This article is part of a series. Read the introduction “How to Self Publish in 2013“.
Because self publication has no requirement for entry, self published books and ebooks have received a terrible reputation. Reviewers are quick to discount them, retailers rarely sell them, and most will be generally ignored by readers.
This is fine for the self publishing industry. While traditional publisher make money by selling hundreds of thousands of copies of books by a few authors, self publishing companies make money by selling a few copies of book by hundreds of thousands of authors. Because of this, self publishers don’t really care how well your books do.
This has resulted in a hefty helping of sludge writers must rise above in order to become a successful. In fact I would venture to say that 90% or more of self published writing has rightfully earned the negative stigma the rest of the literary world has placed upon it.
This guide is not intended for people who are content at just seeing their book in print, but for people who strive to share their ideas, their passions, their stories and are willing to work to be heard. And most of that work is spent writing.
Quality writers are followed by quality readers
Some indie authors – intoxicated by the freedom to self-publish –rush their book to market before it’s ready to be seen by readers.” - The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker
If you want to be successful at self publishing, the quality of your writing should be your first concern. Far too often amateur writers fall into the trap of settling for less than great, content that they have written their first draft and ready to move on. But in order to be taken seriously by your readers, to gain their trust, you must begin with quality.
So how do you get your writing up to snuff?
Join a writers workshop where you can share your writing with other writers and receive valuable critiques. A great resource for this is Meetup, an online community of people who meet in the real world for all kinds of reasons. There are tons of writers workshops here, many of them geared to specific genres or writing styles, and I can almost garuntee there is one in your general area.
When you join a group of writers, encourage them to tear your writing apart. Praise is fine, God knows I enjoy receiving it, but don’t grow as writers unless we receive useful constructive criticism.
Another thing you can do is read your writing at literary open mics and similar meetings. Do a simple Google search for literary open mics in your area and you will be sure to find a group you can read in front of. This experiences is great because it forces you to become conscious of not only your own writing quality, but the crowds reaction to your work.
Finally, I’ve made a habit of printing copies of my writing, paper clipping it together with a red pen then sharing it with anyone who will read it. The red pen works as more than a subtle hint, and I tend to get free advice from a wide range of sources.
So how do you keep your writing up par? Share with us in the comments below.