Are you an indie author? Maybe you self-publish your books, or maybe you publish through a small publisher that leaves you with most of the burden of selling your books. If this describes you, then you have a job to do—the business of publishing needs your attention! You can't just occasionally publish a title and hope that it somehow finds readers. This can happen, but if you don't put much effort into publishing then you shouldn't expect much out of it.
Since it can be hard to know what to do, to maximize your sales, I set up a new forum specifically to discuss the business side of indie publishing. There are many places online where you can engage with other writers to talk about the craft of writing, but it's good to have places to talk about the business of publishing too. My new forum certainly isn't the first, there are others. Read more to see why you might want to join Indie Authors United.
Note: The "conversational" tone of this post is a result of how it was "written." Read on to see what I mean.
It has been a while since my last blog post so I thought it would be a good idea to write a new one. In this case, writing means dictating, as I am experimenting with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium edition and its ability to transcribe audio that I record when I'm away from my computer. As you might know, late last year I decided that I wanted to upgrade my copy of Dragon because the old version I had did not support transcription of that kind. As I dictate this blog post, I am washing dishes.
This is actually my second full take on this blog post because the first one was a big mess. It takes a lot of practice to be able to dictate while you're doing something else, especially if you aren't really that comfortable with dictation to begin with. I hope that I am able to be more productive in the long run with more practice, but the experience I've had today with dictating while I wash dishes has not been particularly encouraging. However, this is only the second thing that I have dictated away from the computer so I need to try a lot more before I really get discouraged or, hopefully, find that I can be more productive.
I'll lay it out straight: My fan newsletter is really the best way to stay on top of what I'm up to writing-wise. It doesn't cost anything, and there's no effort involved, it just shows up once a month in your inbox. But backing up a step, why would I talk on this blog about alternatives to this blog? One simple reason: I've decided to pare down the amount of time and attention that I spend on this blog so I can focus more on writing books instead of blog posts. This change is one aspect of a strategic shift this year, to produce a lot more book-ready content.
I will continue to post here, but I will no longer stress about making a post every Friday (which I was never good at anyway). I've removed my "post weekly blog entry" recurring task on Todoist. So if you want to stay informed about my writing, I highly recommend subscribing to my fan newsletter! Read on for two other alternatives.
For a while now, I have been hearing from other authors about how useful Canva is for designing book covers as well as other book marketing materials. The first time I went to the site to check it out, the site pages would not load properly. The home page seemed to load fine, but anything else was simply a blank page other than social sharing icons on the right-hand side. Eventually I got around to trying a different browser in a different operating system. That seem to make all the difference. As my first experiment with designing a book cover on Canva, I created a new cover for my book of photo tips: Take Five! for Better Photos You can see the new cover here. Read on to see the old cover that it replaced, and my thoughts on using Canva so far.
A key "theme" for me this year is to massively increase productivity, especially as it relates to my writing. Late last year I began using Todoist, which has helped with my productivity across the board -- in fact, I wish I'd started using it months ago. I recently upgraded to a newer version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, with which I am enjoying vastly more accurate recognition (even if I am not enjoying the reduction in third-party software compatibility). My newest addition to my toolset is, like speech recognition, specific to my writing.
This past week I picked up a surplus (used) Alphasmart Neo2 for about $30 including shipping. I decided this was an appropriate way to use patron funds collected through Patreon since they are supporting my creativity and this is a creative tool. I've read rave reviews from other writers about the Alphasmart devices as tools to focus on writing without temptations and distractions like email and Web browsing. I used my Neo2 to draft this blog post, which is the second bit of productive work I've done with it. I was hesitant to buy it, but now I'm very glad I did and wish I'd done so earlier. Read on for more detailed commentary about this device and what I hope it will mean for me and my writing projects.