Thursday 1 August 2013

Rene Folsom Take Over


Practical Advice for Beginning Indie Writers

When I began to write, I was lucky enough to have several contacts with authors and bloggers through my cover design business.  Having those contacts really helped me through the self-publishing process.  However, I know there are many new and aspiring authors who may not be so lucky to have helpful connections.  So, in order to help some aspiring authors, here are a few essential self-publishing recommendations I’ve learned along the way.


Editors are essential to the writing process and, no matter what the cost, they’re worth every single penny.  I’ve met several indie authors who insist on self-editing.  Self-editing is VERY hard.  No matter how skilled someone is with editing and proofing other works, editing your own writing is a whole different ballgame.  I rely on my editor to make my stories as professional as possible so my readers aren't distracted by unnecessary typos.  The last thing you will want is a bad review because of poor editing.  Here are a few suggested editors:

Cover Design

If you have no graphic design experience, hire a cover designer.  There are many readers who do judge a book by its cover—at least initially.  Your first impression is vital to your success.  You want your cover to scream “click me!” when the reader is scrolling through the infinite amount of thumbnails on the internet.  I design all my own covers, but I am actually a graphic designer by trade.  I’ve been a graphic designer for over ten years, so this stage of the self-publishing process comes easy for me.  Many cover designers have affordable pre-made covers that can make the process easy.  Here are a few suggested cover artists:

Beta readers

I’ve noticed the use of beta readers is often misunderstood with new indie authors.  Betas are a select few people you share your edited manuscript with to get feedback on plot and flow.  Some betas may even help point out any additional typos that could have slipped by the editor (editors are only human).  Beta readers will often like to review your book after it is published. So be prepared for honest feedback from them.  They don’t beta read to fangirl and lift your spirits.  They do this so you can receive honest feedback about your story before publishing.  I do have a few beta readers I use for all my publications, but I do not give their names out directly.  While friends can make great test subjects, they are often not the best when it comes to beta reading because they will often avoid giving you any bad news.  You will want to find a few people you can trust who aren’t afraid to give it to you straight.  Constructive criticism is the only way you will improve.

Interior formatting

If you're not proficient in a word processor, you may want to hire someone to format the interior of the book as well.  I know quite a few authors who are able to do this on their own, so it's not always necessary to hire someone, as long as you follow the directions for each website (i.e. KDP has different specifications than Smashwords, etc.).


Promoting yourself is probably more challenging than the actual process of publishing because of how time consuming it can be.  My first word of advice is to be kind to everyone, even when they're not kind to you.  No one likes a whiny author.  Try to separate your personal life from your author life.  You can sneak a few personal things into your author "appearance", but just enough to show the readers you are human and likable.  Readers thrive on fiction writing to escape reality.  To burden them with your problems when you’re trying to promote yourself will cause readers to avoid your posts.  It is helpful, especially in the beginning, to participate in giveaways and always jump on the opportunity to do interviews and guest posts.


Make friends with bloggers.  Not only are they the coolest people on the planet, but they are also very helpful in getting your name out there.


Thick skin is essential when it comes to reviews.  Take all negative reviews with a grain of salt.  Some of them can actually be helpful in making yourself grow as an author.  Of course, there are always the few people who just like to complain, in which case, readers will likely not take their review seriously anyway.  Try not to respond to negative reviews, even when you desperately want to defend yourself.  I’ve decided it would be best for me to leave all reviews without a response, whether they're positive or negative.  I always try to thank my reviewers down the line with giveaways or shout-outs of some kind.


If you are capable of self-publishing, do it.  Publishers are very helpful if you do not have the up front costs for editing and cover design.  They're also able to help quite a bit with promotion.  However, I have come to realize that there are too many people who "think" they can become a publisher and end up doing a sub-par job.  There are many great publishing houses out there, but the ones who accept your book without even reading it are the ones you should stay away from.  Only accept an agreement with a publisher because they want you and believe in you—not because they want to make money from your success.  All publishers take a percentage of your royalties.  Only do it if they truly have something to offer you in return.

  • Clean Teen Publishing - is an example of a great publisher.  However, I am unsure of their acceptance of adult or erotica books.

  • Avon Romance - - I’ve never had experience with Avon Romance myself, but I’ve heard good things about them from other erotica authors.

I hope this little bit of advice helps those who are aspiring to publish their works.  Everyone has a story to tell.  Success lies with those who have the passion to share their soul with the world.

Rene-Folsom-HeadshotAbout Rene Folsom

My name is Rene Folsom, Author of paranormal romance and erotica. I live in Florida with my husband and three kids. I have officially diagnosed myself with creative ADD and, if it weren't for my day job as a web programmer, I would have a million and one writing projects going at once. In addition to web design, I am also a graphic artist who loves to create custom book cover designs for indie authors. I am definitely an artist at heart and would love nothing more than to be elbow deep in clay during my waking hours. I believe that all fiction is based on some form of reality—otherwise we would never have the inspiration or knowledge to dream up the realistic situations we portray with our words. I am proud to say that my personal experiences have been inspirational, though perhaps not always identical to that of my fictional characters. Where reality and fantasy diverge, however, must remain my little secret…

Published Books

Soul Seers Series

Roommate Romance Series


Stalker Links






Rene has very kindly put together a great giveaway for you all!

giveaway book-heart


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