Behind the Scenes of Indie Publishing
Behind the Scenes of Indie Publishing
Contributed by Melissa A. Craven, Indie Manager,
Staff Reviewer and Indie Author
Best books for first time authors
One of the most frequent questions readers ask me is how did I get started? How did I even know where to begin?
Easy answer to that question. I had no flippin’ idea what I was doing and I wasted a lot of time figuring it out. But eventually I found a process that worked for me and with the release of my fifth book coming up in a few months, I’m still learning new things all the time.
Biggest lesson learned: Don’t try to do this alone. That’s what I did for a very long time and it was, without a doubt, the worst mistake I made along my journey to indie publishing. Seek out authors in your genre and join writing groups to get the support and advice you need when you’re not sure where to turn.
And when in doubt, seek advice from books. These are my top choices for anyone even thinking about writing a book—no matter which path to publishing you choose, you still have to write your book first.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
I discovered this little book when I was struggling with dialogue punctuation and the need for a source to confirm my general grammar and punctuation was on par.
Author Publisher Entrepreneur APE by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
This book helped me make the difficult decision to pursue indie publishing. This is a great introduction to what it takes to self-publish a book and it breaks the process down into manageable parts. The perfect place to start if you are thinking about writing a book and also if you have written a book and you’re not sure if self-publishing is right for you.
Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libby Hawker
Are you a pantser or a plotter? This book helps you define where you fall in that spectrum. While I don’t agree with everything this book teaches, there’s a lot of great stuff here. If you’re looking for an introduction into outlining and managing your writing time more effectively, this is a good place to begin.
Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron
I wish I’d found this book a decade ago. If you never read another book about crafting a story, read this one. This book will teach you all about building the foundation of your story—the framework your plot sits on. That’s right. “Story” isn’t just about what happens in your book. It’s so much more than that.
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
This is on my TBR for later this summer. I will read anything by Lisa Cron on the subject of writing. This book teaches you how to get into the mindset of your character and how to pull the emotion into your writing. Where Story Genius deals with the big stuff, Wired for Story deals with the details.
Don’t write without one. Just don’t. Early in my writing career, I worked as a freelance content development editor to help supplement my income (and fund the production budget for my own books). I mainly worked with first time authors and the number one newbie mistake that every first timer makes—and I literally mean every single one—was repetition. We all have a handful of go-to words and phrases that we stick with. Identify those crutches early on and use a thesaurus to help you diversify your descriptions. There are loads of thesauruses (thesauri? Google says either one so imma go with thesauruses because it’s fun to say.) out there that deal with different subjects for fiction writers. Keep those handy.
The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer's Journey by Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn is one of the strongest voices in the indie publishing world. Her series “Books for Writers” deals with many different subjects, but this one in particular is excellent. The journey to becoming a successful indie author is a long one and it’s never quite what you think it will be. Joanna helps prepare you for what to expect and reminds you that it’s a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.
There is a lot of noise in the indie publishing world about marketing and promoting a book. And it's often difficult to know which opinions to listent to. The bottom line--write a good book. Make sure the story you are crafting is as strong as it can be. If you write a good book, and do your homework, staying on top of what's going on in the indie world, you will get to all those other important things eventually, and it will all fall into place.