He takes photos and sells them to the highest bidder on the off chance one of us might make fame someday. Success comes with hard work, not unrealistic expectation.
- Don’t: judge your success by that of someone else. I like to look at the moon (not that one Charles) but I am not trying to be an astronaut. Is your favourite author Stephen King? Mine too. Love him. Named my blog after his honour. Great, brilliant guy. Also has those nerdy glasses that make him look like a bug. I don’t want to look like a bug. Bugs hit windshields. I am happy being me and writing what I write. Like this post. Have I mentioned this is a guest post and I am the guest? So cooooooool. I digress. Be happy being you, everyone else is already taken.
- Do: Learn to talk about your work with confidence. There is a way to be confident and yet humble. It is a learned art. You don’t have to drive a fancy car or live in a mansion to exude confidence in something you are good at. Look back at history for evidence of this. Do you think Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln and Jesus were all afraid to persevere and be good at what they did simply because they had not made millions? Unlikely. I doubt Da Vinci’s diamonds were all that sparkly anyway. Not nearly as sparkly as a modern day vampire.
- Don’t: (On the reverse side of this) exude so much confidence in yourself and your ability to take over the world that you inadvertently look like a giant nincompoop. (I love that word, don’t you?) Whether you are broke or rich, fat or thin, black or white, indie or traditional, supporting yourself with your writing or not, chances are good you are human. It is good to remember this after you have seen some success. You might see some more, it is contagious. Grateful people are more likely to catch the disease.
- Do: Treat your blurb lik your bok. Noting is werse than when an autor does a fabilus job of editng there book and ten mispells words witch are ment to cell his book to his audience. Sumtimes thos words are sneaky two. It is such a waist of good talent. Some of them are very plane to sea. Others will say oh deer if they see them and refuse to bye your book. Homophones can bee quit disturbing if left unchecked as well.
- Don’t: Give up after two months of not hitting the New York Times best seller list. Anything worth doing takes time. Ask an Ent. (Those majestic tree critters the elves refer to as Onodrim.)They may take a while to explain it to you. I will wait here while you go ask them. Hmmm hmmm, la la la. Boy, you were gone forever. I thought you were never coming back. Moving on.
- Do: Build a support network. This can include family, friends, people you randomly accost on the street. Maybe not so much that last one. Build a blog. Keep up with your Twitter and Facebook accounts and publish quality material that has nothing to do with your books once in a while. Be human and let people know that you have faults. I love that I can post a random picture of a dog peeing on a fire hydrant and I will get 50 likes. What I love more is that there will be a few comments as well and chances are someone will say something that will encourage and inspire me to write. Even if it is about dog piddle. You need support because you can’t do this alone.
- Don’t: Think that once your book is finished the hard part is over. The hard part has just begun. You have a long road ahead of you full of learning, failing, succeeding and failing some more. Don’t think your book is “good enough” to be published. You either know it is, or you risk making a name for yourself that you can’t live down throughout your career, (with the exception of a couple of folks and I’m not pointing fingers here, that wrote their books and published them at sixteen.) You may eventually live it down, but it will take a while. J
- Do: Stop reading my rubbish and go write a book already. See, I told you Charles was to blame for the lack of writing going on around here. Best wishes and good luck to you all. I look forward to reading your best sellers!