When I started this project I had a few things in mind. I knew I wanted to make my website better, as professional as it can be before I launch my book and it (hopefully) starts getting a lot more traffic.
What I found was that websites, and author blogs, are as varied as the authors that use them. But that doesn’t mean theres not a few things that make a website successful. I profiled eight top selling author sites and five indie authors who responded to my call for input on Facebook. I found the bestselling authors by looking through the top 100 top selling teen authors on Amazon and picked out the first eight who’s work I’d read or heard of, and who’s work was also not too dissimilar to mine.
I decided to take notes on the strengths and weakness of the site, as well as elements I want to emulate or avoid. All of this keeping in mind, of course, that they are bestselling authors and have the luxury of not having to build an audience.
I created my feedback with the thinking that, if I want to be a bestselling author, I should do my best to be a bestselling author. With all that said, lets start with...
I have a book full of quotes, many of them about writing, that I’ve been collecting for over a decade. But of all of them, this one has probably defined me as a writer the most. It gave me permission to be the author I wanted to be, it relieved my anxiety about writing at a time when I was taking it very seriously and trying very hard to get published. It didn’t happen then. But I kept writing. I didn’t worry about who would like it, or if it was any good (okay, I didn’t worry a lot). Because somehow knowing that you can’t predict what people will want to read gave me the freedom to write whatever I wanted.
No Man is an Island
It’s a good thing, too, because, if you’re at all like me, you know you have a good book, you know (or are pretty sure most days) that it is something people will want to read, but you have no idea what steps you should take after that. How do you get a book ready for publishing? Do you edit it yourself? How do you make it available as an ebook? Should you buy advanced print copies or use POD (Print on Demand)? Do you even know what Print on Demand is? Because I didn’t. You need a reliable, knowledgeable source to answer all these questions, show you where to find more resources and walk you through the money matters of it all.
"Take the Leap, don't worry, you're not alone." - Tweet This
The Book That Taught Me (almost) Everything I Know
It turns out it’s not quite as glamorous as loading a bunch of your best friends into a van with some second hand guitars and playing your way across the country. But what I loved about the book is it’s logical progression from chapter one on, taking you from first draft to final draft to ebook publishing and beyond. April explains it all and there are tons of resources listed in the book and a website where you can get access to even more. There are worksheets available as well that I’ve found extremely helpful for doing side by side comparisons of different service providers and keeping track of expenses. If you aren’t sure where to start and are overwhelmed by the tsunami of information pulled up when you google ‘indie publishing’, I would suggest picking up a copy of The Indie Author Guide at amazon or checking out April L. Hamilton’s website.
And don’t forget to get out there. It’s scary and nerve wracking, but you have to make yourself get active in the community. Create the website, start an author Facebook page or Instagram feed ( I have, and I promise it’s not that scary. Check them out here: FB, Pintrest and Instagram) It’s not enough to buy the book, or join the forum and then stop there and let that manuscript turn to dust in your drawer. Take the leap. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on Indie Publishing. Whats your favorite website or book that’s been most helpful on your journey? Comment below or use the contact page to drop me a line. Don’t forget to subscribe so you know when my next blog post is available.
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"Fiction gives the human soul a voice." - Helen Benedict
My thoughts on books, writing, inspiration, motivation and my incredible chosen proffession.