Indie Author Weekly

100: 100 tips for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms

February 23, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 101
Indie Author Weekly
100: 100 tips for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms
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Indie Author Weekly
100: 100 tips for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms
Feb 23, 2021 Episode 101
Sagan Morrow

Have you ever wished you could get all the writing and reading tips you need and inside scoop you want in one place? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly, as a special celebration of our 100th episode! 

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to access all 100 writing and reading tips...  

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wished you could get all the writing and reading tips you need and inside scoop you want in one place? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly, as a special celebration of our 100th episode! 

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to access all 100 writing and reading tips...  

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly!  I’m your host, romantic comedy novelist and productivity strategist Sagan Morrow, and this is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

Now, have you ever wished you could get all the tips you need and inside scoop you want in one place? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly, as a special celebration of our 100th episode!

For our new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book and writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Like I said, today is Episode 100! This is so exciting. Yay us! Thank you so much for listening each week. You are fantastic. 

I have 100 tips for you today: Whether you are already an indie author, or you are an aspiring author, or if you’re a curious bookworm. Each of those three groups are getting 33 tips each… plus our 100th episode is applicable for everyone. And regardless of which category YOU identify with, I think you’re going to get some juicy goodness in all of these tips, so I recommend you tune into all of it.

Starting with indie authors…

Accountability tips for staying on track with writing your novel: 

Tip #1: Tell a supportive and encouraging person in your life that you’re writing a book. 

Tip #2: Talk to fellow authors! Ask each other how your books are coming along.

Tip #3: Create your book on Goodreads and include the date with it so that you have a plan for when you’ll publish your next book. (See an example of this by searching Small Town Stilettos, my upcoming romcom, on Goodreads. By the way, I’ll include everything I mention during today’s episode in the show notes, so you can access all of the links etc by checking out the show notes for this episode or visiting SaganMorrow.com/podcast)

Tip #4: Book your cover designer, editor, book formatter etc in advance so that you have an actual deadline to meet.

Tip #5: Upload your beautiful new book cover to e-book platforms and Goodreads.

Tip #6: Hang out in online writer groups with friends who write the same genre as you.

Tip #7: Do online writing sessions with writer friends, regardless of their genre choice—the simple act of working with someone else watching you can make a difference.

Tip #8: Announce on social media what your writing plan is for the day.

Tip #9: Provide updates on social media after making your announcement—you can make this fun by including photos or a timelapse video of you working.

Tip #10: Participate in short story contests and challenges. Tune into Episode 97 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast to find out my experience with this.

Tip #11: Commit to a date for when you will provide an early draft of your novel to beta readers, and tell them when that will happen. 

Tip #12: Sign up for National Novel Writing Month or Camp NaNoWriMo and talk with hundreds of writers across the globe in the forums. Learn more about my tips for this in Episodes 5 & 28 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

Editing tips after you’ve completed that first draft or two: 

Tip #13: Read your work out loud.

Tip #14: Print out your book and read through it that way, highlighting anything that doesn’t seem quite right, or anything that needs work, as you go along.

Tip #15: Choose one dictionary for the spelling of various words, and stick to it.

Tip #16: Choose one style guide and stick to it! You can create your own, or use something like the Chicago Manual of Style.

Tip #17: Run your book through Hemingway App to check what you might have missed, especially for adverbs, passive voice, and difficult sentences. 

Tip #18: Read your book on an e-reader—the different type of screen will help you catch major errors more easily. 

Tip #19: Use the Microsoft Word spell check—it’s pretty good at catching typos for you.

Tip #20: Read sentences backward as a way of proofreading. 

Tip #21: Do a search for commonly-used words. You might not even realize you’ve used the same word 20 times in one chapter, so this is a good practice to learn which words you automatically gravitate toward.

Tip #22: Give yourself a break away from your book so that you are reading and editing it with fresh eyes. 

Tip #23: Reflect on what you’re good at, and what you’re not good at, with editing. If you have a tendency of overusing adverbs, or if you struggle with grammar, or if you often misspell words, then knowing what that is will ensure you pay more attention to it and improve.

Tip #24: Have your character bible or previous books in the series handy to refer back to for consistency’s sake.

Tip #25: Keep doing more rounds of edits until you do an entire read-through where you catch a maximum of one typo. That’s when you know it’s polished!

Marketing tips: 

Tip #26: Run a promotion with Fussy Librarian—It costs about $50 and provides a good reach. Learn about my experience with this in Episode 78 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

Tip #27: Post photos or screenshots of juicy scenes from your book on social media.

Tip #28: Identify the key tropes of your book, and talk those up!

Tip #29: Focus on a particular cliffhanger in your story and share about that (perhaps at the end of a chapter?)

Tip #30: Use Canva to create promo graphics for your book. You can see examples of graphics I’ve made by searching #PolyPassions on Twitter or Instagram.

Tip #31: Provide behind-the-scenes, extra details about your character in your author newsletter or on social media. 

Tip #32: Commit to mentioning your book (and linking to it) every day on social media for three or four weeks. Check your e-book stats to see if it makes a difference. 

Tip #33: Reach out to book bloggers and offer them a free copy of your book in exchange for a sincere review. 

There you go, indie authors! If you liked these tips, then please hop on over to the Review section on Apple Podcasts and give Indie Author Weekly a 5-star rating. 

Us indie authors are in this together, so by doing that simple act of rating (and maybe even reviewing!) this podcast, you are making a world of difference for other indie authors who have yet to discover our Indie Author Weekly podcast. Thank you so much for rating Indie Author Weekly! You are awesome.

Now, here are 33 more tips—and these are especially for aspiring authors... 

Inspiration tips: 

Tip #34: Change your environment to get the creative juices flowing. 

Tip #35: Use the writing meditation I made for you in Episode 93 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

Tip #36: Read books about writing, or listen to podcasts about it—like this one! I also recommend The Creative Penn podcast, and the books Page Fright, On Writing, and The Word Detective.

Tip #37: Take an existing situation or conversation and ask yourself what could happen next, or how things could take an interesting detour if an element—for example, the relationship between people—was different.

Tip #38: Make use of your current or past interests to see what can come out of it. 

Tip #39: Use the writing prompts from Episode 79 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast to start writing your book. 

Tip #40: STOP writing, and instead start thinking about the story. Just spend some time daydreaming about your characters and the plot. You don’t need to be sitting at the computer or holding a pen in your hand to get some incredible ideas for your work.

Tip #41: Use character situationals to get to know your character better—more on that in Episode 17 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

Tip #42: Review what you’re planning to include in a future chapter: Can you write a scene in an earlier chapter that alludes to what’s going to happen later on?

Tip #43: Try dictating your story, rather than writing it. A different method of storytelling might be what you need to get an inspirational breakthrough.

Tip #44: Play with mind mapping as a tool to explore your story in more depth—learn about how to use mind mapping for your book in Episode 44 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast. 

Tip #45: If you’re really stuck for ideas and inspiration, see what can happen if you take a step away from the computer and do something mindless, like go for a walk or wash the dishes... because you just might get some of your best ideas when you aren’t trying to force it.

Outlining tips: 

Tip #46: Map out a brief synopsis of the main plot of the book.

Tip #47: Do a brain dump of all conceivable obstacles and events that could happen throughout the story or to your character. You don’t need to include every idea, but just think of everything that COULD happen.

Tip #48: Identify the major plot points—perhaps two to six across the course of your book.

Tip #49: Place those at approximate points in a chapter outline.

Tip #50: Fill in the rest of the chapter outline with a few ideas of what other things could take place in each chapter.

Tip #51: Flesh out your complete chapter outline so that you have three events or scenes for each chapter.

Tip #52: Use index cards or colour-coded sticky notes with scene ideas on them, so you can move them around and explore what the story could like if different timelines or events occur along the way.

Tip #53: Jot down notes about your character backstories to help you get a clearer idea of their pain points and what drives them.

Tip #54: Stay focused on the end goal or purpose of your story. If you can distill it down into a single sentence or phrase and then stick that where you can easily see it, it will help you have clarity as your map out your ideas and vision.

Scheduling & time management tips: 

Tip #55: Choose a goal date for when you want to finish your book, and work backward to see when you’ll need to finish various stages of the writing and editing process.

Tip #56: Block off time in your calendar to write!

Tip #57: Set word count goals for yourself and dates for when you’ll achieve particular word counts. 

Tip #58: Actually track your progress—you can do that with my free word count tracker spreadsheet when you sign up at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes

Tip #59: Be honest with yourself about how long it takes you to write and edit your work. This varies a lot from one person to the next, so be true to what works for YOU.

Tip #60: Track your time so you know exactly how long it takes you to write a specific number of words. I love using Toggl as my time-tracking software.

Tip #61: Identify your time and energy requirements in advance so that you can adjust your schedule accordingly. After all, it’s no good if you set aside time for writing but then don’t have the energy to actually do the work. 

Tip #62: Use energy boosters and creativity boosters to maximize your productivity, so that you can get those creative juices flowing and make awesome use of your time! Learn exactly how to do this in my signature program, Productivity Powerhouse, at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse

Courage-boosting tips: 

Tip #63: Look back at what you wrote in the past, and compare it to your current work. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve improved, even if, on some days, it doesn’t feel like you’re making progress.

Tip #64: Give your writing to a very supportive and encouraging loved one, and ask for their feedback. They will likely sugarcoat things, but honestly, that’s a good thing at this stage! You need their kind words to keep your courage up so you keep writing.

Tip #65: Screenshot those kind words and post them where you can easily see them. 

Tip #66: Pretend that you aren’t going to publish your writing or share it with anyone. That will help you channel your creativity with much more flow, and you won’t be censoring yourself. Sometimes the most magic can occur when you give yourself the freedom to explore that without fears of judgment.

Which of these tips was your favourite? 

Post about it on Twitter or Instagram, and don’t forget to tag me, @Saganlives. 

Now, here are 33 more tips for our curious bookworms…

Tips for when you want to read more books: 

Tip #67: Set a reading goal for yourself on Goodreads.

Tip #68: Track your progress of reading each book on Goodreads—you can update it with page numbers or percentage of books read.

Tip #69: Set a timer so you know that you’ll keep reading until X time.

Tip #70: Commit to reading a certain number of pages in one sitting.

Tip #71: Read while you’re on the treadmill, waiting for the computer to load or the kettle to boil, etc.

Tip #72: Commit to finishing a book before you start a new one. 

Tip #73: Try always having one fiction book and one non-fiction book on the go so that you’re getting something different on an ongoing basis.

Tips for supporting indie authors and your author friends: 

Tip #74: Buy an indie author’s books for yourself.

Tip #75: Buy extra copies of an indie author’s books and gift them to friends.

Tip #76: Buy an author’s merchandise to help promote their work—for example, my Polyamorous Passions romantic comedy series goes beyond the books. There’s merch available as part of that Polyamorous Passions world! My merch includes an awesome Relationship Rebel t-shirt, which is a shirt that Emma wears in my Polyamorous Passions series, as well as pens that say Make Your Own Rules, which is the tagline for the series. All merch is available at SaganMorrow.com/shop.

Tip #77: Actively USE that merch when you buy it: wear the shirt and post photos of yourself in it, and use their tote bag at the grocery store.

Tip #78: Invite authors to share their story or promote themselves on your platform—on your podcast, blog, social media account, etc.

Tip #79: Email an author to let them know what you like about their books.

Tip #80: Screenshot a favourite scene from a book, post it on social media and tag the author.

Tip #81: Share an indie author’s posts on social media.

Tip #82: Tell a friend about an author’s work, if you think that particular friend would be interested in it.

Tip #83: Follow indie authors on Goodreads and Bookbub. I’d love to hang out with you on those platforms!

Tip #84: Ask your local bookstore to carry books by an indie author.

Tip #85: Post a photo of a book on social media and tag the author.

Tip #86: Pre-order the author’s next book (pre-ordering is super helpful in boosting that book’s ranking).

Tip #87: Tell the author what you liked most about their work so far (or even what you’re looking forward to seeing more from them in the future).

Tip #88: Create fan art for an author and tag them.

Tip #89: Only borrow books from a legitimate source like the library, rather than pirating books. Please don’t pirate books!

Tip #90: ReTweet authors when they talk about their books on Twitter.

Tip #91: Repost authors when they talk about their books on Instagram.

Tip #92: Commit to giving a star rating and at least a one-sentence review of every single book you read before you start reading a new book.

Tip #93: Rate and review books on Goodreads, Bookbub, Amazon, and/or Kobo.

Tip #94: Join an author’s book launch team to help them spread the word about a new book.

Tip #95: Sign up for your favourite author’s newsletter. You can join mine to access sample chapters and more at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes.

Tips for reviewing books: 

Tip #96: Choose one platform to start writing reviews to make it easier on yourself (rather than reviewing on every single platform right away).

Tip #97: Make it a fun, community experience—for example, by posting your reviews on Goodreads so your friends can see them. 

Tip #98: Remember that reviews are totally subjective! Embrace your own style of reviewing books, and focus on any aspect of the book that speaks to YOU: the writing style, the subject matter, the writer’s voice, the characters, the plot, the dialogue, the setting, the descriptions, etc. Have fun with it!

Tip #99: If you’re stuck for what to say in your review, use my list of book review prompts in Episode 12 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

Be sure to share on social media about which tip you’ll implement today! You can tag me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives. 

Okay, now here is our FINAL tip of the day, our 100th tip that applies to indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms alike, in celebration of this amazing milestone of 100 episodes of Indie Author Weekly… 

Tip #100: Connection matters. As I shared about back in Episode 95, stories are so powerful! They can be life-changing for everyone involved. We need connection, we need community, in order for more stories to be told, more stories to be read, more stories to be shared. 

If you are thinking about writing a book, tell someone who will support and encourage you. If you have already written and published a book, ham it up and talk about it on social media. And if you love reading books, share about them—especially those hidden gems that not a lot of readers know about, which are often by indie authors—and review them and rate them so that more readers can find those stories, too. 

At any stage of the process—at every stage of the process—connect. Your voice, as an author and as a reader, means so much. So with that in mind, explore what you can do, today, to connect with someone else about a story.

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! I appreciate you, and I’m so, so happy that we have connected here on the podcast. 

Thank you so much for tuning in. Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast. And please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.