(Yes. The inevitable ‘Top Tips’ post. I thought I’d just get on with it, without pointing out how passe and cliche’d and it is … :p)
It’s obvious that ANYONE can be an indie writer. Anyone. You just need to be able to string enough sentences together and then press the ‘Publish’ button. Fame and fortune await if you just follow my Five-Step Program …
- Write a story about someone doing something. Or the funniest/saddest/craziest thing that’s ever happened to you. This might take some time, but I’d advise no more than a week, cause you don’t want to miss this indie-writing boat! The story doesn’t have to make sense (post-modernism) it can be depressing (literary) or it can be exciting, yet empty (genre). You can even copy you’re favourite book (homage) so long as you change some names (plagiarism). Length isn’t important at this point – getting your product out there as quickly as possible is. You need to jump on the bandwagon before it’s full, or you’ll be sorry.
- Spellcheck. Maybe read through it once, just to make sure. People won’t mind spelling mistakes, because they’ll know what you mean. There’s lots of advice on paying editors to nit-pick, but that can come later, once you’ve made your millions. Your manuscript is now ready.
- Draw a cover. Some people can afford expensive covers made by real artists, who will cut into your profits no end, using words like ‘copyright’ and ‘infringement’ to scare you. An afternoon using Paint, with the name of your book and your name in VERY VERY BIG WRITING should be enough. Once they buy your book, they’ll realise your genius, and the cover won’t matter anyway. Ebooks aren’t like real books anyway.
- Publish. Make an account with Amazon, or Smashwords, or Barnes and Noble, and follow the instructions about creating your book. You are now a Published Author. Do a little dance.
- Marketing should start with your friends and family. Ask them all to buy your book, and post good reviews on it. Keep checking your sales stats to find who didn’t keep their promises. If you don’t have an account already, join Twitter, and follow lots of people, so that they will follow you back. About 10,000 should do to start with. Then barrage them with links to your book every hour, on the hour. Honestly, they won’t mind, they’ll love the book, and they will share their good fortune by telling everyone else about it.
Now, a few warnings. There are many people who will tell you that the above list is the wrong way to do things. They will want you to write the best thing you can – no matter how long it takes – and hire editors and cover artists and the like. They will bandy words like ‘reader-identification’ or ‘targeted marketing’ or even the dreaded ‘business plan‘. These people are jealous of their success, and don’t want you to get any. If you were to listen to any of these people, you might get the idea that e-book publishing is hard, and arduous, and a bit of a lottery, that takes grit, determination, and the right mix of pushing and pulling to succeed. These people’s writing has no value what so ever.
And one last unrelated item … some unkind customers might actually post unfavorable reviews of your book. Under all circumstances, you must harry these people through all media available, with rants and threats, until they remove the aforementioned review. Just keep at it, they will remove the post eventually, I promise.