More than two months ago we created a checklist for new and budding indie authors and their platforms. If you missed that blog, or have joined us since then, click here to go check it out.
Today, we are adding a new checklist to our indie repertoire: five things that every indie author should have. Unlike some of the items from part one, these new additions are a lot more tangible.
Your Author Tools
While it is true that you do not need specific tools to be successful, the implementation of a few will definitely help. These can include writing software, organizational software, calendars, social media tools, and everything in between.
As for myself, I use Scrivener for writing and Aeon Timeline 2 for organizing my world. Google Docs backs everything up for me, and Google Calendars keeps me on track. I use Crowdfire to manage my Twitter and increase engagement, and have been looking at other tools to manage multiple social media accounts. I even use an app, LifeRPG, to motivate myself to keep going.
Just remember that these are tools, not magic wands; you still need to put the work in, and the skill required is all on you. Hopefully these just make it a little easier.
Your Top Three Social Networks
Social networks will be one of your most powerful tools as an indie author. But there are a lot of social networks out there, more than you could ever make effective use of. It would be advantageous to take two or three of those accounts and use them to their utmost potential.
Twitter is good for networking, while Facebook is great for interacting with fans. Google+ is unparalleled in its search engine optimization and niche communities, while Instagram is the best if you make use of pictures and visuals.
Figure out what you excel at, or what will work best for your journey, and make best use of it.
Beta Readers and/or a Critique Partner
This one will be one of the hardest for some indie authors, since it can’t just be achieved by hard work and time. To get beta readers or a critique partner, you have to leverage your connections and network. It is completely worth it though.
No work in progress should see the light of day without the scrutiny of beta readers. You may think you have the best book in the world, but you are wrong. It will only become the best after others point out what works and what doesn’t. If you can land yourself a critique partner who writes in the same genre as you, even better. Just remember that your partnership is just that: a two-way street.
I'm not kidding when I say that your book should not be published without the insight of outside eyes. Do you and your book a favour by getting beta readers.
Other Author Blogs and Websites
You will hear time and time again that writing is a solitary profession, but it is not. Not anymore. One of the biggest ways you can grow as an author is by reading about other people’s journeys.
Look out at your network again and make a list of who you admire, who provides good advice, and who you vibe with. Make a point of reading their work, specifically their blogs. It is here where they will talk about their journey and their lessons, and you can learn from their experiences.
If you haven’t already, make a new bookmark folder and add at least 5-10 author websites and blogs that you want to check regularly.
An Email List
While everything on this list will be powerful tools for your journey, nothing will be as powerful as your email list. Your email list is the most reliable way to communicate with your fans, to drive them to your content, and to reward them for supporting you.
As an indie author, one of your biggest challenges will be engaging your fans. Unless you have some other content that is produced regularly, there will be large gaps between your books. Use your email list to keep your fans engaged.
Need some tips on how to give back to them? Check out last week’s blog!
There you have it: a list of five tangible (albeit digital) things every indie author should have under their belt. While there are more items that we can add to the list, you best get these five started before you get too far. I know I wish I had started on all of them a year ago!
Let me know in the comments what you would add to the Indie Author Checklist for next time. Do you agree with everything on this list? Leave us that, too! Let’s help each other out on this journey we are all taking.