Thursday, October 4, 2012
Author Guest Blog: 5 Things You Need To Know When You Become an Indie-Author by Teresa Trent
5 Things You Need To Know When You Become an Indie-Author
By Teresa Trent
So you've written your masterpiece and although you know it's truly going to change the face of the world as we know it, all of those agents and publishers out there haven't seemed to agree with you. What's your next option? Publish it yourself? What is involved in doing something like that? It's not as hard as you might think. If you have the organizational and creative skills to write a novel then that skill set can also help you self-publish. Oh, and by the way it sounds so much more professional and less desperate if you call yourself an indie-writer. You know just like the indie-film makers and indie game developers. You are now an indie-author.
1. Hire An Editor
You will need to hire someone to read through and edit your book. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. This is the first red flag for new readers who then become reviewers. You may be grammatically perfect but still hire someone to copy edit your book. If you don't know where to start looking for someone like, this most of the self-publishing websites have links and prices for editorial types.
2. Find Self-Publishing Sites
You will need to search out self-publishing sites. A few out there are Smashwords, Lulu, and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Smashwords will distribute your book to Apple, Kobo, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony and few other sites. Lulu will distribute your book to Apple and Barnes and Noble. You can choose to opt out at these sites if you have already listed your book at Amazon.
You will have to format your book. My first attempt at self-publishing was through Smashwords. I learned all about something they lovingly called “the meat-grinder”. Your printed word has to be set up a certain way for it to work in all those ereaders. Smashwords has a style guide that worked for me not only at that site but at Amazon. It took me three weeks to get my manuscript right over at Smashwords. It took me one day to to do it at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Once you are “published” you will need to build ways for readers to find you. If you think, okay I'm published now I'll just sit back and wait for those old royalty checks-Reality Check-because of the advent of self-publishing there are thousands and thousands of books coming out every day. All you have to do is look at the main page of Smashwords and you will see it's newest books . They change by the second. Good books, bad books, things that aren't really books—it's all there competing with your book. Because you self-published, now you get to self-promote. You wouldn't put together a store in the middle of a field with no roads, right? Start your road building. You will need to create these things.
• An author website
• An author central page on Amazon
• an author page on Goodreads
• a Facebook and or Twitter Account
• anything else that would help to promote you within your genre
5. Keep Doing What You Do-WRITE
Through all of this you need to always remember that even though your book is finished, it's time to go to work on your next book. Keep writing and learning about writing because that is what created 1-4 in the first place.
A Dash of Murder Excerpt
“Watch out, Betsy, some of these old floorboards may be treacherous.” I followed Aunt Maggie through the rooms full of cracked plaster, floor debris and the ever-present graffiti sprayed on the walls of the former tuberculosis hospital.
Aunt Maggie was a tiny woman at four-foot-eight, and the world often towered above her. Her height was the only part of her that was small. She had the strongest will and the biggest heart in Texas.
“This is going to be great when we film here on Halloween, the scariest night of the year. I’m so glad you decided to help us out and took a few hours away from your tip-writin’ column. The Pecan Bayou Texas Paranormal Society thanks you, and if we find a ghost – boy howdy – I thank you.”
“Well, I can spare a few hours here and there.”
“So, what are you writin’ about now? “
“Um, I’m working on my pre-Thanksgiving columns. Hey, I have a question for you. What would you say is the best way to get red wine out of a tablecloth?”
“You know, Aunt Ida had an unusual way of doing that.”
“You mean the one that used to bring the chocolate pecan pie when she came to Thanksgiving?” I had not seen Great Aunt Ida much since she moved to the retirement center near Austin.
“That’s the one. She used to put her tablecloth over a bowl with the wine stain in the middle of it. Then she would pour salt on the stain, and then pour boiling water over into the bowl. Darnedest thing. Took it right out.” Maggie said.
For our other-worldly walk-through today, Aunt Maggie dressed for the occasion with a black cap on her head adorned with glow-in-the-dark letters that read “Paranormal Investigator.”
“You like it?” she asked, noticing my gaze. “I ordered one for everyone on the crew and a few extras. I thought we ought to look official, bein’ on TV and all.” My aunt’s honey-colored bouffant hairdo was all crammed up in the cap with sprayed curls poking out in places.
“Can’t wait to wear mine.” I was not someone who looked terrific in a ball cap. At least that was what Barry had said. Funny how after all these years I still felt rejected by him.
Maggie crunched around on the fallen trash in the main hallway. As we came to the end of the hallway, her voice lowered slightly. “This up here was what they called the ‘dead tunnel.’ I saw it in the blueprints Howard had.” Howard was the head of Aunt Maggie’s paranormal group. Even though sometimes he looked like a person mental health officials might be interested in observing, he was extremely intelligent and had a doctorate in paranormal psychology. I didn’t even know a person could get a degree in ghost hunting, but Howard had achieved this greatness.
Maggie continued her story. “It was the tunnel they used to wheel the bodies to the morgue. That way the patients wouldn’t see someone had died.” I never was one to get too frightened by horror movies, but coming into this part of the hospital certainly had me qualifying for an official case of the heebie-jeebies. The dead tunnel was windowless and grimy, and I felt as if we were walking into a mineshaft, not a morgue.
“So here we are.” Aunt Maggie’s voice took on a softer tone as if we had just entered a funeral home. “Looks a little longer than it did in the blueprints.”
We stepped gingerly through the open door with a sign hanging askew that read, “Hospital Personnel Only: No One Beyond This Point.”
Unless you’re dead, I thought. Then you are welcome to come on in and sit a spell.
“Aunt Maggie, we can still go get Howard. He’s roaming around somewhere here.”
“What are we? Chickens? We can do this, Betsy.” With that, she shined her red plastic heavy-duty flashlight down the tunnel. The tunnel seemed to go on and on, leading into absolute darkness. A million things could be down that hall. They could have stuffed it all with furniture or antiquated medical equipment that we would banging into at any moment, and that was my rational expectation. I wasn’t even acknowledging my irrational side. My aunt’s calling me a chicken did not quite raise my confidence and charge me up about getting down the dead tunnel.
I nodded my head dully in agreement as my eyes tried to lock onto anything solid in the dark.
“You’re making fun of me, I know, but it is true, Betsy. I sense something here. I just hope we can get this on tape when we have a thermal energy camera pointed at it.” According to Howard, a thermal energy camera would capture cold and hot spots that the human eye couldn’t see. We stepped forward, our footfalls now echoing against the chilled stone.
As Maggie spoke, I felt a cold breeze hit me. I clenched my bare arms as I felt goose bumps raise up on my skin. It seemed as if we had phantom air conditioning in this part of the hospital. Down at the end of the blackness I could hear a faint, high, chirping, clicking sound. Somehow I hadn’t imagined a ghost clicking at me. Maybe there were some tap-dancing spirits floating around.
“It has arrived,” Maggie whispered.
“No,” I said trying to squelch the shake that had come into my voice. “A … draft has arrived, that’s all.”
“Think what you want, my dear.”
She angled the wavering beam of light into the black recesses of the tunnel. From the other end of the tunnel, I could hear a distinct rustling sound as something headed our way.
“The apparition is coming near us,” Maggie sounded delighted.
“What should we do, Aunt Maggie?” I asked, the volume of my voice rising as the rustling became an increasing cacophony of noise.
Maggie looked down the passage and then yelled, “HOLD YOUR GROUND!” She stood with her hands placed firmly on her rounded hips as the wind started blowing her hat off, releasing the many stuffed strands of hair that had been under it. She looked like Medusa as the glow of her flashlight highlighted the snakes of hair surrounding her face.
The rustling sound increased. A thousand little clicking noises came at us as a cloud of pulsating blackness came out of the pitch black.
“This is dangerous, Aunt Maggie!” I shouted. “I’m not standing here, and neither are you!” I grabbed Maggie by the shoulders, preparing to lift her off the ground and carry her out if that was necessary.
“It might be a spirit of the dead!” she warbled above the din.
“Or it might be the spirit of something alive.” I turned her around, and we ran as the flashlight beam bobbed against the walls. I could feel something pulling at my hair and reached up to grab it. When I did, I could see the wingspan of a Mexican bat as it flapped out of my grasp. We careened out the door and slammed it behind us. We could hear the thud of a few bats hitting the door and then what sounded like the wings of hundreds of bats flapping as they turned back down the tunnel.
I turned around to see Maggie, leaning against the wall, holding her hat, trying to push the hair out of her face as her breath came out unevenly. “Are you all right?” I asked as we both panted at each other.
“Yes, a little jittery, but I’ll be fine.”
Teresa Trent wasn't born in Texas but after a few glasses of sweet tea and some exceptional barbecue she decided to stay. With a father in the Army, she found herself moved all over the world, settling down for a while in her teens in the state of Colorado. Her writing was influenced by all of the interesting people she found in small towns and the sense of family that seemed to be woven through them all. Teresa is a former high school teacher and received her degree from The University of Northern Colorado. Teresa is presently working on the third book in her Pecan Bayou Series. Her second book, Overdue For Murder, came out in June of 2012.
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