There are so many people who want to write a book, but what do you do once that book is written? Romance author Adrianne Wood has some advice for aspiring authors out there.
Let me back up. Ten years ago, the book business recognized
that ebooks were on the horizon. How popular they would be was anyone's guess
(and people made lots of guesses), but they were coming, sure as sunrise.
But I don't recall anyone predicting the ebook self-publishing
boom. Now an author just needs to write the book (the hardest part, but authors
were doing this anyway), put a good cover on it, and upload it to places where
readers can find it. Oh, and (the second-hardest part) help readers find their
books among the thousands out there.
I'm not the Tom Cruise of successful self-published ebook authors, but I did buy a new washer and dryer with the royalties from two of my ebooks. They are now known in our house as the Badlands Bride dryer and the Mind Tricks washer, and I grin every time I see them. (Every time I see them when I'm not doing laundry, that is. When I'm doing laundry, I'm never smiling.)
Traditionally, publishers were the taste-makers. With ebooks, readers serve that role. The most genuine reader reviews share their enthusiasm without trying to impress you with the brilliance of their own writing. We all have busy lives and maybe 13.4 seconds to write a review of a book we love, and 13.4 seconds doesn't give you much time to be brilliant but does give you time to be enthusiastic.
I also look at covers when choosing ebooks. A quality cover doesn't reflect the inside of the book any more than a gorgeous face reflects a gracious personality, but it's still the first thing a reader sees. When I published my first ebook, Unruly Hearts I mistakenly thought that the ebook market was still pretty thin and only a halfway decent cover was needed. I'm not sure my homemade cover even passed that low standard. But hey, I created the cover in Microsoft Word.
I smartened up with Badlands Bride by asking a REAL designer
to create the cover. Then, after Pocket Books bought the rights to Badlands Bride, they put their own cover on the book. I quickly gave a new face to Unruly Hearts (again, with a real designer), and then released my third ebook, Mind Tricks (again, cover made by a real designer). An eye-catching cover can make a difference.
Oh, did you notice that part about Badlands Bride
being bought by a traditional publisher? That's the whole dream-come-true part
of this story. I've been writing novels since I was thirteen. So to have A Big
Publisher finally reach over, tap me on the shoulder, and say, "Hey, we want
you""”well, that was the moment I'd been working toward for thirty years.
Don't get me wrong"”being an independent ebook author is great fun and extremely rewarding. Realizing that there are readers out there who like your book (and who are not related to you) is a major thrill. Some compare a book's success to an occasion as sweet as the birth of a child, but as I had an emergency C-section that I'd rather not repeat even in a simile, I prefer to compare it to the day your beloved child leaves home: You've put your heart and soul into raising that kid, and he's finally making his own way in the world.
So try some new books this week. I'm reading Caramel and Magnolias by Tess Thompson and The Dark Thorn by Shawn Speakman, both non-traditionally published, and enjoying them immensely. What new books will you discover?