Friday, March 18, 2011

For/From Indie Authors: K.C. May

K.C. May grew up in the mid-western USA and in Hawaii, and earned a B.A. in Russian from Florida State University. After a year in Taiwan teaching English and studying Mandarin Chinese, she lived in the Arizona desert for 24 years before retreating to cooler, greener Georgia. She earns her living as a full-time writer and shares a home with her cat, Diego de la Vega, and her rottweiler, Dandie.
Advice:
  • Edit, edit, edit! The biggest complaint about self-published work is the lack of editing. It's easy to get overeager to release our books, but publishing books with grammatical or spelling errors on every page or every other page is going to anger readers and damage your reputation. Readers who are disappointed in your first book won't buy your second, and building a readership is essential for a successful writing career. Disappointed readers leave bad reviews. Bad reviews turn off potential readers.
  • Get critical, honest feedback from beta readers before you publish. Avoid using family members or friends who want to encourage you -- they aren't reliable as beta readers because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Find strangers who don't mind ripping your story to shreds! Listen to their advice, but always remember that it's YOUR story, not theirs, and if their advice works against your story, disregard it. And remember: don't take criticism personally. It's all about the story and the way it's told. You want to do your story justice and do the best job you can. Sometimes criticism is hard to hear. Sleep on it, and you may find yourself agreeing with some of their points later. I know I do!
  • Once you've published, do NOT review your own books. Don't even think about it. Some writers might think they're fooling people by creating multiple Amazon accounts under fictitious names and leaving 5-star reviews for their own books, but they aren't. Trying to pull a stunt like that will damage your reputation. Instead, send free copies of your books to established book bloggers -- people who read and write reviews as a hobby. There are quite a few who will review indie books and who have established a reputation for being honest and reliable. If they won't review your book, see #1.
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