Posts filed under Indie Publishing

101 Blog Post Ideas for Authors

I get it. Not only do you have to think about building discipline within your writing craft, you also need to keep moving forward with your manuscript nd keep an online presence somewhat active. That means writing in your book and writing online. 

Feels impossible most days, yeah?

I'm all about going where your core genius takes you, and I know plenty of authors who aren't blogging anymore. But. If you're like me and just can't say no to this online space, let me help you out. 

How I would use this list: there are over 100 topics here and a lot of them can be broken into multiple posts. Definitely enough for one per week for an entire year. When you're feeling stuck, grab the one that resonates. Or, just move down the list. As always: make it your own. That's where your voice really shines. 

xoxo and happy blogging! 

  1. What parts of the book writing process make you feel alive, joyful, and creative?
  2. The Five People You Admire in Your Industry (and Why)
    >> PRO TIP :: these five people could be interviews in the future which would include FIVE MORE POSTS
  3. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author? What did you learn through this challenge?
  4. Fill in the blank: Lessons that have changed the way I _____________________.
  5. What questions should people ask themselves before jumping into writing a book?
  6. Write about three ways people talk themselves out of writing.
  7. My Top 10 Favorite Books and Why They Rocked My World
  8. How to Build a Manuscript Playlist
  9. Why is Indie Publishing Important?
  10. Why did YOU choose indie publishing?
  11. A peek into your process (for me, this could be snapshots of notes I’m taking while writing or editing)
  12. Write a Post Filled with Resources for Writers
  13. Fill in the blank: Why __________ Matters to Me.
  14. The Three People Who Support Me the Most in Writing
    >> AGAIN: possible interviews = 3 more blog posts!
  15. Why it’s Okay to ___________________
  16. Top Three Books or eCourses that Have Impacted Your Writing
  17. Answer a Question from a Reader
  18. A Day in the Life of (Your Name)
  19. Look over your last five blog posts and see which one resonated the most. Replicate the post into a new one.
  20. Review a book that fits within your genre.
  21. Take some time to look through magazines. Keep your journal next to you. Write down every single blog post idea that comes to you because of a picture or article. Add those ideas to your folder on your computer. Write about one of them today.
  22. Write about the last book you read.
  23. How do you think indie authors could improve the industry?
  24. Fill in the blank: There is nothing wrong with your ________________.
  25. Write about how you use description or figurative language or syntax within your writing. When did you begin noticing the way words string together? (You know what? There’s two blog posts here….not just one)
  26. Write about the most unique character you’ve ever written. What makes them unique? How did they surprise you?
  27. Write about the most unique character you’ve ever read. What makes them unique? How did they surprise you?
  28. What mistakes have you made in publishing? Write about one of them.
  29. Write about why you love your current manuscript so much
  30. Fill in the blank: Things that are making me feel totally _________________.
  31. A No-Brainer Checklist for _________________.
  32. How to Choose the Right Book to Read
  33. I Met My Hero, ____________ and Here’s What I Learned.
  34. From the Cutting Floor — deleted scenes and ideas and (if you’re particularly brave) moments of severe editing (this could turn into a series)
  35. Write a Letter to Your Readers
  36. Write about something controversial within the industry. Be bold with your opinion.
  37. Make a bucket list for your books + writing.
  38. Blog about something you enjoy that doesn’t immediately relate to your brand. Show your readers a different side of you they haven’t seen.
  39. Fill in the blank: Why I’m No Longer Satisfied With ___________ and what I’m Doing About it.
  40. What about your location inspires your work?
  41. 10 Reasons You Should Hire an Editor
  42. Write a poem
  43. Favorite TV shows? How are they inspiring you in writing?
  44. Pull a comment from your blog to use as a blog post
  45. A Room of One’s Own: Write a post about where you write — your office, your couch, your bed — explain why THIS space is YOUR space.
  46. Blog about something you’re particularly serious about within your niche.
  47. Interview someone else! (These are great for collaboration + reciprocity)
  48. Share sources of inspiration or the story behind the story (for example — Every Shattered Thing began as a way for me to tell the story of a girl we mentored and it turned into something completely different)
  49. What you’ve learned from criticism / poor reviews (WARNING: be careful not to name, vilify or focus on any one specific review. Take this as a general approach and not laser-sharp).
  50. Share something a little more personal. Your childhood, how you grew to love writing, a bit about your family — draw back the curtain a little bit and let your readers see you.
  51. The Five Ways I’ve Learned How to Succeed in the Midst of Failure
  52. What music is currently on your writing soundtrack?
  53. The Top Free Apps I Use for my Writing and Why I Think They’re the Best
  54. Write a post that fits within the current season — like how to keep your word count up during the holidays
  55. What’s Currently Inspiring Me
  56. Nonfiction topics related to your manuscript (ie: sex trafficking numbers during Super Bowl weekend for Every Shattered Thing) This sort of thing works really, really well if a current event parallels with your plot!
  57. How to Create Your Own BookClub
  58. Create questions book clubs can use about your book
  59. How do you stay organized as a writer?
  60. Pull from your list of blog ideas. Write the one that gets you most excited.
  61. Six Ways I’m Creative Outside of Writing
  62. Update an older blog post with new and relevant information. Share it.
  63. Write About Work + Family Balance
  64. What do you hope the industry will look like in ten years? What are your dreams not only for yourself but the publishing world as a whole?
  65. Write micro fiction.
  66. How do you choose titles for your books? Fill us in that process.
  67. Explain the difference between editing and revision.
  68. Create an eBook out of a previous series you’ve done on the blog, and then write about that process
  69. Invest in Soundcloud and read your book / manuscript and create audio files of your book in progress / manuscript.
  70. Share your why — behind reading, writing, blogging, a particular manuscript
  71. How did you choose your editor?
  72. Share your playlist and why certain songs fit within certain scenes
  73. How do you overcome writers’ block?
  74. Highlight your favorite writing websites
  75. Reach out to a local indie bookseller about selling your book and write about your experience
  76. What’s your marketing philosophy? Write about it.
  77. The Five Biggest Distractions I Have in Writing and How I’m Dealing With Them
  78. How Journaling Saves my Writing
  79. The Biggest Myth about Publishing
  80. Write a love letter to other writers and authors
  81. The Three Mistakes Every Writer Makes on the First Manuscript
  82. Tell us how you came up with character names in your novels
  83. If you use Pinterest for book writing, fill us in on that process.
  84. How did you come up with the setting for your book? How do you go about using the setting as an essential character?
  85. Research Amazon and other indie sellers and share your findings
  86. How do you create believable dialogue? Share your tips.
  87. Take us through the process of developing a believable villain
  88. Formatting: do you do it yourself? If so, give us some hints! If not, how did you find your formatter?
  89. Discuss the difference between manuscript POVs — which one do you tend to write from most often and why?
  90. If you work full time, how do you balance working and writing?
  91. If you write full time, how do you balance life and writing? (This is good even if you work full time, really)
  92. How to create a blogging schedule
  93. How do you create content with purpose and intention?
  94. How do you find your writing voice?
  95. Write about the moment you completed your first manuscript. How did it feel?
  96. Write about the moment your first book was published. How did it sell? What did you do to celebrate? What are things you learned?
  97. Why did you decide to write in the genre you’re writing in currently?
  98. A List of your favorite books this year. Be specific on why you like them.
  99. How do you handle rejection and disappointment as an author?
  100. Write about your TBR list and why you’re excited about the books.
  101. The Time I Almost Gave Up….And What Kept Me Going.

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Posted on July 11, 2016 and filed under Indie Publishing.

How to Build Your Publishing Calendar.

When I set out to write a novel, I know it's going to take me about two months to complete. I know this because of my experience writing three other novels. I wrote a majority of Every Shattered Thing in a month. I wrote Somewhere Between Water and Sky from mid-March to the last week of May. And Secrets Don't Keep was written from December to early February.

Publishing calendars can be tricky. There's a reason I use pencil in most of my calendars — especially when it comes to book-related dates. So many things can change at the drop of a hat, it's almost impossible to know when you'll really finish the manuscript.

But deadlines are powerful.

Without deadlines, I would never write another word. Having something blocked out in my calendar, something that I'm producing with the intent to share, something that other people most likely know about and are waiting for their chance to read, proves convincing when I'm trying to decide between projects. 

Having an agent was great for this. Giving her a date — "I'm going to have this book to you by February 8" — made it impossible for me to procrastinate. I couldn't. Even if my brain was being sidelined by another plot bunny (totally happens) or I'm waylaid by sickness, the separation from my words doesn't last for long. The pressure (for me) serves as the best catalyst.

But what about when there's not an agent? What about when there isn't an audience necessarily waiting on the other end of the manuscript? How do you set a publishing calendar? 

Be honest with yourself. 

I know that there isn't any way I will be writing five books this year. I won't even be writing three. At the most, I will maybe squeeze in two. I know this because of my own limitations: I'm working 40+ hours a week, there are relationships I want to cultivate, and I have other passion projects I'm pursuing this year.. Projects that are just as noble as the paperbacks with my name on them. 

Be honest with yourself about your own capabilities. Set smaller goals first, especially if you haven't finished a manuscript before. Aim for 10,000 words in a week or 2500 words in a day — tiny chunks that can be carved into a manuscript. Once you have one under your belt, you know your own habits. 10,000 words in a day has happened once for me. I know there is really no reason for this to be an expectation in my own writing. 

However, 5k word days are pretty common when I'm in the midst of writing, so this is something I often aim for when I'm trying to complete a manuscript. What's important is knowing what works for youNot everyone can do 5,000 word days, and some people may consider 5,000 word days standard. 

Know your process, be honest about it, and move on.

Share with someone on your tiny slip of paper.

Brené Brown has a slip of paper in her wallet of people who matter. When you're in the midst of creation, opinions are fierce. You experience it almost instantaneously. You're writing too much or you're not focusing enough. You're staying up too late or you're wasting time. Your story is the best they've ever read or there's strange silence on the other end of the line. 

The opinions that matter in these seasons are miniscule. They are the ones that are on your tiny slip of paper — the three or four names that you know share the same dirt as you in the arena. They're getting their hands dirty with their own art and dreams and because of this, and because of how they've had your back repeatedly, you know they know you. You know they want you to succeed. These people are for you in every way. 

And they will be damn sure you finish this manuscript if you tell them the deadline.

Leave room for error.

Life doesn't give us cushion. There's not a warning label on a particular month where we know to leave some extra room for that unexpected something to happen. However, when you're planning out your year, you can cushion the dates. 

Whenever I'm setting a publishing date, I easily add two or three weeks around my editing time. I also overshoot my completion date, knowing there will be two or five weeks where I feel hopelessly stuck. All of this usually places my publication date a solid month past what I could probably get away with, but I'd rather have an extra month at the end to plan a really amazing launch then feel rushed because I didn't anticipate the week I battled with the flu or the crisis at work I had to navigate.

Remember grace.

You'll forget to change the spelling on that one word in chapter five. You'll forget a punctuation mark in your acknowledgements, creating a super-confusing sentence. The formatting on a specific chapter will be off or (personal story) you'll swap the page numbers so your book is opposite the industry standard (who pays attention to what page the even numbers are on and what page the odd numbers land?)

Perfection is a ruse. There will be mistakes. Our own personal margin for error will feel microscopic, but remember to breathe and offer yourself grace. The beauty of self publishing is that you can edit at any time. And with patience and care, and sound editing by someone who you trust and who is skilled, your manuscript will be so close to perfect there will be few who even notice the mistake you're freaking out about at 3:30 in the morning. Breathe in. Breathe out. 

Remember your why. 

And then start all over again.

Questions to consider — 

1. Being honest with yourself, when do you believe you can finish your manuscript? MARK THIS DATE DOWN SOMEWHERE. 

2. Who is on your tiny slip of paper? This week's challenge: email them and tell them your date. Ask them for help in accountability.

Letters From the Creative Underground

Writing is more than articulation, it's allowing yourself the space to hear the truth that you have something to share. Letters from the Creative Underground is the fuel you need to remember the truth: you are a writer. You have a story. 

And we desperately need to hear it. 

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Posted on May 16, 2016 and filed under Indie Publishing.

Why I Raised the Price of My Indie Novels

When it released, Secrets Don't Keep was only 99c. 

It wasn't going to be forever. It was my promotion for the first few weeks after the book released. I posted about it on my Facebook page, and more than one reader responded with shock. 

"Less than a dollar?! Your books are worth so much more than a dollar!" 

I knew this was true. But I also knew the over-saturation of the industry. I knew that in order for my book to get any traction, it just needed to be read. And in order to be read, at that point, it needed to be almost free.

I also lowered the price of my other two novels — Every Shattered Thing and Somewhere Between Water and Sky. So for a few months, you could go and purchase my entire library, books that covered three years of my career as an author, for under three bucks.

In 2015, I made 800 dollars from royalties from my books. That's an average of 65 dollars a month. Because I know my sales, I also can say that getting a payment from KDP that's more than fifty dollars is rare. So that money? A majority of it comes from a free promotion I had for Every Shattered Thing and the release of Secrets Don't Keep.

Here's the thing — I very much do not expect to get rich off of my novels. This is not why I write. However....I'm beginning to take ownership of what my writing is worth. 

When a creative entrepreneur starts talking about prices for whatever she is wanting to offer, you better believe people will be making sure she charges what she's worth. 

Yet as authors, we're encouraged to give our stuff away for free....to build trust. 

"Take my first book! But give me your email address. I want to bore you with requests for reviews."

I'm just not sure that's how I can navigate this space with authenticity. I'm all for teasers. I'll let anyone read a chapter or two to see if they're interested in my novel. I know not everyone will love it — and that's okay. 

But why give everything you've created away for free? I know why: at least, according to the "professionals" — you're giving it away because you expect something in return (a review). Or you're giving it away so you can grow your email list (ew). Or you're giving it away so you can do all of it at once — as well as drop these souls into a sales funnel where they're receiving about twenty emails a week convincing them to sign up for your latest course on how to sale (x) amount of copies of your book! 

Can I be honest here and say this is bullshit?

It took me three years to get Every Shattered Thing out into the world. Combined, these three books took about four and a half years of my creative life. When I'm writing, I'm spending every waking moment completely overwhelmed by these characters. I live and breathe that shed in Stephanie's backyard. I wrote the poems etched into the foundation of the beach house. I dreamed up #elderwild in between bursts of research and brainstorming. With every ounce of who I am as an artist, I believe in these stories.

I realized a few weeks ago I needed to start acting like it. When more and more people start putting up short stories and novellas for $2.99, and when you can purchase a book that you finish in 30 minutes for less than a dollar, it's time to rethink how I approach my own pricing.

Here's the truth, if you want it: For a long while, one of my core desires was radical generosity. I gave everything away. A lot of it really did light me up and help me see the goodness in holding everything with an open hand.

But then people started expecting me to give stuff away for free. I realized, if I didn't offer something, then no one would want to get anything. They'd become so accustomed to me giving my art away that when I started to charge, they ran.

I didn't price my books at 99 cents because I was being generous and wanted as many people as possible to afford my books. I priced my books at 99 cents because I was too tired to play the game. I was too tired to fight the over-saturation. I was too tired to believe my words meant anything compared to another author on any other day. 

Now I know, deep in my core, these books are worth so much more. 

Letters From the Creative Underground

Writing is more than articulation, it's allowing yourself the space to hear the truth that you have something to share. Letters from the Creative Underground is the fuel you need to remember the truth: you are a writer. You have a story. 

And we desperately need to hear it. 

Subscribe

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Posted on February 13, 2016 and filed under Indie Publishing.