What I Learned at Write Canada 2015 – Part 2: Indie Writer Continuing Class
The continuing class, Five Keys to Becoming a Successful Indie Author/Publisher with Linda Hall especially fascinated me since I began the process of publishing my own books this year. (My next book – Learn Twitter: 10 Intermediate Steps is launching July 15, 2015.)
Linda started out by describing different ways to get books published (Traditional, Independent, and Small Indie Presses) and shared a brief history of Indie publishing (e.g. Benjamin Franklin, 1732-1758, wrote and published Poor Richard’s Almanac). She also reviewed the reasons people decide to go the Indie publishing route:
- Because I can’t get an agent or a traditional publishing deal
Because I want to be in control of my own business
Because I enjoy the challenge of being in business for myself
Because I want to write what I want to write
Traditional houses don’t publish my genre
My publisher closed its fiction line
I need flexible deadlines
As a speaker, I need books to sell at events (business card book)
Key #1 Pre-book Planning
Is pre-planning different for the Indie Author?
You have to do MORE pre-planning:
- If fiction: Will it be a series? Length?
- If nonfiction – Do you have a platform to share your work from? A blog or website?
- Get involved with communities where your readers spend time
- Make sure you have a website and blog
Key #2 Writing the book
Your book should be the absolute best book you can write
How many books should I publish in a year? As many as you can write well
Should I format as I write?
- Only one space after a period
- Don’t use tabs; use paragraph formatting
- Use Times New Roman (Serif) (For overheads, use non-serif)
- Paragraphs should be fairly short
1. Why is everyone talking about Scrivener?
- Trash doesn’t erase.
- Character name generator
- Snap Shot – copies your screen so that you can go back if you want.
2. Simple Note – an easy way to keep notes
5. Gwen Hernandez – Scrivener course (NOTE: Registration is now open for classes in the fall of 2015.)
Key #3 – Editing
- Read your piece out loud (Google Play Books reads out loud)
- Find Beta readers – friends, family members, and readers who will give you honest feedback about your writing.
- Get an outside editor!
The four types of editing:
1. Concept or Developmental
Key #4 – Covers and Finishing
Go to Amazon and search the genre to get ideas about the style of cover you want and what’s popular.
eBook covers are different than print book covers
3 step judging for covers:
- Can you read it from 10 feet
- Can your grandmother read it from 10 feet
- Title should be in top 1/3 of cover
- Amazon – mobi
- Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and others – epub
- CreateSpace – PDF
- Full (left/right) justified
- Indent or space between paragraphs
- Fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, Geneva) eReaders often use their own fonts
- Copyright, TOC, end stuff, front stuff, graphics
TIP: Draft2digital – Use instead of Smashwords
Styles (Print Books)
- Full (left/right) justified
- Indent all but first paragraph of new chapters
- First letter or each first paragraph of each new chapter – larger and bolder
- Fonts your choice (serif)
- Copyright, TOC, end stuff, front stuff
- Any graphics must be at least 300 dpi
- No header or footer on first page of each new chapter or in end stuff or front stuff
- Start on right side (odd numbered page)
- Headers – odd numbered page is the title, even number is the author
ISBNs are free in Canada – go to CISS
Turn your book into audio – acx.com (Only available in the U.S.)
Key #5 – Marketing
The Indie Reviewers List (theindieview.com); DO NOT pay for reviews!
Do a Google search for the many sites which list bloggers and book reviewers.
Linda gave me permission to share the link to a special page she set up for this class. Check it out at rikhall.com/Linda.