Platform Building, I Bid Thee Farewell

bowing manIf writing fiction is like playing the lottery, then as far as I can tell there are three ways to increase your chances of a payoff.

  1. Sleep with the lottery commisioner
  2. Mooch winnings from previous winners
  3. Or buy more tickets

Nowhere in this equation is there room for what so many writerly pontiffs have called platform building. What? Am I supposed to continue to believe that adding facebook friends and fans will somehow improve the odds one of my tickets will transform magically into a winner? I’m sorry, I just can’t do it anymore.

Recently I’ve landed on the truth. You know what platform building really is? [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: No Silver Bullet

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 #11 for 2012 (the final installment!):

Don’t expect anyone else to sell your product for you.

Whether you are big six, small press or totally indie, no one will sell your stuff for you. If you want to be a writer in today’s world, sales and marketing are part of the package. (The only exception is if you can afford to pay an agency or individual to do this for you!) [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Sell Everything

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 #10 for 2012:

Publish and sell everything you write.

This is one I’m still trying to figure out. But it connects with the last lesson on being professional. Everything you write should be written at a professional level. If it is written at a professional level, monetize it. If you can’t monetize it, you might be wasting your time and or talent. (It’s hard to believe I’m even typing this! I suppose I need to explain myself a bit further.

I firmly believe that a sale for $0.00 is still a sale.

Sometimes it is neccessary to sell your work for zero profit in order to increase profitable sales. So in my mind, sales and profit are two separate things. [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Be Professional

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 #9 for 2012:

Put professional effort into everything you do, or don’t do it.

Being professional is about doing whatever it is you do for others rather than yourself. A writer can write for him or herself. A professional writer must (to an extent) write for the reader. That is what it means to be professional. I can build myself a house and therefore be a builder. But if I build you a house, I damn well better be a professional. (Unless you’re okay with things like load-bearing posters and remembering to walk around certain spots in the floor.)

No matter how small the job, a builder’s career can be on the hook if he/she slops the hogs instead of feeding the chicks. Indie writers should live by the same rule. [Read more...]

Evolution of an Indie: Delay Success

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 #8 for 2012:

Plan on having no success until one year after the release of your third novel.

As always it is critical to know thyself. If you are more of an entrepreneur than a writer, you may be able to shake your money maker and find commercial success with one or two novels. I’ve seen a few people do it.

On the other hand, if you are like me (an incompetent boob living in a fantasy bubble high off his own fart gas) it will take you even longer. (I’m not even going to go into doomsday scenarios due to the Department of Justice decision in regards to agency.)

If you are primarily a writer focus first on creating more and better content.

But, you will have to make up for marketing and sales deficiencies via adjustments to your writing. [Read more...]

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...]