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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Is it a Good Idea to Call Yourself Indie?

Something struck me last week when I was in one of my writing groups. Most writers there call themselves indie when they talk about their books. And although they all write not all of them produce professionally published work.

There is still a lot of stigma attached to independent authors. Outside the writing world people think you only have the right to call yourself an author if you're backed by Penguin or Random House. People think that only those authors can produce such professional quality works.

But this is not true. Indies who are serious about treating writing as a business will be professional. They will take the time to make sure they produce quality books and they will spend the money to ensure a polished result. Their main goal will be to get their book into the hands of a reader who'll think this book is such a high standard they'll have a difficult time in telling it apart from a traditionally published book.

Unfortunately though not all self-published writers are like this. Many can't afford professional editing and cover design. Many still think they'll earn their fortune just by rushing their book and releasing what some would still consider a first draft. And unfortunately it's those kind of people who give the rest of us a bad name.

Trad-pubbed authors will already have a team of people behind them to ensure their book will reach a certain high standard. They will write their book and won't have to worry about finding money to pay their copy-editor as this is already included in the package.

So if you're an indie who takes writing seriously, why go to the bother of declaring yourself as self-published? If you're a writer then your goal will be the same as any other author. And that goal is to publish books.

Readers will look for a book they want to read. If it catches their eye then they will buy it. Readers won't care if you're backed by Penguin or not. If they want to read your book they'll read it. Whether you're an indie or not is not the point.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Success of Failure

Recently I've seen a lot of blog posts about 'failing' as a writer, but to me the only way you can fail is if you give up.

When they first start out failure is in the minds of most writers. They fear they will fail to finish their first book, fail to promote it and fail to sell a single copy. There is such a lot of negativity around this art.

But now I'm going to put a spin of failure. I'm going to turn it round into something positive.

My question is: Have you failed enough to succeed?

No matter where you go or which profession you choose, you're always going to fail at something. It's what we do. After all we're only human - we're not robots.

Imagine you're taking your driving test without taking the lessons first. You're sat behind the wheel of your car absolutely blind with panic. How can you possibly pass this test?

The fact is no one expects you succeed if you haven't had any practise.This is why people go to university to study for their chosen career.

But writing is different. You can have a degree in creative writing or a BA in English but if you want to write you're still going to have to write your first novel.

And that takes practise. If something doesn't work try to reach the desired conclusion from a different angle.

It's very, very rare for any writer to create their first book and have it go viral. Successful writers write books for years without much thanks and then suddenly they find people are buying them.

So, how many times are you going to try? You never know next time could be the time you succeed.