Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR QUICK START GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING and to be notified when the 3rd Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide releases!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tips for Authors (To Make Your Life Better)

You don't have to be a robot from the future to get stuff done

There are approximately 1 billion tiny tips and tricks that indie authors use every day to make their lives easier - because, holy Exploding Kittens, there's way too much to do when you're writing, formatting, publishing, social-media-ing all your own IP (Intellectual Property, in our case, books).

So here are my random Wednesday-morning tips. I'm not going to detail every minute thing about HOW to do these... I'm just giving you the heads up that these things exist. It's up to you to put it into action (I have wordcount targets to hit today!).

  1. Join An Author Group on Facebook  - I get most of my latest tips from these amazing groups. Use wisely, because you can spend all your time in there discussing the latest dino porn breakout success, or you can actually find out useful stuff. Be cool and share - that's how these things work. Look for ones in your genre or at your level of experience (or with a smallish range). Pool resources in your author group. For a couple of mine, I recently set up a database to compare results from various ads (Bookbub of course, but also Midlist, Freebooksy, lots of others). Here's an example you can copy/use for your own group - make a copy of the form here.
  2. Affiliate Links - Use them. They're a pain, I know, but dude... free money. And part of running a business is leveraging your IP every way you can, and also diversifying your income so you can offset some of the ups and downs. Having affiliate links (to Amazon, and now iTunes) for your books means you will earn a little bit more each month. And it can add up... I usually make $50-100 a month. This month is more like $300 due to a special author event I was involved in. 
  3. Smarturl - Use them. Smart URLs are redirectable (which cannot do). Whole post about that here.
  4. Call To Action on Your Facebook Page - Just discovered these (FB is rolling them out). Now, your Facebook Page may go the way of the dinosaur soon (never know when FB is *actually* going to start charging for stuff, but they already limit visibility in lots of ways), but hey, as long as it's here... put an affiliate link in that call to action to your author page on Amazon. (see how this all starts to work together... ahhh...)
  5. 99 cent titles - if you write shorts or serials, put them in Kindle Unlimited. You will get $1.30 or more on a 99cent title that is actually *free* to your customer... say what? Free money, folks (at least until Amazon stops funding it or changes the rules). If you insist on going wide with your 99cent titles, then distribute them through D2D to get a 60% royalty instead of 35% (at least on B&N and Kobo). More on that here.
  6. Use Scrivener to Organize - this saves my life every day. I don't write in it, but I use it to organize my writing life... including marketing! A post like this one would go in my "look at it later" pile and I would get around to it on a "marketing day" devoted to just that. More on that here.
  7. Track Your Writing - the single best thing I did in 2014 (and continue to use) is a tracker to keep on target with my writing. All I do is put numbers in a spreadsheet, keep a running tally, and record my mood (or what's going on) for the day. But humans respond to what they measure, and tracking when you *don't* write can be as valuable as when you do. Here's what my spreadsheet looks like:

Write on, my friends!

Share your tips in the comments!


  1. Love it!

    Question: What do you use the "Pages" Column for?

    1. Ah! I think that's a leftover from when I was estimating how many pages the final product would be (250 words/page).

  2. I hated my one run-in with KDP Select, but yeah, 99¢ titles should DEFINITELY go in there! And free money on affiliate links is soooooo key. Nice list!

  3. Simply tremendous stuff, Susan. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  4. Lol, I thought I was the only one who did those bizarre spreadsheets. Nice to know others muse over all those details as well:)

  5. I use Scrivener to write but never considered using the program for that level of organization, that's a fantastic idea! I've been toying around with MS OneNote for a few months but I think I'll try your approach and see how that goes.

  6. Excellent post with lots of useful tips..Thanks for sharing..I am sure this post will be very useful for every authors who are looking forward for new level..

  7. in each blog do not necessarily provide a quality article but here I could find that I was looking for thanks

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Erudite comments from thoughtful readers