A Guide to Nano Wrimo 2019

It’s that time of the year again when writers from across the globe decide whether to embark on one of their toughest challenges- yep, the annual Novel Writing Month Contest (NanoWrimo) is here!

I’ve entered NanoWrimo four time since I began this crazy journey of writing books and have only succeeded just the once. In case you don’t know what it is Nano challenges you to write a complete 50,000 story in just 1 month. To some this word count is easy but to others (like me) it is one of the most gruelling challenges out there. To offer some guidance I’ve put together some top tips that should help see you through to the finish line.

Write whenever you can

If like me you have to do a real job (boo! – I joke…) that takes up the bulk of your day you need to take every opportunity you can get to put those words down on the page. To hit the target you have to write at least 1,667 words per day (Around 2-3 hours of work). If your commute into work is a long one do some on the bus or train, do it in your lunch breaks and if you work a 9-5 job make sure you write in the evenings. This is easier said than done of course as funnily enough life often gets in the way. If you have children, pets and other commitments then… good luck!

Accept that the 50,000 words are going to suck

The whole point of Nano is to prove to yourself that when pushed you can hit the word count of 50k within the space of 30 days. I know a few Indy authors that can do this with their eyes closed and you’ll likely see in the Nano forums that some entrants will smash this number within a matter of days. Don’t feel disheartened. Instead get your words down and accept the fact they won’t be great. Getting the words down is the true challenge and if you like what you’ve done then spend the next few months refining them. It’s likely that you’ll end up cutting a fair amount and rewriting whole parts but for now focus only on hammering that keyboard or scribbling that pen.

Do not edit!

If you’re a stickler for perfection then Nano is not for you. Many writers fall into the trap of editing as they go. Don’t! If you do that you will never reach the end goal of 50k words. Editing, of course, is one of the most important if not the most important parts of the whole writing process but for Nano resist the urge to edit as you go.

Check the forums for support

There are many support groups on the NanoWrimo website that provide a wealth of support. One forum I’ve used in the past is the regional forum where you can make contact with other entrants in your area and work together to build your regions word count. Seeing which region will top the word count leaderboards adds an extra element of competitiveness and motivation.

Am I entering this year?

Yes, I am. I’m working away on my current project: The Temple of Arrival and Nano will be a huge motivator to get down as many words as possible. With the book currently at 50k already with probably more than that to go, NanoWrimo will be the perfect thing to push me on and help me finish the first draft.

Are you taking part this year? Do you have any tips that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments or via social media.

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Marketing Tips for Indie Authors – Making a Mailing List

Marketing is quite possibly the toughest aspect of being an indie author. How do you get your books in front of readers? How do you stand out from the crowd? In this series of blogs, I’ll be focusing on marketing and some of the tricks I’ve learnt over the years to generate some sales.

Part 1 –Mailing lists

Making a mailing list has so far been the most effective way for me to sell books and whilst I’m no master at it I thought I’d share what I know.

The first thing you need to do is not worry too much if your book is nowhere near ready. When it comes to marketing it doesn’t hurt to try and get yourself out there early. Also, if you have a huge back catalogue of books it’s not too late to start building a list from scratch.

Who to choose?

There are numerous email marketing services out there and each offers you different functionality and features. To start with I’d choose either Mailchimp or Mailerlite. Both provide the ability to easily create email templates as well as have plenty of options for integrations (more on that later). As a newbie to list building, I recommend Mailchimp (simply because that’s the one I have the most experience with).

Joining Mailchimp is incredibly easy and it takes you through step by step on how to get started. Another benefit of MC is that it provides automation functions which will come in handy down the road.

I, however, am using email Octopus as once your list grows to a certain size Mailchimp and Mailerlite can get a bit pricey. With MC, for example, a list of over 2,500 was costing over £30 a month to maintain and the price goes up as your list grows. With email Octopus, it costs me £20 and I won’t have to upgrade again until I have 10,000 subscribers.

Growing a list

Once you’ve chosen your provider the next challenge is to start growing your list. If you have a website you can easily create a modal popup that will hopefully encourage your site visitors to subscribe.

Sharing the link to your subscription page via social media can also work but what you need is something to encourage people to sign up. In my case, I give away a copy of my novella The Nightblade to those who subscribe. Giving away a short story or piece of artwork can be a great hook.

There are also services such as InstaFreebie (now Prolific works), Book Funnel and the newer Story Origin that all help build list numbers. This is where integration comes in. Each of those services can be linked to your mailing list and automatically new subscribers that come in through that route. InstaFreebie and Book Funnel require a fee but as yet Story Origin remains a free service. The only downside to that service is that it is slightly limiting when it comes to what mailing list services can be integrated.

As I use Book Funnel, I’ll talk about how I’ve used it to grow my list from a few dozen to almost 3,000 subscribers in less than 6 months.

Book Funnel allows users to create and join promotions. All you have to do is set up a book giveaway click on a promo that you like the look of, fill in the form and join it. The success on the promotion comes down to the members of the promo sharing it to their social channels and mailing lists. Sometimes one promotion can generate hundreds of new subscribers.

What to put in your emails?

If you’re working on a book keep your subscribers informed with updates on its progress, the challenges you’ve faced and perhaps some excerpts to whet their appetite. It’s also a great opportunity to work with and help other authors as you can share other authors works in your list and in exchange, they’ll do the same. There are several social media groups dedicated to finding swaps for example.

Write about you as a person. Let your readers learn more about you and let them know you’re human. Other things you can include is news on the latest giveaways, discounts, reviews or character bios and maps.

I’m sure there are more experienced authors out there who have mastered the mailing list if so, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below with your top tips and please subscribe to my mailing list via – https://emailoctopus.com/lists/56af726d-5645-11e9-8622-02cfe9e979c6/forms/subscribe

In the next post I’ll be taking a look at some of the promotion services that are available and which ones are worth the cost.

Books header

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Tips for Indy Authors 4: Cover Art & Covers

If you peruse the Amazon Kindle store you will be greeted by more books than you can count. Unfortunately, many of them are likely to have book covers that quite frankly suck and that were obviously cobbled together by the author.

With so much competition out there you need your book to stand out from the crowd. Sure we all want to save money and many authors do take their books to market without spending a penny on anything, but do those books go on to sell more than a handful of copies?

Do it yourself?

Making your own covers can work don’t get me wrong; if you have a background in art and design. Knowing what works is vital to making a good cover. I’ve been doing content creation for years now so feel pretty comfortable using design tools but I know for a fact that the covers I have made myself could be so much better if I had paid a pro.

Getting the imagery and title fonts right for your genre is also key. If you can draw then good for you, you can create something unique from scratch. For the rest of us mere mortals however, we can turn to stock image websites. Free sites like Pexels provide free images to use but these are pretty limited. For a basic package with sites such as Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, you will have a lot more choice. With some photoshop wizardry, you can easily turn a stock image into something unique looking. There are few images out there, however, that been used numerous times so try to use one that no one else has used yet.

Free tools such as Canva and Paint.net allow anyone with an eye for design the ability to create some pretty decent covers.

Finding Artists

Unless you’re really lucky and have a family member or friend who is a designer or artist finding the right person to do your book’s cover art can be tricky. Deviant art is an excellent place to find pros and if you’re a signed up member you can post job requests on the job boards. You’ll always get someone willing to offer you their talents but as is correct the artists will ask for payment (no one should work for free after all!)

It was through Deviant art that I met the cover artist for the First Fear and the up and coming second Empowered One’s novel. Having a professional cover is an amazing feeling to have as you’re proud to show it off. There are many other places where artists lurk but in my opinion, you should avoid Fiverr as I’ve heard some horror stories.

There are also many pre-made book cover services out there but again the quality is hit and miss, and you cannot guarantee that what you buy is solely yours.

There are some absolute shockingly bad book covers out there. Be sure to not have yours end up on a list like this one

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Tips for Indy Authors 3: Writer’s Block

There are no two words more dreaded and feared by all authors than ‘Writer’s Block’. What is it and how do you get through it? Well, let me try and help you.

I’ve been writing books for over ten years now and I have been struck by Writer’s Block more times than I can count. Pretty much every writer out there will succumb to it at one point or another and to those who claim to have never experienced it- well, good for you I guess (I don’t believe you at all by the way.)

Writing is a strange thing. One day your fingers are whizzing over the keyboard and the words just pour out of your brain and onto the page. Then inexplicably and without warning, you freeze. The words stop coming like a once raging river now baked dry in a drought. How you handle these first moments of horror is crucial to salvaging your workflow.

I’m experiencing a bit of writer’s block myself at the moment and from experience, I know what has to be done to break that wall and press on. It’s just getting the right thought process in place to enact it. There are a few tactics you can try but the most important thing to not do is begin to wallow in despair. Putting pressure on yourself is guaranteed to make the situation worse and prevent the words from coming.

Do something else

Now, this technique might sound counterproductive but bear with me. If you’re like me you no doubt have many other ideas and works in progress on the go or in the planning stages. The key to breaking Writers Block is to trick your brain into unfreezing and releasing all those juicy words once more.

If you’re writing fantasy try your hand at another genre or enter some writing challenges. I personally switch between projects as I find that I’ll often have writer’s block on a certain project but am fine with another. Alternate between your works to keep your mind fresh and your interest high.

Force it

This technique had worked for me a few times. I write a lot in my day job so I have to literally force myself to write in order to get paid! Think of Writers Block as a barrier, apply enough pressure onto it and the dam will eventually break. This strategy can fall under the finding the time to write a problem that many writers have as well. Get your ass in that seat and don’t leave until you’ve put down a certain amount of words. They don’t have to be great, just get them on the page.

Take a break and come back fresh

Alternatively, you can simply walk away from the problem project for a few days or weeks. Don’t do any writing, go outside, go on holiday or simply do anything else. Your brain will recharge its words count and when you get that itch to write again, you’ll know that the Writers Block is over.

I’ve learnt that many writers put themselves under a lot of pressure when it comes to Writers Block. I do it myself and so I’ll be following my own advice. Don’t let fans get you down about deadlines or whatever. A book will be finished when its good and ready, you can’t rush these things.

 

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Tips for Indy Authors part 2: Finding the time

Unless you’ve got all the time in the world to dedicate to your writing you may feel pressured and distressed that you just can’t find the time to get those words down.

You work all day, might have to look after the kids etc, writing is sometimes the last thing you want to do with your precious free time. Sometimes you just want to relax and do nothing which is fair enough. However, I’ve come up with some ways to ensure that you can get at least a few words down per day.

In my day job, for example, I work as a content creator which often sees me writing creative pieces and newsy type articles throughout much of the day. Sometimes I wish that the words I was putting down for work were going into my books and other days I simply wish I could be as creative for my own stuff as I am in my daily job. Sometimes the last thing I want to do after a 9-hour day is getting home and whipping out the computer and write.

Writing a novel is a time-consuming business. A 50,000-word novel is at least 50 hours’ worth of work just to hammer out the first draft not to mention all the planning and thinking that it entails. With rewrites, design and marketing efforts included, an Indy author could spend 100’s if not 1000’s of hours on their projects.

It’s a battle of will

I know I need to get those words down if I’m ever going to finish the blasted book, so it becomes a battle of will with yourself. All I can say is that it doesn’t help to work yourself up about it. Taking a break is no bad thing when it comes to writing. Putting pressure on yourself and forcing those words out has often in my experience directly caused the dreaded writer’s block.

Writing should be a fun experience, by turning it into a chore or job can take that fun out of the experience which in turn will make you even more frustrated if you can’t find some time to do it. You need to ask yourself why you’re writing in the first place. Is it just a hobby? Do you want this to be your career? You need to ask this fundamental question before deciding on how much of your precious time you should devote to it.

Try what’s best for you

Early bird?

Some people get up and go the gym stupidly early in the mornings if you’re a writer and an early bird than why not do something similar? Get some words in before the kids’ wakeup or before you must go to work.

Make the most of lunch hours

Doctors will probably frown at this suggestion but what about writing throughout your break times at work? It’s no different than colleagues who choose to watch some TV during the lunch hour. I would suggest, however, that you get out for some fresh air and eat something too. Don’t squander that precious hour. With smartphones, you can easily download a writing app and get some words down.

Can you write on the commute?

Do you have a long commute in the mornings or evenings? When I used to work in Bristol, I’d have to take an hour-long bus journey in the mornings and evenings to get to and from work. During those often-dull times stuck in traffic, I’d whip out my Kindle and use a word processing app to write. It was doing this that allowed me to write much of The First Fear.

Have an end goal in sight

This is something I myself need to work on more and that is setting yourself a strict deadline and sticking to it. One of the pros of being an Indy author is that there is no time limit put on you by a publisher – but it can also be a negative. It’s also easy to say, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow or next week’. There’s no rush or pressure on when you get that book finished except the pressure you put on yourself.

Don’t be selfish

I know this is one is easier than it sounds. Most of us have other commitments and people we love in our lives. Do not neglect them and try to make a compromise. You don’t have to spend every moment with each other but ensure that your writing time is understood by a partner or family members and be sure to limit that time. Locking yourself away for days on end may work for some folks but just think about the other people in your life.

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Tips for Indy Authors part 1: Planning

Hi everyone, I was working on my latest book and being distracted by social media (Damn you Facebook!) when I realised that there are so many writers out there that don’t have a clue how about getting their work out there. In this new series of blog posts, I’ll be covering some of the basics.

Now you may be thinking that it might be a bad idea to help other writers. After all the competition out there is fierce and I myself would be classed as a struggling author. In reality, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the years is that helping one another is really important.

One of the most common questions I see on social media is about how authors go about getting started and planning their books.

It all starts with an idea

A muse, creativity, imagination call it what you like but there has to be something that creates that initial spark. Not everyone possesses such a thing whereas others can be consumed by it. In my case, I get inspiration from the world around me. The news, hobbies such as gaming, people watching (not in a creepy way) and history are great sources of inspiration. It’s hard to describe the feeling when an idea takes root but you know it’s a good one when your mind constantly goes back to it. This where the idea of a muse comes in, a little voice in your head that nags you to look into it more. Sometimes an idea can be tenacious, other times it can hit like a lightning bolt or a Eureka moment.

In fantasy especially, I often start out by creating the world the story will be set in. I’ve written about world building before so check those posts out here. At this phase, you can get lost in creating a history or lore of the world and its during this phase that planning rises to the fore. I have notebooks and word documents filled with timelines, character and place names. I find it helps to write them down by hand first and then compile them onto a computer later.

Once this initial burst of creativity has occurred the actual story is the next step. Now, this is where being an author gets a little weird. In effect, you become something like a god. You create characters that in your mind might be as real as you or I and then you plop these ‘people’ into the world you created. I myself have experienced and been told by other writers that once they do this their characters often do unexpected things that shift a story into an entirely unexpected direction.

I’ve been experiencing this in my current project and while interesting such detours can put a spanner in the works of the story you’re trying to tell. This is why planning is so important.

Pantsing vs Plotting

I am what would be considered a pantser writer which means aside from having a broad outline of how I want a story to go I just let my mind run free and make it up as I go along. Others really struggle with this method and instead intricately plan out every page of a story. No method is better than other as a pantser can often write themselves into a corner thanks to troublesome characters not behaving and a strict planner can become stifled and trapped by their plan to the point of feeling trapped. The perfect method would be to incorporate the two, which is something that I myself am trying more and more.

raybradburyplot

In my current project, I still have a beginning and an endpoint that the story has to reach but whereas before I would wing it and see what happens to reach that end, I am now creating strict plot points that each chapter has to hit. How they are hit however is left to my imagination and it can be tricky reigning in a plot that is trying to go off on a different tangent.

There is software that provides plenty of planning functions and options but for me, a good old-fashioned notepad works best.

Writing is a learning experience and we all develop our own ways of planning out our projects. I’d love to hear what techniques you use. Are you a pantser or a strict planner? Let me know in the comments.

In part 2 I’ll be covering the common question of ‘How do you find the time to write?’.

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What I’ve Learnt About Self-Publishing – Is getting a traditional publishing deal better than going Indy?

Is getting a traditional publishing deal better than going Indy?

As a member of many writing groups online I’ve seen more than a few authors brag about landing traditional publishing deals. I have debated and in some cases outright argued with some who claim that landing such deals means that they are superior to us Indy authors.

Sure, landing a deal with an internationally recognised or genre leading publisher is fantastic! Well done you, but in this post, I’m not going to be talking about the big players but rather the small presses of which there are hundreds. Now, some of these are fantastic at what they do and genuinely support their authors with marketing etc., but far too many don’t provide those they ‘sign’ with any support at all.

The thing I think that needs to be made clear is whether going the traditional publishing route will indeed prove more effective than self-publishing. I’ve seen many authors delighted to land a deal, but then their book disappears into oblivion as the publisher does not promote the book at all. I’ve been in arguments with some authors who look down on Indy publishing and believe that because they’ve landed a deal with some obscure publishing house, they are better than those going alone. A simple look at their books ranking on Amazon however soon proves that in reality, their book is doing terribly and that for example, my Indy book sells better than theirs. I get that there are some kudos for landing a deal but at the end of the day if we truly want to be true authors our writing has to make us some form of income.

There are countless scammers out there posing as publishers. (Read my blog about vanity publishers here.) Unlike vanity publishers who demand an author pay them to publish there are some that offer contracts and even pay the author for the rights to their work as well as promising to market the book. I’ve seen many authors fall for these small presses who often turn out to be one man shows or run by people who don’t really seem to know what they’re up to. The number of books ‘signed up’ to these publishers that then go onto to vanish without a trace is quite frankly shocking.

Publishing is a gamble either way

A good friend of mine in the USA wrote a fantastic Sci-fi novel that exploded in popularity on a writing forum. He was then approached by a ‘publisher’ who paid him an advance and promised him to support the book. This was over 8 years ago, and his book has still never seen the light of day, and he is now embroiled in a legal battle with the publisher to get the rights back from them. I know for a fact that if he’d taken the Indy route and published it himself, then that book would have done well, and no doubt would have made him more cash then he’d earn via the small press. In short, he took a gamble and lost.

With Indy publishing, everything is down to you. You control the rights, you control production, and you control your marketing. In my view, its better for your book to be out there then locked away gathering dust. By going Indy, there is always a chance that your book could take off, whereas if a small press is mismanaging it or refusing to publish it, then there is no chance at all and you could end up in a legal battle to get back control of your story.

What do you think? Have you had a bad experience with a small press? Have you achieved success going Indy? Let me know in the comments or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

 

What I’ve Learnt About Self-Publishing – Writing is not for the faint-hearted

Being a writer is a profession that leaves you wide open to critics from all walks of life and backgrounds. You may think you’ve written the best thing ever but be assured that someone somewhere will think its terrible and will most likely relish the chance of putting the boot in.

Now I’ve received this treatment in both my working career as a copywriter and as an Indy Author. Sometimes there is just no pleasing people. A lot of the time the criticism is constructive (no-one is perfect especially me!) but sometimes, just sometimes you encounter people that simply defy all logic and reason. I’ve had people complain about a piece of content I’ve written, but not give any reason whatsoever as to why they disliked it and then I’ve had it where an article I’ve drafted is literally waved in front of my face and been told its crap. Writing is not for the faint-hearted, and it’s a bloody tough profession to succeed in.

So many Indy authors experience the annoyance of obtuse or downright nasty negative reviews on the likes of Amazon. I’ve had some that have said I’m the worst writer ever, others that they simply hated the book and that’s that.

When I was still fresh to self-publishing, each of those reviews stung, and I was personally offended by them (so much so that I even replied to a few). Now though I simply shrug my shoulders and say to myself ‘Each to their own, you cannot please everyone’. As tempting as it is, as upset as you may become, do not respond to negative reviews.

Now don’t get me wrong, don’t just ignore the comments of bad reviews, if they’re genuinely critical then take on board what they have to say. For example, I’ve had a 2-star review that outlined things that I could improve upon, and I am genuinely grateful to that person for writing it as they were correct to highlight things that could and were improved in later titles.

Some reviews, however, are just nasty for the sake of it, and it seems some people simply get a kick out of abusing indy authors. My favourite one has to be a 1-star review from a guy or gal who named themselves The Hater. This sad act of a human being trawls through Indy books on Amazon and just 1-stars them all for no good reason.

There’s a great thread on Goodreads about 1-star reviews that you can check out here

Which brings me to the fact that as an Indy writer you WILL encounter plenty of crazy individuals. I guess as writing falls into the same category of the arts this is to be expected. It draws out all manner of eccentric personalities, (hell, just check out some of the writer’s groups on Facebook for proof of that!)

At the end of the day if we want to succeed at this we all need to develop a thick skin (easier said then done). Learn from every piece of genuine criticism and ignore the bullshit (there’s a lot of that out there). We suffer through the bad times and the negativity because we are writers and it’s what we love to do. Never let the bastards grind you down, keep going, and one day you might just succeed. I’m trying to do just that.

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What I’ve learnt about self-publishing – Book Promotion is Changing

Often when indy authors are asked; ‘What is the thing you need the most help with?’ the answer is most often ‘marketing’. And it’s because of this answer that there are now hundreds of different services offering to promote your books.

Since publishing Heir to the Sundered Crown back in 2014 I’ve experimented with a wide variety of these services. Sites such as Booksends, Fussy Librarian etc are basically businesses that have large mailing lists that they send daily deals to their subscribers. An author pays them for a spot on one of their mailing lists (often sent out on a specific day) and these prices can vary from as little as a single Dollar to hundreds of Dollars.

Bookbub

The holy grail of these sites, however, must be Bookbub. With a mailing list of hundreds of thousands from across the world, landing a promotion with this site is incredibly difficult due to the sheer number of authors applying for promotions. This fact alone tells you just how highly regarded Bookbub is to many Indy authors.

Personally, I’ve only ever managed to get a UK Bookbub promotion and that was a good few years ago now, the results of which were by far the best I’ve ever had in comparison to other promoters. Now don’t go thinking Bookbub will propel your book to the top of the sales charts, the book still has to be good enough for people to want to buy it which means having a professional looking book cover and quality writing.

The market is changing

As I mentioned in my previous post I’m part of a small group of authors called Firebound Books. We regularly compare our promotional data and the main thing that we’ve all discovered is that the market is changing. Whereas a few years ago a promotion on the smaller sites would guarantee a decent amount of sales and a boost to the sales rankings. Today, the payoff from the same sites is a lot smaller for paid titles. Even 99p/c sales result in very few sales and often fail to cover the initial cost of the promotions. As I’ve discussed before (read here) it now seems that the only way to guarantee large numbers of downloads is to give your books away for free.

The main cause of this seems to be that the majority of the promotion sites are massively oversubscribed with authors. Some of their mailing lists have gone from advertising just three books per day to ten and if your book is put at the bottom of the list then you’ll likely see a poor return for the investment.

To overcome this decline in returns we must do things differently. The market is now swamped with books and only by improving the quality of indy books can we hope to continue to make a dent in the market. Good book covers and most importantly well-written books are key. Unfortunately, Indy authors are often given a bad name because of the countless poor-quality books produced. We need to up our game if we are to remain competitive in this ever-changing marketplace.

For a list of book promotion sites look here.

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What I’ve learnt about self-publishing – It’s a collaborative effort

Writing is a lonely profession. It’s a fact. Sure you can talk to people for ideas, but when it comes down to it, it’s just you and the thoughts spilling out of your head.

For a long time, I was going solo. I’d used Terran Defenders and my historical fiction novel Unconquered: Blood of Kings as an experiment into the world of self-publishing and had learnt a fair bit about the technical side of how things worked. It was shortly after this that I finally got down to writing the fantasy tale that had been floating about in my head for many years. It took me three years to finish the first draft of Heir to the Sundered Crown, and it was with this book that I put into practice all I had learnt until that point.

I promoted the book via social media and writing groups and thanks to the support of other indy authors its release (to me anyway) was a huge success. At one point it even outsold Game of Thrones in the USA, an amazing achievement for an author that no one had (still hasn’t) heard of. The success was shortlived, however, and the book drifted off down the Amazon charts to hover around the 50k level.

Collaboration

It was after I launched Heir that I was contacted by a Mr Rob May, another fantasy author who’d grown a large fanbase on Wattpad. He had an idea, and it was one that has proven to be a massive help to me. His idea was to bring together a small number of other fantasy authors and together we would assist each other when it came to creative ideas and the more technical side of things.

Tony Garrett joined, quickly followed by Kate Cudahy bringing our merry band to four. We brainstormed some ideas, and Firebound Books was born. The idea behind Firebound was that when it came to publication on Amazon and other channels, we would do so under that name. It gave us a more professional air to the process.

Via regular communication (most through Facebook messenger) we devised strategies for our literary work. Together we discovered which promotional channels (I’ll be writing about that soon) were the most effective, the best ways to create and launch our individual websites and assist each other with story ideas.

Editing and proofreading are vital. It’s something that many indy authors discover at some point either via reviews or just from giving their books another read through. Even books published by the big publishing houses contain the odd error so I can guarantee yours will contain at least a handful. Finding a good reliable editor can be tricky as you have to navigate the many charlatans that prey on indy authors. Collaboration helps massively here too as fellow authors can share their recommendations to you.

It’s not just publishing that we help each other out on. Being an indy author is a tough thing to be and at times can be hugely demoralising. By collaborating we help pick each other up and keep our shared enthusiasm for writing going. Persistence is key, and I’m sure one day that one of us (hopefully all of us) will truly reach the big time.

When we’ve finished drafts of our books, we get the others to read them through, and Rob, in particular, is a great proofreader. He’s also good with helping with cover designs and the more technical side of formatting.

All in all, without the collaborative efforts of my fellow Firebound authors I know that I would most likely have given up as a fiction writer. If you want an easy life and one free of worries then writing is not the profession to pursue. It can be downright scary and unreliable. Finding others to collaborate with, however, can provide invaluable support in the darkest of times.

In the next blog, I’ll discuss the minefield that self-publishing world is and how to avoid falling victim to the scammers and con artists that want to prey on you.

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