I give and receive a lot of advice.
Writing isn’t the lonely self-exiling world people like to pretend it is. Most successful authors have writer friends they can trust, a damn fine editor, and a good publisher. I’m leaving out the agent ingredient, because I’m a indie baby, so that’s not in my mix yet and I’m still building my fan base.
Playing the indie market is different. It’s not a Hollywood writer’s life, it’s not glamorous, and there is a LOT of work involved. Most of us know that it takes good reviews to sell a book. Getting those reviews is the tricky part. Book bloggers and reviewers come in a variety of different variations. Some charge some don’t, some are genre specific and some love all books, but the main thread that links them all together is how busy they are.
If they accept a book, it takes months to receive the review, unless you go for some of the paid sources, and even those take time. What has helped me to balance this out is book trades and the support of other writers.
I love reading. It’s part of the job. If you don’t have time to read, then you’re going to produce shit. Sorry, it’s true. It will read outdated, or lack a certain oomph that reaches broad audiences.
Swapping books with other indie authors is my favorite way to offer a review to someone else who needs it while receiving one in return. To me writing is about sharing and reaching out to others. There is no better way to feel the human connection than by lending someone your mind and letting them know what you think (with respect of course).
Unfortunately there are a lot of pompous assholes out there who are really good at tooting their own horn and shouting, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” But they don’t have the “time” to support other authors in exchange.
I get it. We’re all busy. I have 3 jobs and 2 kids to raise. I don’t watch TV or go to the movies or concerts except maybe a few times a year. Sleep is a luxury.
One of my college professors said it best: If you have time to watch Criminal Minds, you have time to study.
This was a while ago.
How about I update it?
If you have time to watch Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, you got time to spare. haha
Being a professional is about prioritizing. Reading shitty self-published novels has helped me grow as an author. It’s a perfect example of what-not-to-do. And the good stuff helps you to see not only what works, but what’s already been done. How are you going to keep up and look out for cliches if you’re only writing yourself? How are you going to branch out and experience different voices and grow as an artist if you don’t look beyond what you already know?
These are the questions every writer needs to think about. Get real with your damn self. If you don’t have time to read, you have no business writing. I’m not saying you have to finish a novel a week. Put a damn book by the toilet and go through a few pages when you poop.
I get that some people really are bogged down and stressed out. That’s my life. haha That’s also what wine is for, or yoga, or hiking.
If you can’t work in supporting other indie authors, that’s on you. But I swear if I get another message from an indie author asking me to buy their book, who uses the excuse that they don’t have to read mine when I say “sure, if you read mine,” I’m going to have to draft some kind of notice to have on-hand for these conceited buffoons. haha
I love conversing with all kinds of people. I work to respond to nearly every message I get. I’m not going to stop that. My readers are the BEST readers. Everyone else is just okay. haha
Seriously though, you get what you give.
What you put into your work is what you get back and the people you support are the ones who will support you. Don’t expect anything more-and sometimes you’re gonna get less.