by Will Viharo
Although there is no definite course of action you can take to guarantee success as an independent author, there are some basic lessons you can teach yourself that will at least give you an educated advantage in a competitive marketplace, just like most careers.
There’s no better time than now to complete your self-taught studies and graduate from being merely an amateur observer of the process to a bona fide published professional.
In order to complete your course in self-publishing and “graduate” with honors, naturally you’ll have to do your homework. As with any endeavor that involves self-motivation, a certain amount of discipline is required, which can be hard, especially since you’re probably working at home, surrounded by distractions. The trade-off is both creative and financial freedom. You’re your own boss, and your own professor.
But that doesn’t mean you can play hooky from your own dreams.
From actually writing and editing your own work to publishing it in a professional format to marketing it on a global platform, the DIY digital revolution makes a literary business “scholarship” more attainable than ever.
Here is a “lesson plan” that will put you ahead of the (world) class, with a superior grade point average:
Sit down and start writing. It can be anything. A single word, whatever comes to mind. Nothing is more daunting than a blank computer screen with a blinking cursor. Once you start – somewhere, anywhere - it will eventually start flowing.
Set a deadline. This may sound equally intimidating, but the worst thing to waste, besides your talent, is time itself. Nothing helps bust through writer’s block more effectively than self-determination.
Research your market. No matter what you’re writing, fiction or non-fiction, you will need to seek out and connect with a target audience. Find out what else is selling in your genre or field of interest, and how best to reach those same readers.
Pick a publisher. Go online and discover for yourself which self-publishing option is best for your needs. Kindle is definitely the easiest, and the quickest, with the most publicly accessible platform, but it depends on your agenda, both artistically and commercially.
Promote like it’s a full time job. The more effort you put into spreading news (and hopefully reviews) of your work across multiple social media networks, the better your chances of scoring success.
As with any profession, there are variable factors that can hinder or accelerate your progress, and it’s impossible to plan for all contingencies. But unlike many other careers, you can carve your own unique niche without waiting for an “opening” in your chosen field.
But you’ll feel so much better equipped if you have a “diploma,” even – or especially - if you wrote, designed and printed it out all by yourself. Confidence is key to success in any endeavor. That’s just an academic fact!
What lessons have you learned from your own self-education as an author?
PHOTO: STATE FARM