Friday, March 04, 2011

For/From Indie Authors: Jason W. Chan

Jason W. Chan has been reading and writing for as long as he can remember. His favorite writers include Nicholas Sparks and Stephen King. His favorite films include Titanic, Beauty and the Beast, A Chinese Ghost Story. As for music, no one can beat Celine Dion. He lives in Canada.

Advice:
So you're an aspiring author, right? Wrong! Get rid of the "aspiring" part. I hate that word. As long as you write, then you're an author. You are not an aspiring author. You are already an author. What you want to be is an established author. That's the right word. And how do you do that? Here's my advice:
  • Write and read a lot. You have to take your craft seriously. As Stephen King said, if you don't read and write 6 hours a day, then you're not going to improve. If you want to be really good at something - good enough to make it your profession - there is going to be a lot of sacrifices. This means canceling certain fun activities once in a while (such as hanging out with you friends) in order to dedicate yourself entirely to your craft. People who are the best at what they do started young, but if you can't do that, then the next best thing is to immerse yourself in doing it as often as possible. There's no time like the present, so stop procrastinating and get started. Only then will you improve. As for reading, don't read only in your genre. Read widely. Read everything and get a sense and feel for language. Good writers must be frequent readers. 
  • Successful authors must balance being an artist and being a businessman. Publishing is, after all, a business. It doesn't matter if you've written the best novel in the world. How can anyone find it and read it if they don't know about it? This means plenty of promotion on your part. Use facebook, blogs, twitter and all other weapons at your disposal. When you're an indie author, you are the author, the editor, the proofreader, the cover artist, the publisher and the marketing director all in one. No one else has your best interests at heart other than yourself. Of course, the art is important too, but if you ignore the business part, then be prepared to languish in obscurity for the rest of your writing career. I don't know if you're OK with that, but I'm not.
  • Create a great cover! Do it yourself if you know how. If not, hire a good cover artist. There are plenty of affordable yet excellent cover artists out there. You know the saying "Never judge a book by its cover?" Well, people do it anyway. When you put out a print book, people do it. When you put out an e-book, people do it even more. Since there is no physical copy, the cover is even more important in ebook publishing. Ignore this advice at your own peril.

Becoming a successful author is possible. Look at all those big names out there: Stephen King, JK Rowling, Nicholas Sparks. Just work hard, believe in yourself, and take initiative. 

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