Things are changing so fast, and my to-do list for keeping up with those changes is getting longer and longer. It keeps me up at night—just ask my boyfriend, who has been subject to many a midnight litany of blogs I have to launch, eBooks I have to write, and Amazon ratings I have to check obsessively. Lucky for him, I now have this column in which to vent my overzealous publishing resolutions for 2011. Here are the first ones:
1. Put out an e-Book. No, wait—put out three e-Books.
If I tried to count all the new e-readers and e-book platforms that have been launched in the past year, I would run out fingers and toes. E-Books are here, they’re huge, and anyone can create and sell one (or ten, or twenty) from the comfort of their own home. I actually feel sort of embarrassed to admit that I haven’t yet put an e-book into the world (the Kindle edition of my traditionally-published book doesn’t count).
It’s so easy, so flexible, and the potential rewards are so high that writing and selling an e-book should be high on any writer’s resolution list. Is everybody with me? Let’s write e-books. Lots of e-books.
2. Get more feedback.
OK, another embarrassing admission: I never let anyone read what I’m working on. I’m one of those extremely neurotic (I’d like to think modest, but no, neurotic) writers who will turn violent if anyone so much as walks into the room while I’m working on my novel. I cover the page. Lower the screen of my laptop. Snarl until the intruder goes away.
In 2011, I want to kick this terrible habit for good. High-quality feedback is critical to a manuscript’s development and success. I know this because all the great writers I know are also great seekers of feedback. They form critique circles. They seek out objective editors. They thank dozens and dozens of people in the acknowledgements section of their books for all the crucial—you guessed it—feedback they provided during the writing process. “Ask for feedback” is my new mantra (also, “Don’t be insane.”)
3. Learn the basics of visual design.
This ties into the e-book thing, but it also applies to blogs and websites. As writers have more and more of a hand in the publishing/design/marketing/publicity process (in some cases doing it all ourselves), we need to learn how to, well, make things look pretty.
I’m the kind of person whose idea of visual design is to press select all, put everything in twelve point Times New Roman, and call it a day. This has to change if I’m going to follow through on Resolution #1 (self-publish some e-books!). Nobody likes reading ugly, cramped, hard-to-read text, whether it’s on paper or in an e-book. If you’re going to be your own publisher-designer-marketer-person, knowing a few visual design basics can take you a long way.
I’ll finish up my list of resolutions in my next posts. For now, I have a few well-designed, much-feedbacked e-books to upload to Google Editions.