There has never been a better time than now to be an author. It is simply amazing how many doors are open, especially since the rise of eBooks. Big-name publishers are at their wits end, particularly if they stubbornly insist on the good old print-centric gatekeeping. Penguin Books publishing recently got burned in the self-publishing business due to their shady partnership with Author Solutions. However, even Penguin Books is realizing the importance of this new market. Evidently, the migration toward greener pastures was in the hope of keeping away from being on the top of the endangered species list.
Since the start of the year, I’ve been working at Grammarly, a natural linguistics start-up in San Francisco, understanding how writers write. Inevitably, this has given me countless opportunities to engage in rather fascinating conversations with authors from a myriad of backgrounds. Not surprisingly, much of their lament with writing had to do specifically with editing and publishing. The thing is, publishing a book has never been easier. With the current offerings, amateur writers have more say over what is sold on the market. This generation of eBooks has turned the tables on publishers. Let me share the major approaches some successful amateur authors have used to break into the scene.
Firstly, regular writing on public platforms is paramount to getting heard. More than 1.4 million blog posts are published every single day. This gargantuan amount of posts might leave you baffled; your ego must have died a little inside knowing what a pointless tease blogging might be. However, here’s the astonishing bit–every day, 57 million people in the US alone read blogs. Quite predictably, these platforms are the perfect place for gaining a fan base for your writing. What’s more, you cannot discount the need for serious practice before you jump full-swing into the realm of self-publishing. Test your ideas here; see how your audience responds, and go back to your workroom to create a unique voice for yourself. At this stage, consistency in posting on your blog every few days and responding to readers’ comments are vital for your success.
At the same time, you will want to be actively marketing your blog. The easiest and perhaps fastest way to do this is through social media. Post on Twitter and Facebook every time you write a new post. Keep your titles short, thought-provoking, or pleasantly witty to grab the attention of the social media community. Plonk in the link to your blog in your e-mail signature, and take the initiative to promote your blog; Google will not be doing the work for you just because your writing is in cyberspace. Social housekeeping takes hard work, but if you get it right, you will be elevating yourself to another level. Your readers will bring in other readers, and the exponential increase to your fan base will be worth it.
Another issue always discussed around the writer’s table is ideas. It’s amusing to see writers picking each other’s brains, hoping to get inspiration for their next big piece. Interesting topics don’t come by every day, yet it is essential to keep writing. One article I find very helpful to poke me into the right direction is ‘105 Author Blog Prompts’, an article presented by Duolit. Reading their list from marketing posts to creative writing prompts always gives me hints of inspiration.
However, perhaps the most daunting task for any writer is immaculate language. There is a reason why professional authors place so much emphasis on editors. To join the ranks of top writers, having anything less than perfect grammar is just unheard of. The secret weapon many authors have turned to in ensuring perfection isGrammarly, an online proofreading system. Not only isGrammarly a fraction of the cost of a professional editor, it is also more accurate and much faster than any humanly-possible rate.Grammarly has the ability to grammar-check the entire manuscript, picking out precise errors 10 times more consistently than any conventional word processor. Grammarly can also be functioned to suit every document type, ensuring appropriate language for academic essays, presentations, creative writing, reviews, and blogs. Trust me–once you try Grammarly, you will not understand how you ever survived without it.
From speaking to authors of the round table, I have definitely learned a whole lot more about writing, self-publishing, and marketing. Let us know some tips and tricks you use to get yourself heard.