Evolution of an Indie: Software, Seriously

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #7 for 2012:

The days of the typewriter are dead. Dead dead. Long dead. If you are a writer, so should the days of Microsoft Word’s dominance be dead. Software is serious. So seriously, why are so many people still using the lardaciously cumbersome Word to create graceful narratives?

Software is serious. Ditch Word, seriously.

Can I paint a masterpiece with an old, crusty 4″ brush that’s been resting in turpentine for a few years, maybe. But wouldn’t it be better to start with the proper tools from the beginning? Sure, I think Microsoft is evil, just like all gifted artist do (don’t we?). My moral beliefs aside, Word wasn’t designed for writing and publishing novels, scripts, or long narrative works of any sort.

There are a growing number of word processors that are designed to do just that. Click here for a good article for learning about some of them. But before you do that, I’ll lay down the gritty, time-saving truth for you. [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Stick Together

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #6 for 2012:

Seek lasting partnerships whenever possible.

Independent is a misnomer. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Indies are the the most codependent, sniveling lot. We’re worse than realtors (ouch! I didn’t!) The vastness of the Indie profession (from creation to publication to sales) ensures the need of complimentary individuals.

On top of the complexity of placing an final product (novel or illustrated ebook of boils or what have you) in the hands of readers, indies must be salespeople. In today’s digital world that means an electronic networker. (One of the reasons so many of us start pathetic blogs…) [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Pofreshinal Editing

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #5 for 2012:

Editing can mean a dozen different things.

Indie artists go independent for a myriad of reasons. One reason to go indie is an obstinate sort of contempt for convention. Not all indies are this way, but many are. (Don’t look around the room. I’m looking at you.)

A little Dennis Hopper style anti-establishmentarianism can be a good thing. But not if it means we smoke so much of our own genius we end up writing a book about vintage hair clippings we’ve collected from barber shop floors, or we publish a novel containing nothing but hand gestures. [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Equipped Inspiration

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #4 for 2012:

Be an inspired artist. But study what people are reading.

Okay. Straight up, this is a big, fat compromise. Live with it. If your goal as an Indie is to make money, penny-roll money, the shiny stuff, then you simply have to be a student of the market. What does this mean?

Being a student of what people are reading means more than reading a lot. It means more than browsing bookstores aimlessly while drinking a latte (although this can help). My favorite way to study the market includes a few blogs I follow combined with scouring the top 100 lists on the Amazon/Kindle store. [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Competitoring

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #3 for 2012:

You are not competing with other indies. You are competing with the big six.

Here is another mantra for you as you work. Repeat it, live it, remember it. Launching an indie career in the current Wild West of publishing is a double-edged sword.

The pluses include speed and flexibility of product to market. The distance and intermediaries between reader and writer are greatly reduced. So, as an indie novelist I can not only squirt out a new baby every four months (from outline to Kindle), but I can also incorporate reader feedback and adapt on the fly (sometimes as quickly as 24 hours). [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Assume You Suck

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #2 for 2012:

In the beginning, assume you can’t do anything well.

A depressing bit of realism, I know. But I’m going somewhere with this. Indie publishing requires skills not just in writing, but in art, formatting, design, marketing, sales and social media. The fact might be that you are pretty dang good at most everything you do. If you are expressing indie art, then it’s a garunteed certainty you think you are. And that is exactly the problem.

Artists are renown for lofty passions detached from a cruel reality. We think everything we do is art, while everything else is cunning drivel at best. Unfortunately, we are wrong, most of the time. (Or at least this is often true in the beginning.) [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Write Novels, Sell Units

Evolution of an IndieEntering my third year as an Indie, it is my responsibility to impart sage wisdom to the world. (Don’t blink, or you might miss it.) See the series introduction post for more on my saga. But for now, lesson #1 for 2012:

Write Novels, Sell Units

You are running a small business. Have a business plan and execute it. I always start with this one. If you want to make money as a writer (*see disclaimer at bottom), you cannot shirk this truth! To an extent your art must become “units” and “product.”

Now, I’m a liberal arts major, like the majority of you flaky writerly types. I don’t have much of a clue on how to create a business plan, other than it involves some sort of plan for doing business. But I do know any legitimate business plan involves “crunching numbers.” So let’s start crunching. [Read more...]