6 important lessons for the indie author

Shirley Holder Platt

Our intrepid columnist discovers that no independent author is an island, and learns six important lessons along the way.

by Shirley Holder Platt

I quit working a nine-to-five job in June of 2017 so I could write a book. Soon after, I discovered ChapterBuzz, and started posting chapters, getting feedback, rewriting, and honing my skills. I’ve learned so much since retiring from corporate America. It was a lifelong dream come true to have my first book published, and I can’t tell you how exciting it was. I now have six books for sale and one free book of short stories.

Deciding to be an independent (“indie”) author was my first step. I thought it would be so much easier than trying to find a traditional publisher. Well, my friend, I’m here to tell you: there is no easy way.

Here are 6 important lessons I learned about writing and publishing a novel:

  1. Being indie doesn’t mean you go it alone. There are lots of people involved if you do it the right way. There is the community at ChapterBuzz, and more Facebook groups than you could ever keep up with. You can find a few that specialize in your genre and find a world of helpful advice from these folks.

    I’ll never sit down to read a novel again without being aware of all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the book, and how many people have touched it before it went to press.


  2. You need an editor. I found mine by serendipity. She’s a friend of a friend. Isn’t that the best way? She taught me more about story structure in a few hours than I’d managed to absorb through a lifetime of reading.
  3. You need a good cover. I attended an online writer’s conference and ended up using one of the panelists for all of my covers. She understands book cover art, she’s quick, pleasant to work with online, affordable, and her product is outstanding.
  4. There’s a proven method for writing a novel. I needed to learn the ins and outs, and for that I have Joanna Penn’s course, “How to Write a Novel,” to thank. Don’t you just love a name that tells you exactly what you’re going to get?
  5. There are the amazing people out there who so graciously offer free advice to new writers. People like K. M. Weiland whose Helping Writers Become Authors was and continues to be invaluable. And Mark Dawson with his podcasts and Self Publishing Formula. If you’re aspiring to write and publish, I highly recommend that you check these people out.
  6. You can’t just write and publish a book. You have to promote it. There are several online courses to help with that.

I’ll never sit down to read a novel again without being aware of all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the book, and how many people have touched it before it went to press.

And I’ll never again think of an indie author as an island.

Shirley Holder Platt is the author of five romance novels and one chick lit novel. Her book-in-progress, Mama Needs New Shoes, won the October 2018 Most Buzz Award, and several of her now-published novels appeared first on ChapterBuzz.

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