Write Like a Boss
You’ve been thinking for ages about that idea for a novel, desperate to make a start on it. But if you’re looking at making a career in publishing, I’m going to tell you to stop right now. Put the laptop away, or the pen down if you still insist on long hand, and take a deep breath.
Be calm and listen to your inner thoughts.
Once you finish your first novel, you’re going to need to write more if you want to succeed. After your first novel is out, you need to make a start on the next. If you’re someone who gets stuck on ideas, then you’re not going to be in a position to make a start. I’m going to suggest something that I do and works for me.
Stop and Think
Don’t start your novel until you have at least one idea for the next. Think about a potential second novel. I’m not telling you to go into all the details, but at the very least have a strong idea, even if it’s just a one sentence idea. It’ll be in the back of your mind and will grow alongside the one you’re currently writing.
I’m not a planner. I don’t write outlines because I find them a waste of time when my target is to finish a novel in three months. All I need is a strong idea and I’m away, the characters coming along as the idea and plot dictate.
If you’re writing a series, then it’s easier because you’re telling one long story that’s broken up. You don’t need to think up the settings or the characters, because it’s a continuation. People love a series and they tend to sell well on Amazon. If reader’s like your first book, they’ll want to follow you. Having a series will generate sales as your readers wait for the release of the next one. If you’re stuck on ideas after the first book, you’ll not have that motivation to get going. Write fast, be keen. Those fans of your first book could have lost interest if the next one isn’t following close to the first.
With a book series, I’d be tempted to hold off publishing the first one until the second one is a finished first draft. Redrafting novels can take a good three months, then add another month on if you send it to an editor. Another month prepping the cover and sending out early reviews. At that rate, the book will be ready 5 months after the release of the first one. Two books a year is a nice target to aim for in the early stages, or a minimum of one a year. No one wants to be forgotten and lost in the thousands of books already on Amazon. Competition is fierce and you need to stand out and be noticed.
Stand Alone Work
If you’re not writing a series, still be prolific with your releases. With a large back catalogue of books, you can work on generating sales for them. Get people interested in your older books so they’re more likely to buy your new book, so long as your genre is constant. By this, I mean you can't expect to release horror, then get those same readers to read a romance. I’ve followed a few tips and found I could get sales on books that hadn’t shifted for ages, so always remember the potential of having a back catalogue you can continue to sell even if your ideas have dried up.
If readers like your writing, they’re going to want more of it and quickly. Don’t disappoint them. For every great indie book that’s released, there are thousands more. You need to be prolific and create a fanbase. Releasing a book every two years or more risks being forgotten, washed away and lost in the huge digital world of Amazon. Besides, the more novels you write, the better you’ll become.
My tips are:
Don’t write your first novel until you have an idea for the second.
Release at least one book a year, two if you can manage it.
Push your older releases before you release something new in order to generate interest in the new one.
Create an idea book and actively look for new ideas.
Keep your muse busy, or it’ll sulk, forever remaining silent because you neglected it.
Kevin Grover is an indie author of supernatural thrillers. His books are on Amazon and his website, Indie Bookshelf, shares various tips and experiences about his indie career.