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5 Tips for Writers that Publishers Don’t Want You to Follow

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tips for writersSelf-publishing used to be reserved for niche writers and other authors who had no other choice.  After (most likely) being rejected by dozens of major and small publishers, you would have to pay sometimes thousands of dollars to a printer who would then send you a few hundred copies of your book.  You might sell a few copies at local bookstores and give away a few more to friends and family, but at the end of a few weeks you would probably be boxing up the rest of those books, along with your dreams of ever being a working writer.

Well, thanks to the advent of ebooks and major online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, things have changed.  Self publishing no longer has the bad reputation and results it used to, and publishing companies no longer have the power to make or break a writer’s career.  Indie publishers and their books are coming out of the closet.  We are now turning our backs on traditional publishing by the thousands and choosing to forge our own way.  In the spirit of the modern DIY indie author, we’re offering some tips for writers.  It’s advice that major publishers don’t want you to follow.

1. Get your book out there.

You wrote a book for one reason: you want people to read it. You will never feel that your book has value until others have read and reviewed it.  You need feedback for validation and to make you a better writer.  Until people have read your book, it doesn’t exist in the world.

2.  Find your audience.

Join a group on Goodreads or other online forums for writers and readers.  Get connected and find your audience.  Sure there will be people who don’t like your book.  That’s inevitable.  But if you like your book, then others will too.  There are millions of people out there who will think your book is great.  Go find them.

3.  Don’t wait for a publishing company to decide your book has value.

Publishing used to be a waiting game.  You spent months or years writing your book only to have to wait for more months or years for a person in an office somewhere to decide that your book is worth publishing.  Why not release your book to the masses and let the public decide if your book is worth reading?  How many stories have we heard of great books being rejected over and over again by publishers?  How many books were never published because the authors (a sensitive bunch in general) gave up and went back to their day jobs?  You no longer have to wait on a publisher.  It’s a waste of time.

4.  Don’t fool yourself that publishers care about you or art.

Publishers care about one thing – money.  They are a business and work for profit only.  At best this means they will purchase the rights to your book for as little money as possible.  At worst they will purchase the rights to your book then squash it, and instead promote the latest release of a well-known author or celebrity.  Don’t fool yourself.  A big publisher will not risk much money on an unknown author no matter how great your book is.

5.  Accept that the world of publishing has changed.

Publishers are scared of you.  They are.  They’re scared that you will choose to publish your book on your own instead of appealing to them first.  They’re scared you will figure out that you don’t need them anymore.  You can now self-publish your book for free, and it’s easy.  You can now keep up to 70% of the money your book makes instead of having to settle for the 6-10% the publishing company wants to give you.  You can keep all the rights to your book and you can decide when and where and what to publish.  You can market yourself online and do a better job than the publishing company can do for you.  What about professional editing and cover art?  With a small amount of money you can have these too, and you can choose your editor and book cover.  There is now more opportunity for writers than ever before.  You owe it to yourself and all those readers out there to take advantage of it.

Photo by Horia Varlan

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