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Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) (The Smarter Artist Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Forget everything you know about 'publishing' and embrace online publishing as a business. Gone are the days when you either strike gold or starve. There's a good income to be earned in the middle. Do what they tell you and it's as simple as that. It is hard work, you will have to write a lot and you must not give up. But so few careers guarantee you increasing returns the more you work these days. They're not promising you'll get rich, but if you want to be a writer, to quit your day job, to have financial freedom, this is where you start.
It has worked for me.
I find myself stuck in the middle on this. See, I’ve been self-publishing for a few years now and only within the last year have found any real success. Did I do it by following the Realm and Sands model? Nope. I only recently discovered these guys and their Self-Publishing Podcast about a month ago, after I’d already made around $10,000 on ONE self-published $0.99 novel. But was it by relying on luck? Hell no. I DO believe I got lucky with that novel, but I also think I made that luck by writing the best dern book I could, re-writing, editing, and making it as good as possible.
But I digress. We’re here to talk about WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT. I’ve been writing for over 20 years but I picked up this book anyway because they say on their Self-Publishing Podcast that this book works as the book version of the pod cast. And since I really like the pod cast, I assumed I would like the book--not to mention, even 20+ years in, you never really stop learning how to write better. Having just finished the book last night, I have to say thank God this book ISN’T the written version of their pod cast.
On air, they seem to have trouble actually getting to their topic sometimes--Platt is easily distracted and tends to ramble while Truant sometimes reminds me of my mother in that both of them have a hard time getting to the point of their sentence without at least two “and by the way” detours. No offense to the guys, they know I’m right. And in the end, who cares, I’m still listening to at least two episodes a day trying to catch up to their, at present, 87 shows.
The book is laid out pretty clearly, giving some info on the authors before delving into the writing and publishing aspects. They cover topics like writing and editing, cover design, marketing, the usual stuff a self-publisher is going to need. But then they go further and talk about the things I was most interested in, the things that weren’t “things” when I was first starting out, like “Gathering Your Tribe” or “Understanding Funnels” (this topic interested me the most and it’s the one I wish I’d known about years ago). Most of this book, though, seems geared toward the true newcomer, the guy who is really just getting started, with chapters like “Terms You Should Know” (1,000 True Fans, The 80/20 Rule, Call to Action), “The List of Myths” (Self-Publishing Is What You Do When You Can’t Publish Traditionally, yeah maybe 8-9 years ago. The stigma is mostly gone now, though, and authors can actually make a living at this) and “How to Avoid Looking Like an Amateur” (which is basic stuff you shouldn’t have to be told anyway, like edit meticulously and double-check everything).
The middle section tended to drag for me and several discussions felt repeated ad nauseum--they went on WAY too long about marketing--but they did state upfront the book is a reference guide and is designed so it can be read out of order and still make sense, and that some things would be repeated throughout. So at least I knew it was coming. But it didn’t make the book read any faster, so it still dragged in places.
Do I think anyone out there can read this book and they’ll have the can’t-miss template for success in their hands? No. I’m not saying no one can do it, but I do believe the formula these guys have hit on is one unique to them. There may be a few copycats who decide to adopt the “episodes” and “seasons” method, who may start writing “beats” and cranking out 13,000 words in a day, but they’ll just be copycats and I truly believe that, to make it in this business, you can’t copy anyone else’s success. You can learn from it, you can take bits and pieces here and there from other writers, but a straight trace of their trajectory? No, I don’t believe it will happen. Not to any degree that matters.
What I think is that you have to find your own path. This book is not meant to act as a roadmap--at least I hope it’s not--but more of a “these are the methods we used, take what you can from it and godspeed”. Because, really, at the end of the day, we don’t need a 100,000 word guide on how to be successful at this. When you get right down to, they summed it up before you even opened the book. You write. You publish. You repeat.
You can understand marketing and tribes and funnels and calls to action and all that other stuff until you’re a walking encyclopedia, but the most important--the ONLY important--factors at work here are the also the simplest. Write. Publish. Repeat.
I have no idea why my novel hit the way it did last year. But I guarantee you if I hadn’t spent years and YEARS writing and writing and getting better and learning, and if I hadn’t worked that product description to death, and if I hadn’t already published dozens of short stories and novellas, learning cover design and layout, and if I hadn’t priced it to sell (DWS and KKR can say all that want that people see a $0.99 novel and automatically think “why is it so cheap, there must be something wrong with it”, but that’s crap and I and over 30,000 other people see a $0.99 novel and think “it’s the genre I like and I can afford it. Sweet!”), I’d still be working two jobs (I eventually raised the price, but only when sales started to slow down anyway). I wrote. I published. I repeated.
But that’s 20 years of experience already. If I had only been writing a few years by now, and I came across this book, then yes, I would definitely feel I had an advantage. The heart with which this book is written, the passion that comes through when they’re talking about going where the puck is headed, not to mention their no guts no glory approach, it’s all so completely infectious (that’s why I keep listening even to the old pod casts, because the joy they seem to derive from doing this day in and day out, it makes you feel good about your own work and it makes you want to get back to that novel and write, write, then write some more), you can’t help but just keep reading and reading. I wasn’t even going to read this book yet, I bought it to read later, but I opened it on the treadmill one day and just sort of abandoned the horror anthology I had been in the middle of reading before. Infectious.
While good chunks of this reference guide were not relevant to me or my path, I do think it’s a pretty comprehensive book and one writers at all levels of experience can take something valuable from.
I talk a lot about what worked for me in this review of someone else’s work, because I’m trying to show that the method they use isn’t THE method, that it’s different for everyone and you can still succeed by doing your own thing. In the end, you have to do what works FOR YOU. This is just one way, and Truant and Platt aren’t necessarily saying this what you have to do to make it as a successful indie author. What they ARE saying is, these are the tools that will most help you in getting there, but the hard part you still have to do on your own. In that regard, WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT works really well and I’d say after THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, after ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING, and after ON WRITING, this is the next writing guide you should definitely own. It won’t make you rich, but it will awaken that drive and will absolutely inspire you to stop wasting time and put words on the dang page. Shut up and write.
Later on, I found their podcast. I didn't like it at first, because they talked a lot about themselves and their own work, it was riddled with in-jokes, and had no structure whatsoever. This time, however, I was persistent, and I kept listening. Little by little, I became quite fond of the Self Publishing Podcast, and now I like it for what it is. Given their shameful self-promotion throughout the show, I've been reminded time and again of the publishing guide I had rotting away on my Kindle, so I gave it another try, starting over from scratch.
Thing is, Write Publish Repeat is very much like the podcast: There's quite a lot of good marketing tips in there, but it does keep going and going and repeating itself. They keep telling how the book became twice as long as they intended, but by some harsh editing they could've kept both the intended length and all the hard content. If I wanted to read their podcast, well, there's always Caption Access™, right?
My main problem with this format is that I really needed to know them from the podcast to appreciate the book, and by listening extensively to the podcast I'd already picked up about all the advice that they're giving in the book. To me, that constitutes a paradox, and I'm thinking "so who the hell is this book really meant for?". The customer rating average proves me wrong, of course.
If you have all the time in the world (which, according to the authors, you don't, because you should be on your ass writing), I'd rather recommend you listen to the entire podcast history, but if you're in dire need of advice right now and don't mind sifting through way too many pages of self promotion to find that advice, give this one a go.
The book does a really good job initially in telling what it expects from the reader and what the reader should expect from the book, so at least get the sample and see if you fit the description or if it pisses you off. In my experience, it did both, but at least I was prepared and still I read the damn thing. The only reason I feel justified to give this 3 stars is that it won't affect the overall score.
Creativity Business Plan for Artists and Artists at Heart: A Step by Step guide from discovery to implementation of your Creative Potential