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What’s the Biggest Threat to Indie Authors?

photo by Mrs. Gemstone

If your indie author career had a color-coded threat level chart, do you know what (or who?) would be at the very top tier in flaming red with blinking neon lights?

YOU.

Yeah, that’s right.

The biggest threat to your indie author career is YOU, the indie author.

Why?

Because you’re human.

You were built with flaws and weaknesses. Yes, it’s what makes you who you are and it’s why your friends and family love you. But it’s also a huge danger to your success in self-publishing.

That’s why you have to take care of yourself if you plan to make a career out of self-publishing.

The best advice I’ve ever received…Continue Reading

Would You Pay for Positive Reviews? [Discussion]

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that getting attention as an indie author is incresingly difficult. The number of self-published books grows every year and, with it, your chances of hitting John Locke-type success shrink.

Any author knows that favorable reviews are extremely effective in making your book stand out. Heck, we’ve written about it in the past.

But, to what length would you go in hopes of securing those 5-star reviews? 

Many authors (including the aforementioned Mr. Locke) have gone so far as to pay for positive reviews, and it happens to be a growing trend.

This topic is begging for a lively discussion, so check out “The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy” and jump in!  We want to know:

  • How are your purchasing decisions influenced by reviews? Does this information make you doubt those 5-star reviews?
  • Would you ever consider paying for reviews? Have you offered a perk or gift in exchange for one in the past?
  • Is the current system of reviewing books too easy to manipulate? How would you change it?
  • Regardless of those working to game the system, will the real 5-star books still rise to the top?

We can’t wait to hear your responses! To join the discussion, please leave a comment below addressing any (or all) of the above questions. Also, mention the discussion to your indie author friends — we’d love to hear from everyone!

Self-Publishing Stigma: Let’s End It!

My fellow indies, we have a problem.

Before I climb atop my trusty soap box to expound on my feelings about this problem, I need to make something really clear.

Like other indies, I’m not a fan of self-published authors who walk around with a chip on their shoulders, constantly bemoaning the “gatekeepers” and other fictitious publishing trolls who exist solely to crush authors’ dreams for sport.

Okay, I lied, Sharktopus is TOTALLY real and you should NEVER go in the ocean EVER.

Those characters don’t exist in real life, and using them as an excuse to not push on with our careers is as pointless as citing Sharktopus as a reason for not going into the ocean.

But real people do exist who are still clinging (foolishly and ignorantly) to the stereotypes and stigmas of self-publishing. As such, they are missing out on some great authors and novels, which in turn does a disservice to their clients and readers.

It’s about time they stopped.

Recently, while researching my marketing plans for the fall, I discovered a Southern Fiction review magazine seeking up-and-coming authors and books to review for their publication. Scanning over the submission requirements I was ticking them off one by one, growing more excited at the possibility of submitting my book for review, when I reached the final line on the page:

While we applaud the efforts of all writers, we do not consider self-published works for review.

Seriously?Continue Reading

How Do You Get Your Game Face On? [Discussion]

Over the weekend, I took shelter from the muggy Florida heat inside my local movie theater for a matinee showing of Snow White and the Huntsman. In the interest of full disclosure, I was mostly drawn to the film by Chris Hemsworth (you can never get too much of the Hemsworth brothers…never) but it turned out to be an all-around decent flick.

photo by mseckington

At a critical point in the movie (slight spoiler alert here) Snow White, who had previously confessed to her fears of not being able to lead men as a monarch, gave an inspired speech to rally the villagers against the Evil Queen.

It got me thinking about our post from last week about overcoming writing doubts and how we all have to motivate ourselves sometimes to rally past our enemies (both the internal and external varieties).

So I want to know — how do you motivate yourself? Whether you’re faced with your own insecurities or disappointments form the outside world, when you get down how do you get yourself back up?

Join the discussion by sharing with us your thoughts on any of the following:

  • How do you stay motivated to finish your writing projects?
  • If you’ve received rejection letters from agents, how have you overcome the disappointment?
  • What keeps you going when your marketing plans don’t pan out the way you wanted?
  • Is there someone specific you can turn to for motivation?
  • What advice you would you have for someone who’s just decided to become an author, in terms of how to stay motivated?

We always love to hear from you guys and we could all benefit from advice and suggestions for how to stay positive and rally our spirits in the face of our writing villains.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Chris Hemsworth has motivated me to go drool over watch more of his movies…

How Do You Choose Your Setting? [Discussion]

BoGaHo during its final summer, 2003.

Once upon a time, there was a house called BoGaHo.

Built by the calloused hands of Pop, my great-grandfather, the rustic home was the backdrop of summer memories for three generations of my family. My mother grew up there, swimming in the muddy waters of the lake with her cousins, and years later I did the same. It was, beyond the shadow of any doubt, my favorite place on Earth. If Heaven is whatever you want it to be, my eternity will be spent at that little cottage on the lake.

Unfortunately, Heaven and my imagination are the only places where I am able visit BoGaHo again. The house fell into a state of disrepair my senior year of high school and was sold to a new owner who promptly bull dozed it to build a new, fancypants lake house that will never match the beauty that was BoGaHo.

I’ve struggled to come to terms with the loss of such a special place, and in doing so I have decided that someday I will immortalize it in a book. As a writer, that’s the best way I can pay tribute to that house and all the memories it held.

Though I’ve played around with a number of different ideas, I’ve yet to settle on the right plot line to match my perfect setting. It’s an unusual situation to have a setting but not a plot, even though both are equally important to creating a great piece of writing.

So how do you come up with the setting (or settings, as the case may be) of your novels? I’m really curious to know how my fellow authors handle place settings and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Here are a few things I’d like to know:

- Do you ever come up with a setting before developing a plot like I did?

- Have you ever written a story that takes place in a real city or country that you’ve never been to?

- For all the fantasy and sci-fi writers, how do you go about creating entire worlds for your novels?

- Does nostalgia ever play a roll in the development of your scenes?

- Are there times when a setting actually becomes part of the plot itself?