Anyone can self-publish, but only those who take responsibility will succeed.
Here are 11 trends that will determine the few who get through the gate and find success:
- In it for the long haul, rather than thinking you’re playing the publishing lottery. Far too many writers want success now. They check sales figures every day. Instead, they need to think about perhaps succeeding in 3 to 5 years, with at least a half dozen titles under their belt.
- Plan for the long haul. Always look at least three years ahead. Have a writing and production schedule laid out that keeps you on task.
- Stay one step of ahead of the trends. Act, don’t react. This means sometimes you must take risks. Some of these attempts will fail, but the ones who succeed will be on the front end of the trends.
- Write good books. This one seems so basic, but too many writers spend so much more time worrying about promotion than worrying about the quality of their craft. I learned more about writing in the last two years than in my first twenty.
- Sweat equity. This ain’t easy. Never has been. I’ve watched the careers of many writers. The majority of writers who are having the most success as indies have a backlist, which is the sweat equity from the time they spent in the trenches in traditional publishing. If you don’t have backlist, your sweat equity begins now.
- Run an efficient business. Most writers just want to write. They don’t want to deal with all the details of running a business, but being an indie author means you are self-employed. I know people who were great doctors or lawyers but went bankrupt because they couldn’t run their own business.
- Networking and team building. “Indie” is an interesting term because in fact, I believe it’s very difficult to succeed on your own. You’re going to need help with the books (editing, covers, formatting, etc.) and you’re going to need help with the promoting.
- Build a platform that has a specific message. At Write It Forward we view our platform as author advocate. We see too many writers whose platform seems to be “buy my book.” People need a reason to read your blog, RT your tweets, and listen to you. The key to successful platform building and branding is the ability to create a community. It is not about selling, but making yourself available to those individuals who will be most likely to buy your books. Always be real and genuine. Build community before you worry about promoting. I’ll be posting about that later at Write It Forward.
- Stay informed. Things are changing fast. Many people are trying a lot of different things. Some will work, some will fail. But staying up to date on everything that’s happening can help you make informed decisions. Some things you can do for this are get on Kindleboards and follow and get involved in the discussions there as well as promote your book in the Book Bazaar forum. Subscribe to Publisher Weekly’s Lunch and Deals for $20 a month. Stay active on Twitter and follow people who are knowledgeable about the business.
- Be assertive but not obnoxious. I’ve grown much more assertive in the past six months. One of the largest mistakes I made coming out of Special Forces and going into traditional publishing was trusting that other people would do their jobs without having to look over their shoulders. This cost me. Now I push others, gently, but consistently, in order to achieve goals. No one cares more about the success of your book than you do. Always remember that. Perseverance and persistence count for a lot.
- In sum. Writers, your fate is in your hands now.
That makes this the most exciting time ever to be a writer. You are your own gatekeeper.
Learn about these keys and other information on how to successfully self-publish in The ShelfLess Book: The Complete Digital Author.