(These points, btw, have been borrowed in one form or another from other successful writers. Feel free to rework them for your own purposes and spread the word to emerging writers everywhere who will benefit by these basic principles of indie publishing.)
So, what does it take to find and keep an audience for your stories? Here's a 2 minute bootcamp (we might call it Publishing 101):
- Write a compelling story. Find your voice and use it. Readers will discover your unique storytelling style if you write enough material and make it available. Get some beta readers to proof and edit even if you're good at this yourself.
- Create or purchase great cover art. Catch your potential readers' interest with professional artwork that doubles as a paperback cover as well as an icon for online browsing (ie, it has and easy to read title and byline).
- Write a fantastic blurb. Typically the blurb introduces the reader to the main character, hints at the story's crisis, and hooks the reader with your creative voice. Entice, don't explain.
- Price your story right. You may need to experiment here, but the current shake down seems to be that short stories sell for 99 cents to $1.50; short collections of stories and novellas run from $1.99 to $3.99; longer collections and novels start at $4.99 and go up from there. Test it and see.
- Provide a free sample. Called try before you buy. Make 10% to 20% of your story available for preview or free download. Also, if you post a free short story (called a loss leader) include one or more samples of your longer works along with links for easy purchase.
- Format properly. Experiment with Smashword's meat grinder until you get it right. Then take what you've learned and upload your Kindle version. Make it available as a paperback POD as well. Hit all the outlets you can...which is really part of the last bullet...
- Learn to market - but not at the expense of writing your next story. Download Gaughran's PDF version of Let's Get Digital for free. It's a great summary of "how to self-publish and why you should."
(Note: I cross posted this blog entry elsewhere online.)