INDIE AUTHORS: What Are the Top 10 Tips to Successful Self-Publishing?

Suzanne TyrpakWelcome to our weekly installment on how to create your indie author success! This week I have a guest post from an award-winning author, Suzanne Tyrpak. Her latest book, Vestal Virgin, a historical thriller set in Ancient Rome is available on Amazon and other online retailers.

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I’ve had two agents, won writing awards, had short stories published, but my novels did not sell—for various reasons. I write historical suspense set in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. I’ve been told that’s a “tough sell.” After about ten years of trying to get published traditionally, I’d nearly given up. I’d gone through a divorce, money was tight, and I had very little time to write.

Then my friend, Blake Crouch (a traditionally-published writer gone indie) convinced me to publish electronically. And my world changed. So can yours.

I began my journey as an independently published writer about seven months ago. Am I successful? I think so. Every month my sales increase and, in a shorter time than I’ve imagined possible, I’ve sold thousands of books. In two years time, or less, I believe my main source of income will be generated from selling my novels.

If you’re interested in self-publishing, here are my suggestions:

1. Write the best book you possibly can. Don’t be in a rush. Make sure your book is well edited—not just for typos, but character development, story arc, timelines, details, details, details. Put it aside for at least a month, and then reread it, before publishing.

2. Get a great cover. Not a cover you managed to put together—unless you’re an artist. Hire a professional. People will often work with you on cost, especially when you’re starting.

3. Make sure your book is correctly formatted. Hire someone to format it, if need be. If you spot problems after publishing—fix them and reload the book.

Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak4. Once you’ve published your book, you need to promote it. If you have advertising money, great—but create a plan. Target your readers. Be consistent. Marketing is cumulative. The best marketing is often social networking. Create a website or a blog, a professional Facebook page, an author page at Amazon, Goodreads—there are lots of entities. Be selective. Pick four and really use them.

5. Participate in forums. Become part of the community. Don’t use forums for the sole purpose of pushing your book, add to the conversation. Kindleboards, Nook, Amazon, Mobile Reads—and there are many others. Choose a few and become a regular.

6. Pricing can have a great impact on sales. If possible, price at least one of your books low so people can sample your writing without making much of an investment. Don’t be afraid to give books away.

7. Contact reviewers and bloggers. I try to contact someone every day. This takes time, but it pays off—and you’ll make a lot of friends.

8. Write another book. As soon as I published my second book, sales on my first accelerated. The more QUALITY books you have, the more sales you’ll generate.

9. Interact with other writers face-to-face. Join a local writers’ group, and continue to hone your craft. Take classes. Join associations. Go to writers’ conferences. Get to know people at your local library and bookstores. Write articles for local papers. Put yourself out in the world as a writer.

10. Keep going. Don’t give up. Persevere and your efforts will pay off.

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Suzanne Typrak had a wild youth, growing up in New York, working as an actor and go-go dancer. After working with film producers and developing ideas for cable TV, she fell in love and moved to Colorado. Her short stories and writing has won awards and accolades. More on Suzanne at her blog: “Who’s Imagining All This?”

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6 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    All great tips, Suzanne!

  2. Sibel Hodge says:

    Excellent advice, Suzanne! Completely agree 🙂

  3. L.C. Evans says:

    Thanks for the useful tips. I especially like number ten.

  4. Deanna Jewel says:

    Suzanne, congrats on self-publishing! I decided to go that route also when I got burned by an online publisher. Don’t get me wrong, I know they aren’t all bad. I should have done my homework a little better in choosing one. Since I’ve gone out on my own, I’m not disappointed. I’m now doing my own covers, marketing, websites, promo items, and uploading. The sales are slow but I’m gaining a reader following and just need to get more books out there.

    Good luck in the getting more of YOUR books out there. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mike Cyra says:

    Suzanne,
    Every bit of information helps, thank you. I just published my ebook “Emergency Laughter” two weeks ago and am working hard on the marketing aspect. I was a medic and have no experience with marketing. Appreciate all the tips I can get!
    Thanks,
    Mike Cyra

  6. Beth Barany says:

    Mike,
    Thanks for stopping by! Suzanne’s post is so helpful! Good luck on your book. Check out more resources for Indie Authors here:

    * Resources on the web for Indie Authors: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2011/01/17/10-resources-for-indie-novelists/;
    * On formatting: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2011/02/07/indie-author-resources-how-to-get-your-book-on-the-nook-and-the-kindle-and-smashwords/
    * Success Tips: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2011/03/07/the-10-steps-to-becoming-a-successful-indie-author/

    Let us know if you need more support! Together, we are strong!

    Beth Barany

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