What is an authorpreneur? An indie author who manages the business side of his/her writing career like an entrepreneur. With the recent release of my latest novel, Sweet Tea Tuesdays, I am crazy busy juggling the demands of being an authorpreneur and I’ve never been happier. I’m able to express my creativity through ways other than writing. I built and manage my own website. I’ve incorporated my love of photography into my work. And I design my own graphics for social media posts, bookmarks, and other printed materials. But the writing, itself, is the part that gives me the most satisfaction. Plot ideas and inspiration for characters continue to flow from my mind like a faucet I can’t turn off.
I’ve learned a few things along the way that I wanted to share with you today.
Never Give Up. That’s my biggest piece of advice for you. Although it’s not an original concept, it’s paramount to accomplishing your goals, whatever they may be. There is no obstacle you can’t overcome when you put your mind to it.
Find Your Niche. Because Neal and I were the closest during our college years, it seemed appropriate to write Saving Ben about a brother and sister of similar age. For my next project, however, I felt compelled to write about characters who are experiencing the same things I’m experiencing like middle age, empty nesting, and aging parents. Today’s book market is saturated with protagonists in their late twenties to early forties. But I struck a chord with the fifty-something crowd when I released Her Sister’s Shoes. Time and again, I hear from readers about how they relate to one, if not all, of my characters. Not only should you write what you know, you should also write what you read.
Many Ways to Skin a Cat. What is the ultimate validation for your work? Do you long to see your hardbound novel on the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble, or are you challenged by watching your Kindle book climb the rankings on Amazon. Working in today’s publishing industry is an exciting place to be. Securing a literary agent and having your novel published by a traditional publisher is not the only way to succeed in today’s publishing environment. I don’t have the patience for traditional publishing. Placing my novels into the hands of my readers as quickly as possible is my ultimate goal. Receiving emails from readers expressing their appreciation for my work is my ultimate reward.
Do Your Homework. You can learn everything you need to know on the Internet from online writing classes to free webinars on publishing, marketing, and website design. Not only have I learned an enormous amount about online marking through webinars and blog posts, I’ve also taught myself how to use Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Lightroom. Currently, I’m watching videos on how to improve my landscape photography.
Trust Your Gut. I belonged to an online critique group once with three intelligent women whose opinions I valued. Every critique group and workshop I’ve attended since has failed in comparison. Creative people need to express their opinions. But keep in mind they don’t understand your characters’ motivations and plot lines to the extent you do. Take what they say with a grain of salt. If their suggestions make your work stronger, then by all means adopt them. But don’t let them destroy your confidence by ridiculing your efforts simply because they need to put their stamp on your work.
Indulge Your Creative Brain. Open up the flood gates and let the creativity flow. Write that shitty first draft. You might cut two-thirds of your material when you’re finished, but you’ll have a solid foundation from which to work.
Develop Your Process. Having recently completed my ninth manuscript, I have finally created a system that works for me. I write three drafts. The free-flow first one. The second one when everything comes together. And the third draft when Alex, my automated computer voice, reads it back to me. I set deadlines for myself and work hard to meet them. And I never, ever give up.