When asked, 'How do you write?' I invariably answer, 'one word at a time.'
If you're a new writer and trying to find the path to getting your words in front of readers, then indie publishing is one of the fastest.
Just recently, two well known authors wrote, edited and published new stories in the course of a single day. A few tweets, some posts on Facebook, and their fans were reading the new stories. And isn't that the goal?
How to get started?
When I'd first written a book, I had no idea what I was doing other than putting words on paper. I scoured the web, looking for answers to the questions I had, only to find that in most cases, I'd been asking the wrong questions. Publishing is a business: traditional or otherwise. Regardless of the success level you're after, put the time and effort into writing as much as you would with any other job.
Where did I find answers? How did I take that next step? I found Kindleboards.com, which has since been renamed to KBoards.com. Of particular value is the Writer's Cafe. I found myself visiting every day, asking questions, and even answering a few. I can't say enough about the community and how amazingly helpful the cafe is. I didn't personally know a single author before starting this journey. From the cafe, I've met dozens and have made new friendships.
There are a few recommendations that I kept, and still visit for a refresher every few months.
The first is Stephen King's On Writing: a must read! And when you finish reading it, then read it again. I'm not kidding.
Around the time of publishing my first book, Hugh Howey's Wool blew up. What an amazing run to watch, reading post after post at the cafe, wondering how far the story would go. Simply amazing.
From that success, Hugh gave back in the form of some fabulous blog posts. One post in particular was his advice to aspiring authors—bookmark his post and revisit it a few times a month and fill-up on inspiration. After all, inspiration is the secret sauce of every successful writer.
A piece of advice from Hugh's post that I've adopted is the balance of writing vs. everything else. Terrific writer and friend, Kay Bratt shares a similar message, and today I approach writing with this in mind. Today I'm a writer. Tomorrow I'll be a writer. I'll continue to be a writer and build my library for as long as I can. I've got the rest of my life to market and promote, but I have today to write.
I'll be the first to admit that promoting and marketing, and all that comes with it is not something that I commit as much time. When given the choice, I'll always side with putting my time into writing.
Once you've written your first story, you'll be in a position to hit the publish button. What are some of the tools and resources that I use? The list below is a basic list, which has been refined, and will continue to be updated as the tools continue to evolve.
Word - I put Microsoft Word first simply because nearly every platform that you can submit to will accept manuscripts in Word format. From Agents, to Amazon KDP and KindleWorlds, to every editor, Word is supported.
Pages - Apple's most excellent word processor, this is what I use every day. My love affair with this word processor blossomed a few years ago, but then with Apple's 5.0 release, the love has wilted some and I've started to feel a bit lost. The fix (though somewhat temporary) was to stay with version 4.3.
Scrivener - Quite a few authors have moved their entire writing workflow to the Scrivener platform. There isn't much that you can't do with Scrivener. After all story changes, and the umpteenth draft from the editor is vetted, it is time to format. You can always send the work out and have a service perform the formatting, but I like to do my own and Scrivener is one of the easiest.
Photoshop and InDesign - For cover work and print formatting. And like the eBook formatting, there are plenty of services out there, offering book covers and print formatting. I let time and challenge dictate the need. For the more ambitious covers, I go outside. The same is true for print formatting too.
Editors - I cannot emphasize enough just how very important it is to have your manuscript properly edited. If your manuscript is on the traditional publishing path then you can skip this step. However, if you're publishing on your own, then find an editor and work with them.
If you're lucky, you'll find a copy editor who can't help themselves and will wear the development editor's hat while working with your manuscript. Editors are readers first and can help a story shine with just a little bit of tugging and pushing.
Writer's Cafe - mentioned above. Stop right now, visit the Writer's Cafe and bookmark that page!!