3 Tips for YA Indie Authors

Indie publishing, while it’s come a long way in the past decade with the advent of the internet and associated technologies, is still a challenge. Some challenges come as part of the new arena. You are one voice among billions, trying to be heard above a cacophony of other voices who want to be heard as much as you, and have as much access to do so now. I have a six-year old, and so I’m reminded of Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, of course. So how do you rise above being like the individual Who’s in Whoville about to be dropped into beezlenut oil, and collectively become the ‘YOP!’ heard by the waiting public? In my limited experience here are the three most prominent tips I’ve found helpful so far.

1. Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit. And when you’re done editing, edit some more. And when you’re done editing some more, get someone else, or several someones, some fresh, but experienced eyes, to edit. Unlike the Whos in Whoville, the ‘YOP’ they called out wasn’t going to be judged on timbre, clarity, tone, pitch or the quality of visual effects they could use for background music video. It just had to be heard. One of the biggest barriers to indie authors is not only that there are so many, but that many, out of lack of a formal editor, put out a product that is unpolished. Not necessarily bad, most ideas I see are very good ones. It sometimes just takes a few tries to get the execution right. That’s where publishing houses have an advantage, that needs to be made up somehow. This is more than possible. Join a writers group, hire a freelance editor, hit up your English teacher friend and buy them dinner. But get an editor, someone not as close to the work as you. Your work is your baby, it’s a part of you, which means that you are too close to see flaws by yourself, no matter how awesome you are.

2. Promote yourself. I’m notoriously bad at this. I forget to mention important things like, ‘Oh yeah, did I tell my own mother that my new story just came out in a horror magazine a week ago?’ Nope, I didn’t. She read it on Facebook. It might even have been an automated post. And when I do remember, I’m as blunt as a hammer. ‘Hi, Buy my book! It’s really cool! Buy my book! Hey, guess what? My books are cool, buy my books!’ Even if I could write elaborate stories, be a Mensa supergenius, and have a vocabulary that covers the entire dictionary, (which I’m not, and I don’t), but once I start thinking about self-promotion, I turn into a six-year old tugging on Mom’s sleeve to get her attention while she’s on the phone. But all the same, it’s a critical step in indie publishing, in any publishing. The only difference, is that in traditional publishing, you have formal help. This is where social media is useful. Have a website, use Twitter and Facebook. They broaden word-of-mouth into something potentially global in scope.

3. Join a group, like this fine YA Carnival group. Like the Whos in Whoville, together, we can make a sound heard by far more people than alone. Rather than thinking competitively like other business ventures, authors, like musicians often realize that collaboration creates new projects and ideas and takes each author’s voice higher and to more places than it could have gone otherwise. It is like a swelling symphony rather than the dissonance of competing yells in a bazaar. Without collaboration, the world of indie publishing will go right into the boiling vat of beezlenut oil.

So explore the world of indie authors, and visit my fellow YA Indie writers, and see their tips, and check out some of their work. They’re well worth the read!

http://www.refractedlightreviews.com Danny Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews

http://pattilarsen.blogspot.com Patti Larsen, Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, the Hunted series, and the Hayle Coven novels.
http://courtneycolewrites.wordpress.com Courtney Cole, Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://wrenemerson.wordpress.com Wren Emerson, Author of I Wish and a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com Laura Elliott, Author of Winnemucca.
http://nicoleawilliams.blogspot.com Nichole A. Williams, Author of Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden. She is also participating in the Glassheart Chronicles.
http://fisheramelie.com/blog/ Fisher Amelie, Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://amyjonesyaff.blogspot.com Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://thewarriorseries.blogspot.com T. R. Graves, Author of Warriors of the Cross.
http://ctefft.blogspot.com Cyndi Tefft, Author of Between
http://pjhoover.blogspot.com P.J. Hoover, Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis.
http://www.aliciamccalla.com Alicia McCalla, Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free.
http://heathercashman.com/better_off_read Heather Cashman, Author of Perception.
http://www.abbiglines.com Abbi Glines, Author of Breathe, and the upcoming Existence and Vincent Boys.
http://cidneyswanson.blogspot.com/ Cidney Swanson, Author of Rippler.

5 Responses to “3 Tips for YA Indie Authors”

  1. Edit! YES. Super good tip. All three are great tips. If you don’t promote yourself you won’t make it. Even with a large publishing house backing you. I’ve watched many authors go unknown because they didn’t promote themselves. Awesome post 😀

  2. I’ll never forget your editing words of wisdom before I published Winnemucca. It is a much better book for it. Thank you. Thanks for making sure I didn’t end up in beezlenut oil! 🙂 great post, Rachel!

  3. lol…Beezlenut oil should be avoided at all costs. Loving the Dr. Seuss and real-life descriptions of your 6 year old. I have a 5 year old and so can definitely relate.

    Wonderful advice about editing and getting someone who’s not so close to the work OR you, to look it over. Getting an objective opinion is vital, I think. And promotion. Yes, You can’t just publish your book on Amazon and sit back and wait for the magic to happen. Success in Indie publishing is directly related to the author’s ability to effectively network. Great tips Rachel! 🙂

  4. Great suggestions. I know what you mean about promoting yourself. At first, it was hard for me to mention anything about myself. I worried people would think I was narcissistic. Now, I realize it’s a required function for authors promoting their work.

  5. I can’t agree more about editing. I find that once someone has read the story more than twice, they know too much. I need fresh eyes. Thanks for the advice.

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