Resolutions for Indie Authors

2015 Resolutions for Indie AuthorsThank goodness last year is outta here. Some good stuff happened, some okay stuff happened, and some stuff happened that I wish never had. We won’t speak of those things here. Instead, we will look forward to the blank slate that is this shiny, new year.

Did I mix too many metaphors in that last sentence? Well, we’ll just add that to this list of Indie Author Things to Do Better in 2015, which I herewith submit for your approval.

1. Write more. I get it – writing every day is tough. We’ve all got lives – families and jobs, volunteer commitments, and commitments we’ve been volunteered for. It’s tough to squeeze a few minutes of writing time into a packed schedule that barely affords you enough time to brush your teeth. But writing every day is a good habit to get into. And as far as I’m concerned, everything counts – even a quick blog post or a few notes on your WIP.

2. Publish better stuff. That means doing your best to polish your work before you send it off to your beta readers and/or your editor. Which means having beta readers and/or an editor. Please don’t slack off on this. Indies need to be edited as well as – or better than – most trad-pubbed books.

3. Set a publishing schedule. Promise yourself that you will publish X books this year, and figure out what you need to do to get to that number. (I’m supposed to be drafting my next novel this month so that I can publish it sometime in March. Guess I’d better get on that.)

4. Set a marketing budget. This goes hand-in-hand with the publishing schedule. Figure out how much you can afford to spend to promote both your new work and your back list. If the answer is zero dollars, that’s perfectly acceptable; we have a list of places where you can advertise your promotions for free. It takes time to set up those promotions, though, so…

5. Use your time on social media wisely. I have a bad habit of getting sucked into a vortex to the parallel universe known as Facebook. An hour or more can go by while my eyeballs are scoured by quiz results, videos that start rolling as soon as I scroll past them, and borderline-salacious book covers. Keep an eye on the time-wasting stuff. And for goodness’ sake, don’t join a gazillion writing groups just so you can drop your buy-my-book post and run. The vast majority of the author-centric groups I belong to simply delete those posts, and many admins then block the guilty parties, to boot. Join only a few groups and interact with the other group members. You’ll build relationships, and you might even learn something. (Hint: Posting a discussion question with a link to your book or blog is not “interacting.” That’s trying to slip self-promotion past the admins.)

6. Remember to brush your teeth. Wait – wrong list. Never mind.

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

21 thoughts on “Resolutions for Indie Authors”

  1. Great list!
    May I add 1 more thing?
    Read! Authors need to read more than the average reader. Personally, since I write mostly short stories and flash fiction this is what I mostly read-but I read about 5-6 books a week!

  2. I went to a Professional Learning Communities conference hosted by Solution Tree a few years ago, and one of the main speakers was Richard DuFour co-author of the book, LEARNING BY DOING. Of course, as it was an education conference the focus was on how to create stronger communities within an education context as well as how to promote growth in student learning. It struck me, however, that the concept is universal. If you don’t actually “do” the thing, then can you really call yourself a writer, teacher, artist, gardener…? Well, I guess you can employ the philosophy of visualizing your potential, but sooner or later some doing needs to be done … I definitely agree with your resolutions of “writing more”, “publishing better”, and building more professional relationships. When you are in the business of communicating with people, as all writers are, it’s important to give and take feedback to perfect your art.

  3. Not enough hours in the day, Lynne, to accomplish everything we’d like to do–and those other things we’re “obligated” to do. I’ve made up my mind to spend less time on social media and more time writing. I will take as long as I need to produce the best work I can, rather than commit to a specific number of books. Unless I’m deathly ill, I’ll write every day. I always do. And last but not least, I promise to learn more about marketing and promotion.

    Happy New Year!

  4. I might add: keep a good list of things we need to do. It’s so easy to think, “Oh, yeah, I need to do some research on the bonobo for my next book,” and five minutes later that thought is lost amid Facebook and e-mails. I have to constantly update my to-do list to keep myself on track. Good post, Lynne.

    1. Thanks, Melissa! And I agree about the to-do list. For a while, I had one on my phone — I’d think of stuff on the bus going to and from work, and had no other place to write ’em down. I need to start doing that again…

      1. The trouble with cats is they like to sleep on your keyboard. This not only disrupts writing, it covers everything in fur which clings to the static on your screen. Dogs, on the other hand, lie beside you and snore gently, occasionally rousing themselves to place a loving chin on your knee, but never getting in the way of your writing. Later, when they need a walk, it gets you out of the house into the fresh air, thus blowing away the cobwebs of your mind and leaving your thoughts clear and crisp for the next chapter.
        Dogs are definitely the best pets for writers ! 🙂

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