My writing straddles too many genres to be categorised. So I turned Indie. However, when my self-published, first novel made it to the Amazon bestseller list, I realised I had a niche: a group of readers around the world who liked what I wrote. They wanted to know what it meant to come of age in a complex environment like India.
So, my second novel Ruby Iyer, is about a teen protagonist coming of age in Bombay: a city already so post-apocalyptic in the today that I didn’t need to look further for dystopian settings. Its action-oriented plotline is inspired by the history, and events in the timeline of the city.
As I embark on the last mile with Ruby Iyer, I revisited a little of what I have picked up on the way. Here it is then, as a ten point strategy for aspiring Indie authors:
1. Identify your target audience: Like me, you may not write within a conventional genre, but you must have a niche. Find it. That is the starting point.
2. Once you know your niche, you must target your audience. Write for them. Let their needs overrule your preferences.
3. It still is all about the quality of what you write: perfect your craft, keep at it, spend time with your characters, learn how to plot. Put your time and money behind actually learning how to write.
4. Write the damn book. Just do it. I use SelfControl to block out social media and get the words out.
5. Once the book is complete, invest behind editing and the packaging. It will pay off, in loads.
6. Get the pricing right. Pricing is still the number one factor that influences discoverability for an author.
7. Now, let the social networks in. Be professional in your marketing, appeal to your target audience groups: identify their passion points online, go to where they are. Get the book in front of them.
8. SEO aids discoverability, if you can use it to help you, nothing like it. I have to admit I haven’t managed to master this one completely yet.
9. Write the next book: you need the bandwidth to see the income.
10. The long tail is important. Don’t ignore your audience between books. Personally, myblog and Facebook page have been invaluable in staying in touch with my readers. This is my tribe after all: where I really belong. And it’s not always about the writing. I try to share a little of what I am thinking, what I see everyday. It’s a more genuine way of keeping in touch.