Self-published authors are a new breed. They don't have the editorial hand-holding that authors did in the past with traditional publishing. Today's author/publishers are self-reliant entrepreneurs who wear many hats, from publicist to virtual assistant. The dream is to make it big, have a breakout bestseller that millions of people want to buy. Some current authors have done just that: published their own books and turned them into household names on the bestseller lists. Self-published authors also tend to be a helpful group when it comes to authors following in their footsteps, especially the most successful ones. They're usually happy to share their experiences and advice, helping newer authors over the pitfalls they, themselves, might have tripped over in the past.
1. Know Your Limitations, and Use Them
Orna Ross is a bestselling author who founded ALLi, the Alliance for Independent Authors. Her key to productivity is to take the limitations that life gives you, and use them as inspiration to move forward beyond them. No one has a perfect writing situation. Jobs interfere, children make noise, chairs aren't comfortable enough. Adapt and write anyway.
2. Don't Do it All
Bestselling romance author Jacinda Wilder advises you never try to do it all. You may be the best author in the world, but that doesn't make you the best editor, or cover designer. This doesn't mean turning over editorial decisions to those you've hired. Get the help, but stay involved through the entire process.
3. Forget the English Degree -- Take Business Classes
Stephanie Bond says that authors are often surprised at the number of business decisions they'll need to make on a daily basis once they've finished their first novel. A solid education in business and entrepreneurship will be more useful than any creative writing class you can find. What's a good offer? How do I find an agent? How do I negotiate? Business classes are the place to learn these important topics.
4. Be Patient But Persistant
Bestselling author Hugh Howey jokes about becoming a 10-year overnight success. He knows the value of patience, and advises new authors to persist in their writing before anything else. Start writing your next book before even thinking about marketing your first. Having your tenth book be a breakout hit is better than your first, Howey says, because you'll have a solid back catalog for readers to buy from.
5. Keep Going
Barbara Freethy, bestselling author of over 20 novels, simply says to keep going when it starts to get tough. Plow through the dull middle of your book, keep going when you want to give up on a series, don't give up when you hit a blank wall. Climb over it.
6. Enter Contests
According to Candice Hern, having your book in competition with others nets you valuable feedback from the judges, as well as getting your name out there in front of others. Find regional and state competitions as well as national ones if you want to start with a smaller audience.
7. Remember Your Fans
Bella Andre is famous for contacting her fans by email, and she advises you to use similar methods. Answering a comment on a Facebook post or tweet or sending out a free sample to diehard newsletter fans is a great way to personalize your image in fans' eyes.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!