Friday, September 21, 2012


   Five Simple Truths for Indie Authors

Those of us who are writing today know that we’re writing in an amazing place and time. Publishing has changed (a lot!) and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of those changes slowing down.

But with all of the fluctuations—all of the tweaking and adjustments and tossing out of the old way of doing business—there are a few things I think are timeless. When my head begins to hurt because I’m not sure what to do next, I think of these things that are like simple truths for indie authors:

Simple Truth #1: When you invest in your book, you invest in yourself.

Hire a professional editor. There is no way a book is going to be the best it can be without one. Readers have become more savvy and discerning than ever before. They’ve learned to download a sample and if that sample is weak, they aren’t going to care about your cover or your title or your trailer or the fact that it’s free.

Speaking of covers (*wink*)… I believe that I sold at least a couple of copies of Red Tide because the cover was intriguing. Unless you are an amazing graphic designer, with all the tools at your disposal, hire someone who will work with you and tweak your cover until it can’t be tweaked anymore.

Simple Truth #2: What one person loves about your book, another person won’t.

I love this. Life would be pretty dull if we all loved the same stuff. Some people aren’t going to be drawn to your book. Period. Get over it. Embrace the diversity.

Simple Truth #3: Manipulation can lead to strangulation.

There’s a fine line between gentle persuasion and cramming your book down someone’s throat. Remember that ‘social networking’ is exactly what it says. It is not your own private billboard. If I follow you on Twitter or friend you on Facebook, that does not give you permission to blast your book in my face. If you push me hard enough, I’ll push back.

Simple Truth #4: Readers are gold.

Readers owe you nothing. When they reach out to you, take the time to respond as graciously as possible. You build your audience one reader at a time.

You owe readers everything. They validate you every time they pick up your book and read it. They affirm that the thing you love doing you do well.

Simple Truth #5: Never stop improving.

Keep learning. Read books on craft, don’t just buy them and stick them on your bookshelf. Go to conferences, take workshops. Talk with other writers. Work to make your next book better than your last one.

And finally, one more (call it a bonus):

Simple Truth #6: Trust the process.

If you write a good book, invest in it, lose your ego and appreciate the people who find your book in that great ocean of books, things will shake out wonderfully in the end.

What about you? Is there another simple truth you’d like to share?

Peg Brantley is the author of Red Tide. In six months, Red Tide has found its way into the hands of more than 30,000 readers. Her second novel, The Missings will be available in October, 2012 wherever books are sold.


Peg Brantley said...

Patty, thanks so much for hosting me on your terrific blog.

You create some fine covers, my friend.

L.J. Sellers said...

It's great list. The only thing I would add is to keep writing. If readers like your work, they'll want another story...and another. Don't get so caught up in marketing and publishing that you forget to write.

Thanks for sharing your insight. And your terrific stories.


Great post, Peg. Trust The Process...I like that one :)

Another to add: understand that persistence and hard work are about the only sure things in this business.
Rome wasn't built in a day--neither are bestsellers, for the most part.


Great post, Peg. Trust The Process...I like that one :)

Another to add: understand that persistence and hard work are about the only sure things in this business.
Rome wasn't built in a day--neither are bestsellers, for the most part.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Love your six truths. As much as we may not like hearing it, not everyone will love our books.

Jodie Renner Editing said...

These are all great tips for writers, Peg, and I'll be sending my writer clients here to read them. Wise words!

As your editor for The Missings, I must say that it's a privilege to work with someone who not only has a great story to tell and tells it masterfully, but approaches the whole process like a hard-working, dedicated professional!

I can't wait to see your career soar as an author of compelling page-turners!

Warren Bull said...

Another truth is, like the cover, the jacket description of the book is what potential buyers who don't know you have to decide if they want to buy the book. Take the time to write a description that gives reader a reason to buy,

Peg Brantley said...

LJ, thanks. I intend to try and find my way back into book #3 that's been sitting for far too long.

Someone I like once told me to trust the process… thanks for that, Drew. And that bit about persistence.

Sometimes I buy a book because of a poor review. While the reviewer didn't appreciate "X", maybe "X" is one of the things I love. Thanks for your comment, Marilyn

Jodie, I loved working with you on The Missings. I never felt like I was all alone in an effort to make it a better story.

Oh, Warren. Writing the jacket description is probably the hardest thing, at least for me. Probably because I know it's so important.