My First Year
by Theresa Snyder
I started my life as a published indie author on May 1, 2013. It has been an all-consuming project ever since.
There is no blueprint telling how to become a successful indie author. Like childrearing, it does not come with a manual. Everything is trial and error. What works for one author may not work for another.
My goal last year was to post all twelve of my completed books to the Kindle store on Amazon. I accomplished that plus one more, thirteen in all. I also did so much more and met so many wonderful folks along the way.
I’d like to detail my journey thus far. Each step is important – each step helps build a bridge closer to the readers who I hope are awaiting my stories.
In the early 1990s I tried without success to get my books published in the traditional manner. The agents and publishers did not know whether to place them in adult or in young adult (YA) as they seemed to be both. Back then there were no Harry Potter or Twilight books to show that a YA book would be read by an adult as well as a teen. Tired of receiving rejection slips, I gave up. I told myself I was writing for the fun of it. All that changed when my writing group suggested I put my books on the Internet for sale as e-books.
My writing buddy, Bill, suggested I buy a writing program called Scrivener and he offered to format my books into Mobipocket e-book files (MOBI) for Amazon. Amazon is not the only place to post your e-books, but it is a place to start as Amazon is one of the larger publishers of e-books. If you have even the least bit of knowledge of the Internet, setting up an account with Amazon is fairly straightforward and posting to that account relatively easy.
I do, however, have suggestions. After all, that is why you’re reading this, right?
Make your final manuscript as clean as possible. Formatting an e-book is very different from a regular printed book. If you are unsure about how to correctly format your book, have someone do it for you. Due to amateur authors putting out less-than-satisfactory, poorly formatted volumes, indie books have been given the bad rap of being inferior. Get a good group of beta readers and have them carefully comb through your book.
Do not do your own cover unless you are a graphic artist. There are folks out there who will do a cover for you for under $100. It looks more professional and will sell more books for you. Remember, the cover is your book’s first impression. See my attempt at doing a cover for my book, James & the Dragon, and the artist Sarah Hyndshaw’s version. I bet I don’t even have to label which one is which.
Look at other authors’ book descriptions, bios and publicity shots before you create yours. Remember you are creating a brand for yourself. It should look clean and be engaging.
And last in my short list, remember that all Amazon sites are not connected. If you set up your information on Author Central for America, you also must set it up for the U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Australia and so forth.
My next column will cover social media.
Theresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard.