Thanks to Debbie Young for this wise list, and to Helen Hollick for passing it along. These are resolutions that all Indie writers can appreciate.
I love new beginnings and the opportunity they bring to replace bad habits with good ones. New Year’s Eve is, for me, inextricably linked with Resolutions.
This year, I’m making not one list but two: one for my personal life and one for my life as a self-published writer and indie book promoter.
I’m sharing that second list here in case you need inspiration as 2013 dawns.
If you’d like to add any of your own at the end, please do – I’ll be happy to take them on board!
1) I will not become obsessed with statistics.
It’s too easy to waste time on statistics. Checking my Amazon sales rankings, my blog hits, my Twitter followers – and unfollowers… It’s not only a waste of time better spent elsewhere. It’s also often misleading, causing false hopes and needless despondency. Amazon employs such mysterious, ever-changing algorithms for its supposed sales figures, that they vary dramatically from one minute to the next, and are not accurate indicators of real sales, even for those published solely on Kindle. They’re best avoided. But of course, if I happen to spot a favourable figure, e.g. hitting the top 100 in an Amazon category, I reserve the right to celebrate! In the meantime, I will do all I can to optimise my stats – which means actively promoting my books, not gazing for hours at sales graphs – without obsessing about them.
2) I will learn all I can from fellow authors in the indie/self-publishing sector.
in 2013, I’m going to make the most of the very supportive online indie author community. I will NOT do an impression of a lonely writer sitting in a garret (or study with nice garden view, in my case), with only a blank page (screen) for company. I’ll read other authors’ blogs, tweets and comments, I’ll follow the stimulating Facebook discussions of the specialist community groups that I belong to (Alliance of Independent Authors, aka ALLi, and the SilverWood Authors Community). I’ll check in regularly to GoodReads. And while I’m gaining other authors’ input and support, I’ll try to give even more than I receive. ”You’re gonna reap just what you sow”, as Lou Reed sings in “Perfect Day” (scheduled to be played at my funeral, but preferably not in 2013!)
3) I will use Twitter wisely.
I will continue to use Twitter to focus on my self-publishing and writing interests. I will not get distracted by Stephen Fry, Gin O’Clock’s parody of Queen Elizabeth, The Poke, hashtag games and other such frivolities. Oh alright, most of the time. 99% of my Twitter time will be spent on productive transactions. Honest.
When I achieve any significant milestones, I will give myself permission to brag about them – briefly. For example, when a great new review is published, I’ll tweet a few links, but then and only then. I will justify a little self-aggrandisement by the thought that other authors will be encouraged by a fellow writer’s success (I know I am). Success breeds success, and no writer is an island, as John Donne almost said. But I won’t bang on about it till it becomes tiresome. I will remember that Twitter is a two-way street, not a soapbox.
5) I will review other indie authors’ books.
Speaking of reviews, I will definitely continue one of the most rewarding practices that I started in 2012, which was to post reviews of books by other self-published writers on my website and elsewhere. It’s been a really helpful process not only to them but to me too. (Click here to read more about why I believe ALL indie authors should review other self-published writers’ books. )
Like a boy scout, I resolve to be prepared at all times to capitalise on any opportunity to promote my book. When Sell Your Books! was first published in October, I was caught out early on several times by enquiries from unlikely sources to which I was unequipped to respond straight away. These days, I carry a copy with me in my handbag at all times, along with business cards and bookmarks, ready to slip into the hand of the unexpected enquirer – someone I get chatting to in a shop or at the school gate for example. This will increase the chance of converting their interest into an actual sale.
7) I will, er, write.
I’m an indie writer, therefore I will promote my books. But most importantly, I’ll keep writing – and I will make more time to write (and format and self-publish) than I did in 2012. Because if I don’t, I’ll stop being a writer. Instead I’ll just be an online author groupie aspiring but failing to live my dream.