It’s that time when many people look to the year ahead as an opportunity to reassess their goals. If you’re one of those who has always aspired to become a writer but don’t even know where to begin, then this list by the best-selling self-published writer Mark Dawson is a very good place to start. Mark’s initial venture down the traditional publishing road was a flop. Now he’s part of an entrepreneurial generation of writers who are challenging traditional modelings and using technology to find commercial success online. Here are his top 10 tips for new writers 😛 TAGEND
1. Write in a series
Its easier to marketplace a series. Readers will come back again and again for characters that they adoration. I wrote two standalone novels when I was getting started, and it was more difficult to find traction with those. My John Milton series features a character that readers get to know. Theyre anxious to follow his adventures, and they will often chew their way through the entire series and then email me to find out when they can expect the next.
2. Start a mailing list
Knowing how to reach your customers will be of critical importance. A mailing list is likely to be your most valuable asset. The retailers wont tell you who purchased your volumes. You need to find that out for yourself. The alternative is what I call digital sharecropping. Youre planting your harvest on someone elses land. What if they take that away from you? When I started out, I had a promotion with Amazon and had 50,000 downloads of a book in a weekend. But I didnt have a second book for those working readers to get, and I had no way of contacting them when I did. Even if merely 100 of those readers signed up to my mailing list, that might have been 100 sale of my next book.
3. Use loss leaders
People wont join your mailing list without something valuable in return. Free volumes( or novellas) job very well. And a subscription is merit more to you than a sale. I give away hundreds of two copies of my volumes every week. I see them as gateway medications: if I can get you to indulge, for free, I can get you hooked. And when youre hooked, youll be back again later, but now youll be eager to buy.
4. Answer all of your fan mail
Common sense! These people have taken the time to write to you. They are already devotees. Make them into ambassadors. I probably have around 100 interactions with devotees every day. That might include emails, Facebook comments and tweets. It takes a lot of time to answer, but its worth it. These people have taken the time to write to you. Responding is the least that you can do in return, and its easy to forget how cool it is to get a personal respond from your favourite author.
5. Reach out for help
You can crowdsource expert help to make sure your volumes are accurate. I write about an assassin, yet Ive never burnt a artillery. My first Milton book featured a scene with a safety on a handgun that doesnt have a safety. Readers let me know about it with a string of negative reviews. If they cant trust me with such a trivial detail, why should they trust me with anything else? That doesnt happen anymore. I have several hundred improvement readers who read my early draft. Some of them have served in the military. There are intelligence operatives, pilots, medics, and experts in other fields. They stomp on all of my errors.
6. Don’t skimp on quality
Youre going to be in competition with traditional publishers. Youll necessity a great embrace to vie( because the proverb still rings true ). Fortunately, that doesnt have to be expensive. My cover-up designer was the head of design at a major UK publisher and has worked on volumes for John Le Carr and Stephen King. Id defies a reader to hold up one of my volumes against a Baldacci or a Patterson or a Child and tell which was independently published.
7. You can’t proofread your own stuff
I tried that once. Big blunder. You wont see the lumber for the trees. Its worth saving up for a proof reader. If “youre on” a budget, consider asking someone with a good eye for detail. Although these arent all necessary for every writer, I have a developmental editor, a text editor and a proof reader on my squad. The process is the same as the one that my volumes run through when they are published by traditional imprints. My improvement readers pick up anything that might have slipped through the net with research results that my volumes are very clean when I induce them ready for sale.
8. Combine what you love to write and what world markets likes to read
I dont mean that you should write what you think will sell. I tried to write to the zeitgeist once, and that was the only time I struggled to write. You should try to find the sweet place where your adoration of the book gratifies an audience that is capable of devour it. If you are able to situate that intersection, youll have fun writing and your audience will have fun reading. The ebullience is likely to be obvious and infectious and readers will wing through the pages.
9. Learn from those more experienced than you
Visit forums. Consider courses. Listen to podcasts. The indie community is amazingly friendly and cooperative and no-one pulls the ladder up once they have found success. A great place to start is my site: . We have two courses and a weekly podcast which is something we interview the most difficult indie authors in “the worlds”( including a pair who induce seven figures a year ).
10. Just write
Get into the habit of doing it every day. Find a little time and dedicate yourself to it. If you are able to write 300 words a day( which is nothing ), you are able to write a novel in a year. And the more you write, the better youll be. What are you waiting for?
Mark Dawson is a bestselling writer and the founder of selfpublishingformula.com , where he offer free podcasts and training for those interested in independent publishing. His latest course is Self Publishing 101.
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