Guest Post by Brina Courtney, author of Cryptid Tales (+ Giveaway!)
Joining us today is Brina Courtney, debut author of the Cryptid Tales series! She kicked off her blog tour yesterday at her own site. Today she’s visiting with us to share some great tips for self-published writers. Like all great publishing advice, this info also applies to indie and traditionally published writers.
Make sure you read through to the end: we’re giving away an ARC of Reveal! Take it away, Brina…
“Shay Tafford is not normal. Being a cryptid is not normal. Seeing ghosts is not normal. Her father’s disappearance is not normal. Lucky for Shay, Hugh isn’t normal either. So when he enters her life through her dead best friend Shay knows he may be her only chance at a normal life. A life she is desperately searching for.” (Via Goodreads)
My name is Brina and I’m an indie author. I write something every day. And lucky for me, people actually read it. Currently I have a series out called Cryptid Tales, which is what this post will focus on. But I also have a work in progress called Cassie Claire’s Cult Life.
Tip #1: Be sure you can write cross genre.
It’s tres importante to paying the bills. Cryptid Tales, specifically Reveal, was written because I’m a reader. I read mostly YA paranormal and I found myself recently wanting more. So when I lost my job as a second grade teacher, I grabbed my laptop, and told my husband I was going to write a series of books about genetic mutation. And God love him, he said “Good luck,” and smiled a big toothy grin.
Tip #2: Find someone who will always support you.
Especially if you’re working a normal day job too. Your life is different as a writer. I spend about four hours a day writing and/or marketing for my book or my review site. That’s after I come home from work, make dinner, coach a cheering squad and walk my two dogs. Let’s just say my house isn’t the cleanest right now!
When I was about 90% done with Cryptid Tales: Reveal, I decided to start the lengthy and scary process of writing query letters. I participated in #askaneditor and #askagent hashtags on Twitter to make sure my letter would be just right. I even had some interest from agents. It was really exciting! But then as I began talking with them, I put a few things together.
- Possible publication date, if anyone snatched it up, 2013 maybe. I used to teach Kindergarten, therefore my patience is highly limited (aka NONE). I just couldn’t wait that long.
- There were other writers out there going through the same thing and were quite successful by going indie.
- I was already reading their books and couldn’t tell the difference.
So then I did something really scary. I e-mailed a bunch of authors and asked for their advice and help. From everyone it was the same: The decision it yours, but it worked for me, let me know if I can help. It was awe inspiring. All these people who didn’t know a thing about me or my writing, were offering their help. Telling me I could do it. I could be successful at this thing called being an author. So I made my decision to go indie and started looking for a cover artist (I know NOTHING about graphic design). I asked around to a lot of designers, some couldn’t fit in my budget, some didn’t see my vision, some were already too busy and couldn’t add me onto their load.
And then I found Lady Reine and we made two beautiful covers together. She totally understood what I was going for. I asked photographer and model friends to help me with the shot. Everything was done inside my budget and looked exactly the way I wanted it to. Then I talked to a friend who does book editing and asked her to join my team.
Tip #3: There is an I in team.
You need to appreciate the people who help you, but it’s your work and your name on the line, fight for the moments you love and the images you want to create. They’ll understand.
In the middle of all my excitement to go indie and my research as to what marketing works, I decided to release a short story Ignite for free. There’s success in going free when you have the second book on the market. I didn’t, wish I did, but Reveal just wasn’t ready. Also going free doesn’t happen overnight, took me almost a month.
Tip #4: Go with the flow and don’t pull your hair out.
Seriously you would be totally bald by the end. Wigs anyone?
Lastly I did final rewrites on Reveal and watched the numbers climb on Ignite on Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. People are actually reading what I wrote down. People I’ve never met. It’s incredible.
Tip #5: Ask for help.
So here I am with my last and final tip. I’m only on this blog today because I asked to be and these wonderful people were kind enough to let me talk to you about what my indie experience has been like. I have over ten blogs on my tour because people were nice and said yes. Number five is the most important thing in indie publishing, because honestly you can’t go at it alone and be successful.
I measure my success by how many people read and love my books. I promise that I’ll let you know how successful I’ve been once this is all over. This has turned out to be a much more serious post than I intended but I guess it should be, because your work is serious, it’s your passion. Reach for the moon, and you’ll land among the stars.
Thanks for the words of wisdom, Brina. Now, for the giveaway of her kick-butt debut novel! Here’s the rules: to be eligible for the ARC, comment on this post and tell Brina how awesome she is. For extra chances to win, subscribe to the Writer’s Revue feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter–we’ll pick randomly from the entries and announce the winner Monday evening!
If you’d like to get a taste for Brina’s paranormal tale, she is offering a short story based in the same universe for FREE on Smashwords. Download it here!