Nick Spalding is a very successful author with indie roots, who went on to sign a six-figure book deal. Back in 2003, he gave us his top 10 self-publishing tips. I’ve posted them below with excerpts:
1. Don’t give up the day job
“Everyone wants to live the dream and write full time, but it is a very difficult industry to get into and a very difficult industry to stay in. Learn to write around your day job in the beginning, that’s what I did.”
2. Be yourself
You have to be yourself in your writing. You have to pick a genre that suits you as a person and you as a writer. If you are a happy go lucky person it might not be best to write about a serial killer or vice versa.
3. Find a muse
When I’m writing, I’m always thinking about which things [my partner] will laugh at, so she is my muse in that manner. It’s important to have someone you can give your manuscript to first because it is still quite an intimate thing at that stage.
4. Read On Writing by Stephen King
On Writing by Stephen King is, for me at least, the best book there is on writing. He gives lots of advice. The tone of it, the style of it, the things he says about how much he writes every day and his attitude towards the job are great. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to be a writer.
5. Promote your work
You should certainly have a social media presence, you should tweet, blog and Facebook, but you don’t want to irritate readers.
Nobody wants to see “buy my book, buy my book” over and over again. Tweet about your life, tweet about things you find interesting and mix it up.
6. Remember that books aren’t burgers
The most important thing to remember when you write a book and release it, that you are entering into a relationship with the reader and you owe it to them to provide a product that is as professional as possible.
Books aren’t burgers – they are not instantly consumable things and they shouldn’t be rushed.
7. Try every possible avenue
I’ve got a great agent now. He’s got me some great deals and, in that respect, I think an agent is still a good commodity to have. I’ve got a traditional publishing contract now, too, but it doesn’t stop me from self-publishing.
I love that because it’s how I started and it’s not something I’m ashamed of. What the self-publishing thing does is give you another avenue. There is no need to go down one avenue and not the other these days, you can do both.
8. Don’t get bummed out by bad reviews
It’s what you get on average that really counts. If you put a book out there and six months later you’ve got a hundred one star reviews, chances are you might be doing something wrong.
9. Don’t take it all too seriously
I tend to write in the mornings and I generally do at least 2,000 words a day. Sometimes that takes hours, sometimes it takes an hour depending on what kind of mood I’m in.
I write in the spare room. It’s not a study, it’s a room with a desk, a bog standard PC and a clothes airer. My routine is basically to make myself a cup of coffee, sit down and try to churn out 2,000 words.
10. Read comic books
Exercise is important when you are a writer otherwise give it two years and you’ll just be a potato.
Make sure you have a good social circle around you too, people you see on a regular basis, otherwise you will just stay indoors all day every day and become weird. And if you don’t like Batman you won’t get anywhere. Liking Batman is absolutely vital to being a successful author.
I asked Nick Spalding on Twitter if he would add, remove or revise anything on this list. He was kind enough to give me a reply.
In my next blog post, I’ll respond to these tips and explain if I follow them or not.