So, I’ve got a blog, a twitter handle, a fist full of unpublished work, and a vague idea of where to begin my adventure in the world of e-publishing. Where do I start?
Well, the first thing I thought I needed to do is figure out exactly what I wanted to get out of this. When I started writing, way back in junior high school, I had grand visions of becoming a world class author, selling millions of books and gathering a rabid fan base. I was going to be rich and famous.
Any writer who’s reading this will know just how unrealistic that vision was. It’s not that you can’t make a comfortable living as a writer, it’s that not many people do–and if that’s the end game, you’re probably not writing for the right reason. As I matured, I realized that fame and fortune wasn’t something I wanted at all; hell, I’d be happy if a few people bought my work and I was able to glean a second income from it. But then life happened, and the whole idea fell to the back burner.
Now, as I mentioned in the previous post, the landscape has changed, and it’s a whole lot easier to get your work out there. There are dozens of success stories around the internet about people who just wanted to write–and discovered whole fan bases waiting for them.
This seems like a good place to start. Just write. To what end? I don’t want to be rich, I’m not dying to get on the New York Times Best Seller’s list. I won’t turn that down, of course, but that’s not why I’m here. I just want to write, and to share my ideas and stories with people. Writing is cool. It’s creative. It’s fun.
The first thing to do is test the waters. I’m in the midst of compiling a couple of projects which I intend to offer online through the Kobo Store, and from there, the Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks Stores. I think it’s important to jump in with both feet and start to build an audience–which will be helped with Twitter and the blog as well. I’m editing these small projects–a poetry chapbook and some children’s stories–and am working on a novella, each of which will either be offered for free, or for $0.95. And we’ll go from there.
Down the line, I have a collection of short stories in the works, and am going to re-tackle the giant novel/series/epic I’ve been wanting to write for many years. It’s had several failed attempts and many unfinished drafts, but with a goal in sight–i.e. publishing as an ebook–hopefully I’ll be able to actually complete it.
The second task item is gathering a system of resources. I’m starting to network with other indie writers, reaching out for advice to learn from those who have tread this path before me. Here’s a blog that I’ve already found tremendously useful. Lindsay Buroker started the e-publishing process around 18 months ago, and has been quite successful. You can find her first novel–Emperor’s Edge–on the Kobo store, where she’s put it up for free. I’ll talk more about Lindsay in an upcoming post.
Another blogger recently posted about why a writer should or shouldn’t blog. It’s an interesting discussion: should a writer blog for their target audience (readers), for other writers in order to network, or both? The link discusses it much better than I can summarize it, but it’s something interesting for me to think about as I set off on this venture.
Another fantastic resource I’ve found out about is Scrivener. It’s a word processor aimed at helping writers–fiction and non-fiction–organize their manuscripts. I’ve only been using it for a couple days with the free trial they offer on their website, but I’m impressed. It’s a robust program that does more than just collect your thoughts, and I could see how it would prove invaluable.
So that’s where I’m at. Now the real work begins.
Edit: A friend of mine just pointed out another useful tool: 750 Words.com. It’s important for a writer to write daily, and this site will not only give you an excuse to do so in a stream of consciousness style, it tracks how many words you write each session and saves it for you, all while keeping it private. I just took a half hour to try it out, and ended up bashing out the beginning of a new story that’s been tickling my brain for the past week or so. Off to a running start!