Welcome back to Day 3 of the Indie Panel. I’m really excited about today because it’s more nitty-gritty. More personal writing and business stuff.
But, if you’ve missed the first few days you might want to catch up first:
Meet the Panel
DAY 1: Why they did it AND Who should consider it
DAY 2: Editors (who, what why) AND Finding your vendors
DAY 3: Processes & Timelines
DAY 4: Promotion
DAY 5: Resources
DAY 6: Things I’d do differently & Myths and Advice
What are your favorite resources…workshops, nonfiction books, conferences, etc.
I’ve not been to any conferences (yet!) or attended any workshops (yet!). In terms of nonfiction books… I think the answer varies. Ask trusted writing friends to read a few pages of your work and offer constructive feedback. Is your pacing off? Do you liberally use adverbs? Is your POV inconsistent? Is your dialogue stilted and dull? Identify the top 1-2 most consistent points of emphasis from those critiques as your biggest areas for focus, and search your favorite online retailer for those terms. I’ve found that the books with the most and highest reviews in this realm tend to be the best, so if you find a highly rated book on POV and that’s one of your weaknesses, you’ll get a great deal of value from reading that title.
As much as I’ve struggled (fairly publicly) with RWA and how YA is/isn’t fitting into their new model, I would still say that joining as soon as I decided to write was the best thing I did for my writing career. I learned a lot about taking my stories and writing and making them more …. well, more.
Other resources? That’s hard. I’ve been a member of several forums and all of them have shaped and taught me. I’ve also met some of my closest friends this way. But the sad thing about a forum is that they have a shelf-life. There always seems to come a point where the noise outweighs the information. Be careful where you jump into things.
Everyone else has listed a bunch of books, but I’d like to add this: READ. Read everything you can in your genre. Read the big names. Read the surprise hits. Read the things that can’t seem to get out of the gate. Read them and see what they do right and what they could have done differently.
Critique. No, don’t get critiqued. Critique others. Yes, we all want to get input from people on our on stuff to see where we can make it better, but some of the biggest learnings I’ve had have been when I was trying to explain to someone else why something wasn’t working in their ms. And you can darn well be sure I went back and looked at that in my own as soon as I was done!
The INTERNET! Google is my best friend. Blog posts, twitter feeds, FB statuses…real life experiences from people who are going through it, have yet to go through it, and have been there, done that. (This is probably why I have so many connections to editors and cover artists 😉 )
Nonfiction books. I love research. I could waste (er, spend) hours researching! 90% of what I research doesn’t make it into my books, but I find it’s helpful when writing if I know what I’m talking about.
Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer is the book that really taught me how to craft a scene and pace a book. Debra Dixon’s GMC book and workshop taught me how to wield motivation, and Michael Hague’s workshop has pushed me to deepen my internal conflicts. But really, my best resources are my critique partners and my agent, who ask hard questions and constantly push me to be a better writer. I think building relationships with brilliant authors in and outside my genre was the best thing I did to improve my craft.
I’ve found that the best resource is other writers. Connecting with other indie writers through facebook, twitter, and online forums helps you keep up with the changes in the business. There are some excellent blogs for writers interested in self-publishing. I would start with Edward Robertson and David Gaughran. Books that I’ve found helpful include 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron; Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny Truant; Let’s get Digital and Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran; and On Writing by Stephen King.
I’ve taken quite a few craft classes from Dean Wesley Smith, and I highly recommend them. Dean’s knowledge of craft is impressive, and he’s written something like a hundred plus novels. I also tend to read books on craft when I can, but it probably only boils down to one per quarter lately. The classes and writing a lot with specific goals to focus on certain areas of my work help keep me in a mindset of constant improvement.
A book that changed my writing life was “Screenwriting Tricks For Authors” by Alexandra Sokoloff. Up until I read that book and heard Alex speak at a few workshops, I was lost with plotting. Her index card ideas and breakdown of the different acts when compared with movies really made things click for me. I also loved James Frey’s “How to Write a Damn Good Novel” series. “Save The Cat” has been a great help with plotting as well. When I was first starting out, I went to every craft and writing workshop I could get to, including the craft track of workshops at the RWA national conference. Hearing other writers talk about their own process turned out to be the best way to figure out my own.
My favorite books on writing are Techniques of the Selling Writer and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. I think those should be required reading for all authors. As for conferences, I’m partial to UtopYA Con and OryCon.
Do you specifically look for self-published books to read for leisure? Do you have a favorite (or a few favorites) indie writers?
Indirectly, yes. I find most new authors I’ll check out through writer forums, or through recommendations from writing friends. That results in most new reads being self-published. I don’t actively avoid traditionally published books, though.
Honestly, just reading books by writing friends would take years. Most of my favorite writers are on this panel, but – shhhh! – don’t tell them!
I don’t look specifically for indies. There’s so much out there that typically I seem to read about 1/2 and 1/2. I look for a good book. Yes, I’ll judge a cover. I’m a reader. If the cover turns me off I’ll go right past it. This isn’t even a conscious thing. We all do it. I read what I enjoy. I read authors I enjoy. I try to separate reading from writing because I LOVE to read and I always want to be a reader.
I’ve read something by everyone on this panel and I can tell you they’re all extremely talented. I love the mix of something for everyone going on here.
As a reader and a writer, I’m hoping to see more good YA (true YA) out there in the indie world. I feel like we’re growing, but slowly. 🙂
I honestly don’t even look at the publisher anymore. It could be self published or by a big 6 and I wouldn’t know unless it’s splattered across the title page. I think whether traditional or self published, we’re all just authors with a story we want to share with the world. And it’s awesome no matter how we decide to achieve it.
I don’t get to read for pleasure as much as I like, but I do like reading other indie authors to see what theyr’e doing. The fun part about indie books is that there are no “rules.” No publisher pushing a book one way or another. Authors can straddle genres, can have fun, can write what they want. And when an author loves what he/she is writing, it really shows.
I’m a huge fan of Bria Quinlan! (And I’m not just saying that because you won the feud.) (BRIA: I totally won the feud. That is all… oh and, awwww thanks! You know how much I love your books!) I loved Wreckless with all my heart. I also love books by Elisabeth Naughton – both her indie and trad pubbed books.
Sadly, between critiquing and writing, I don’t have nearly enough reading time. There are so many self-pubbed authors (several of whom are on this panel) I can’t wait to read. As soon as I’m done reading my RITA books, I intend to go on a reading binge.
I read a lot of self-published books. From a book-lover standpoint, self-published books are great because they tend to be cheaper, they’re published faster, and they often fill niches that trade publishing ignores. I’ve particularly enjoyed reading Dee Ernst, Marie Hall, Mimi Strong, Deanna Chase, Savannah Page, and Suzanna Medeiros. Plus lots of the authors in this panel!
I don’t tend to discriminate, and my reading time is very limited lately. In fact, I think the most recent book I finished other than one of my own was Bria Quinlan’s Secret Girlfriend. (It was really good, in case you were wondering.) (BRIA: I swear I’m not changing their answers. And another awwww…. Also, Robert lets me know which of his books are Bria-Safe. I’m slowly working my way thru Girl in the Box bc I don’t want to finish before the last one’s out!)
I don’t have anywhere near as much time to read as I wish I did, but when I read, I usually pick up a self-published book. I read everything from romance to horror. Karen Amanda Hooper’s Kindrily series is one of my favorites. I also love Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga.
I do! In fact, I read indie authors almost exclusively. I’m a bargain book hunter so I never buy trad books unless they’re on sale, whereas most indies have very reasonable prices year ’round. Some of my favorite authors to read include Dannika Dark, Marie Hall, Deanna Chase, Danielle Monsch, Kate Danley, Helen Harper, and Shea Macleod. Obviously, I’m all about urban fantasy and paranormal romance. 🙂
Want to check one of the authors out? Just click on their name. 🙂
Make sure to come back Friday – it’s the last day of the panel and you don’t want to miss it!