Ten Commandments of Self Publishing your indie book: Laws 1, 2, and 3 – Platform, beta readers and a good editor

I recently published my book SHADOW OF WRATH on Amazon and for all those interested, I’d be delighted if you have a peek at it over HERE. No need to buy (unless you want to put a smile on my face and a coffee in my hand), but you can read the first few chapters for #FREE!.

Through this long (but fun!) process involving endless hours of: typing, writing, rewriting, personal edits, beta reader edits, editor edits, creating covers, creating a blog, creating a book website, uploading to Amazon, writing a synopsis on Amazon, writing your own bio, marketing and etcetera, etcetera; I developed my own personal list of commandments for the indie author. These are my own personal commandments and whether you think they’re useful is entirely up to you. These are not written in stone….more like cardboard actually, but I do hope they provide some use for my fellow writers out there.

Commandment #1: Thou Shall Create your Author Platform

The blog is your author platform. It’s where you can interact with your readers, followers, stumblers and share your successes and failures (hopefully less of these). This place is also home to your book, the promised land where you can direct everyone you meet on forums, other blogs, twitter, facebook, on the street, in the subway, in prison and tell them to bask in the aura of your hard work.

Like any good home, you want to make it presentable to all those that visit and leave the dirt hidden in the closet and swept underneath the rug. You–the author–are the gracious host, your books are your center pieces, and your readers are the guests that you treat like gold (even if they decide to act like trolls and sh*t all over your couch. It looks only bad on them, not you).

Commandment # 2: Though Shall Get Yourself Beta Readers for your manuscript

Three beta readers to be exact. They can be your friends, your neighbours, your siblings, the mail man. Just make sure they are brutally honest. We need to hear the blunt truth, as much as it will hurt. Send out your manuscript to these cruel and hard to please brutes and wait PATIENTLY for them to finish reading through your complete manuscript. Remember, beta readers are doing you a favour, so be polite and patient with them. WARNING: when you get your manuscript back, the results may hurt.

At first the comments will feel like open wounds carved by rusty knives and you’ll want to defend yourself, but seriously, don’t. Listen to what your beta readers say and accept it. The reason why I mentioned three beta readers is because everyone’s taste is different. What works for one person won’t work for another. However if you noticed that a piece of your plot is loathed by all three readers, then you have yourself a problem.

Keep an open mind to all suggestions, after all, an author’s goal is to please his readers. He can’t please all of them, but he can try pleasing most of them. And never attack your beta readers for their comments. Would you hurl insults at a doctor who’s offering you a cure for your ailments? No, of course not…unless you’re a dick.

Commandment #3: Though Shall get Yourself a Good Editor

So you fixed up all the plot problems with your beta readers. Now what? Get yourself a good editor. Many writers think they can edit their own work. Don’t even think about it. If you have only one expense you need to pay for, it’s an editor that will catch all your mistakes, figure out awkward sentence structure, and delete all those unsightly adverbs.

Yes, I know editors can be quite expensive, but there are some out there that are very affordable and do an amazing job. I heard good things about Anne Victory. Her website can be found here: http://www.victoryediting.com/

I highly recommend my editor Shawna DiFilippo. She was absolutely fantastic and very reasonable with her prices. She picked up many things that I would  have never caught and she destroyed the dreaded writing cliches like an editorial ninja. You can leave a comment if you’re interested and I’ll direct her your way.

Alright, those are the first three rules for now. Stay tuned for my other 7 commandments.

-L.W.

 

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