Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Writing 101: Making the Switch from Indie to Traditional

For some authors, self-publishing is just a starting point. But making the switch from indie to traditional isn't as easy as writing a hit book, waiting to get noticed and hoping the phone calls start coming. If you do a little bit more work, you could even make this change happen yourself. 


Changing Your Spots

Indie authors enjoy a lot of freedom, but it's not something that suits all writers. It is possible to switch from self-publishing to more traditional publishing, but don't wait for it to happen on its own. See if you can make it happen for yourself by following a few essential steps.


  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Keep writing and self-publishing, and hone your craft. You'll know you're getting good at editing when your reviewers can no longer find mistakes in your work. Know how to craft a story and how to polish it, and use the feedback from your reviews to find your own strengths and weaknesses. Any writing you submit to a potential agent or publisher has to be positively letter-perfect.
  • Social Media: Build  up your social media following, and don't stop building on it. A big social media following will speak for you. Agents and publishers alike will appreciate it, and it will make you look like a more marketable author. 
  • Pitch: Write and polish an amazing cover letter. Make one version for agents and one for publishers. Highlight your marketability, point toward your existing catalog of books and your fan base on social media. Your letter should have an immediate hook and contain just enough details to keep you interesting. The letter is one page, no more than four paragraphs. You're writing to people who read letters all day, so keep it brief.
  • Batter up: Use The Writer's Market or a similar reference volume to find agents and publishers that could be interested in your work. You want to have a single book project to market. Make it sound like the greatest book ever written. Identify your genre and put together an appropriate mailing list. Once that's in place, start sending out your letters. Good luck!

Making the transition from indie to traditional author is much more likely if you put in the hard work yourself. It's a goal you have to work toward every day, and it may take some time before you're ready to write that first letter. But if you've got a firm foundation in place, it is more likely you'll make that switch.

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