Monday, November 4, 2013

Author Emily Hill Offers Ten Great Tips for Indie Writers

For quite a while now I've wanted to inventory what I have learned from the efforts of being an IndieAuthor over the past four years. So I am grateful for Jill’s generosity and hope that my guest blog will save you time and frustration as you journey down your own path as an Indie.

"Ten Things to Know About IndiePub"

One.  Readers want to be able to ‘escape’ on multiple levels into the world you’ve created for them through your fiction.  That means using music scores, book trailers and other audio and visual aids that brings your story to life for them.  [for this purpose I use Pinterest, YouTube, FlipSnack, and scoredwebsites.]

You will see a lot of innovative, energetic authors trying new software, programs, events and
activities to promote their books.  Don’t dismiss ANY of them.  Do what you, as a writer, do best: Be curious.  Get behind the scenes and ask, “How did they do that?” even if their book is on a topic that might not interest you – how they got your attention should!

Two.  Readers will want to be friends with you.  Use social networking-engagement to check in on the welfare and activities of your readers.  Be reciprocal, not egotistical!

Three.  Your REAL personality should match your social networking, and blogging personality; and all messages should come close to matching your genre.  Imagine Marilyn Monroe, with her baby talk voice, being the author of an academic tome on physics.  It wouldn’t work unless Einstein was at her side egging her on.  Stay True To You. Caveat: Unless you’re John Locke (a husband and father) egging women readers on as Donovan Creed. If it’s your character’s personae you can point your finger at . . . have fun!

Four.  Never publish an ebook title that you have not word-for-word edited ON PAPER. Editing solely from a computer screen is begging for trouble. I am publishing a book soon that I printed out and realized that I had pasted Chapter Ten into the eManuscript twice. Yikes!

As excited as you are to get your work out to your readers, proceeding ploddingly slowly and doing it right is better than slapping-up and realizing too late that your work is fraught with mistakes like using ‘the’ where it should read ‘they’.

Five.  Buying advertising does NOT work on ANY level effectively enough to invest more than token pennies on ads, and only if your most ardent backer is offering a ‘deal’.  Personal relationships, and recommendations, equate directly to book sales.  Build your tribe. Caveat: If you MUST, the ‘best’ deal for book release advertising is BookBuzzr, Goodreads, and Facebook. But reciprocal blog tours are the friendliest way to share your book news, in my opinion.

Six.  LIKE your Readers.  Really. Like. Them.  Write in a genre, or on a topic, that interests you enough personally that it is ‘a natural’ to engage via Facebook, Twitter, and through your blog with the people who also like your topic.  One big reason I left Confederate history behind and moved into the supernatural genre is because it was such a better fit for me personally.  I’m proud of my debut [Civil War] novel, but it’s easier to move in and out of the supernatural genre, because it’s a topic that is second nature to me.

Seven.  Be as professional as you can afford to be.  For each of your titles project/pencil out what you believe your first-year royalty income will be, based on your commitment to carve out time for book marketing.  Then, spend 10% of that royalty projection on a) cover design; b) professional editing; and c) ads/book trailers (I use iStock for my photos, videos, and scores). 

For instance: If you think your ebook should earn $6,000 the first year compute thusly e.g. $6000 minus the ‘royalty split’ to distribution vendors Kindle, Nook, Smashwords = $1800 [your NET is $4200]. Therefore, my recommendation is that authors spend $420 on production costs netting, after aggressive marketing, a ‘take’ of $3780 the first year.  Work out YOUR formula and stay loyal to it.  Scrimping on production in these competitive times is going to make the contrast between your DIY eBook and professional authors coming over to IndiePub even more stark.

Eight.  Be a Mentor to emerging IndieAuthors.  It’s karma. 

Nine.  The *-one-star.   Now that you are ‘in the biz’ don’t ever, EVER *-one-star a book.  And don’t ‘go after’ or ‘stalk’ a *-one-star reviewer who duns you.  Once you become an author, you give up the delight of dive-bombing a book with your skanky one-star.  A lot of authors do the ‘genealogy’ on one-stars and are able to discover authors who have hired guns shooting down the competition. I guarantee, word WILL get out.

Ten.  The Orphanage.  Don’t leave any orphans on the ‘sales line’.  I cannot even begin to count the number of books that are Indie Pub’bed and then never marketed.  If you’re not going to put forth a respectable marketing effort for your books, take them down.  If you’re leaving the pub scene, even for a number of months, ‘unpublish’ your eBooks; let them cool off and come back with a new product description, a fresh eBook cover, something that rejuvenates your efforts.

Wishing You Each ‘The Best’ that the literary world has to offer!

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Emily Hill writes in the Supernatural genre and publishes her paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  Visit her website located at:

Emily’s latest eBook:  Voodoo Vision: New Orleans House of Spirits, a 2012 NaNoWriMo winner, is now available on Kindle US  Kindle UK, and Smashwords

Follow her on Twitter @24GhostTales 


  1. I don't think you can carve out an exception for John Locke. Not after his highly publicized fake review dirtbaggery. He's pretty well lost the right to be held up as an example of positive marketing in any form.

  2. Dear Lummoxjr, oh!

    I think I'm gushy over Donovan Creed because I got a flirt eMail from 'him' once. Fake reviews that pump one's self up, or tear other authors down is bad karma that - as you've demonstrated - not only catches up with an author; but follows them.

    Thank you for reading my guest blog, I feel so privileged to have this space on the blog that Jill has worked so hard to build. Peace, Emily •*¨* ♥ ☆

  3. Thanks Emily Hill!
    Number 4: I LOVE this. Great advice from the ancient era of books on paper. A day will come in which we humans will be able to focus more on a digital screen than on a paper sheet, but for now, paper is more bullet-proof.
    Number 10: Absolutely true. If you don't market it, how can you suppose to sell it? I now it's hard, I personally hate the same idea of focus on marketing, but you really cannot avoid it. And some of this can be fun; you could meet some interesting people in this industry

  4. Luca ~ Agreed! After all if I wasn't so marketing-oriented how would I have EVER met you in Jason Matthews' group. Thank you for stopping by Jill's blog to visit me! ;D