Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Renee-Ann Giggie: Learning as an Indie Author

Today's post is by guest author, Renee-Ann Giggie. I first met Renee-Ann at a writing conference. We have remained friends via the internet. Her first novel, Stella's Plea is a quick and engaging read. Renee-Ann decided to enter the world of self-publishing, also known as independent or in the trade as "indie" publishing. For today's blog, I asked Renee-Ann to share her experiences as an indie author.

Meet R.A. Giggie

As a teen, in the mid-seventies, I wrote for fun. Fast forward to 2010. Still writing just for fun, I decided to enter the NaNoWriMo challenge (National Novel Writing Month).
I wasn't a published author, nor was I planning to become one. Little, did I know, where this journey would take me. I fell in love with my characters, and wanted to do something with my story. After working with a professional editor, I ended up self-publishing Stella's Plea (2012). This brings me to my first point:

  • Never do all the editing on your own. As we edit/rewrite several times, we stop seeing the typos, grammatical errors, and sometimes even the discrepancies. If you don’t already belong to a critique group, join one.
  • Ask people to proofread your work. Learn not to take a critique personally. They’re not saying it’s bad, simply that it can be improved.
  • Do your homework before you decide to go traditional or indie. I chose self-publishing for different reasons, totally ignorant of the road ahead of me. It can be rewarding, but extremely demanding and time-consuming.
  • If you choose to take the indie road, you need to know how to market your book, otherwise it will be a long journey.
  • Don’t wait until your book is published. Learn to how market, even if the release is only six months away. Start promoting now.
  • Here’s a book to help you get started, especially if you’re new at this. It might be the best tool you ever invest in. It certainly was for me. How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle ebooks by Cheryl K Tardif. It is available as an eBook on Amazon.

Now let’s talk about Social Media/Networks
Available on Amazon. Click HERE.
  • Facebook and Twitter: Create an author page aside from your personal page, one that promotes/talks about your book, and where other writers can find you easily. Some writers add the word author or writer at the end of their handle to make it easier for others to find them. I used the name of my novel for my Twitter page, though I didn't know it wasn't recommended. It’s easier to find people with their name.
  • G+, Pinterest: People should be able to find you easily in these as well. I don’t spend as much time on these two sites, but try to keep them up to date by sharing writer-friends’ novels on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest. Word of mouth goes a long way and what you do for most, they’ll do for you.
  • LinkedIn: I’m still getting used to this one, keeping it up to date, and conversing with other writers.
  • Author page/Blog: Your blog/website is one of the most important pages you will create, and it can also become the most influential if you use it right. It’s important to keep it current. I try to post once every week. The frequency depends on each writer. Those who work full-time (like me) may not have as much time to post weekly as those who get the luxury of staying home. (I wish!)
  • Read/Follow writing blogs, and leave comments. Not only will you learn a lot from them, but they will most likely do the same for you.
  • I saved the best for last! I can’t stress this one enough. Attend as many writers’ conferences as you can. Depending how close/far you live, and if there are any in your State, this can get costly. The good news is these costs are tax-deductible. I call them writing universities. You can’t put a price tag on education, or the strong bonds of friendship you’ll develop. Two great conferences I highly recommend are:
1.       Write to Publish, usually the first week of June, Wheaton College in IL.
2.    Mount Hermon in Felton, CA, is at the end of March/beginning of April.
There are many others all over the USA. These are an important part of our journey. We need to improve our craft. Because of the ever-changing world of social media, and technology, we need to keep up with the times.
Writing is hard work, editing is harder, promoting is hardest. But once you establish your name, and your readers like your books, they’ll be coming back for more.

P.S. Grab a copy of Stella's Plea on your Kindle reader Wednesday & Thursday (May 14 & May 15 for only $1.99. Buy it now. CLICK HERE to go to the page. Don't forget to leave her a review when you finish. 

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