Indie Thoughts by Aneesa Price
I’ve always been an avid reader and before I began writing I used to read an average of four books a week. Then, once I found and fell in love with writing, my reading time diminished significantly and I averaged about four books a month if I was lucky. Furthermore, I mostly used to read traditionally published books because ‘indie’ was an unknown term to me.
Then I entered the self-publishing arena. When I struggled to get reviews, a prominent blogger and reviewer was kind enough to give me a tip. She suggested that I review a few indie authors’ books too. By doing so I would illustrate a willingness to do what I was asking for -take a leap of faith for another lesser known author. That was essentially what I was asking reviewers to do for me. Once I’d done this, reviews were a lot more forthcoming.
What baffles me is that I’ve seen many indie writers complain about the lack of reviews they get and after observing them for a while I notice that they have one thing in common - they do not give any reviews to other writers. So, it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
There’s another reason to read other indie authors’ works and it is a management 101 tactic - reading other authors’ works, especially if they write in the same genre, is the best way to check out your competition. You’ll gain insight into their writing style, their imaginative capability, how well edited their work is and if you read enough books in the same genre, you may discover an emerging trend in what is being published. Knowing your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses and the genre trends enables you to approach your next book with your reader in mind.
For example, at the moment, erotica is rife within the romance genre. But what varies is how explicit the erotica is. I’m finding that erotic literature is either mildly descriptive or leans towards BDSM. There are few erotic works that fall between those two opposites. This may then be a potential gap in the market. Unfortunately, if authors don’t read other author’s books, they wouldn’t be able to make such observations.
So now you may wonder when on earth you’ll have time to review books when you’re struggling to write too. My advice is to plan your time to do both. I force myself to take a hiatus from writing after every novel I’ve completed and to use a week or two in between writing books to read and review indie books. Of course, there are many traditionally published writers whose work I crave and I’ll add one or two of their books to my reading list during these breaks. The wonderful thing in doing this is that it taps into a different part of my imagination - it feeds it after I’ve squeezed it, emaciating it, during the writing process. I’ve found that I ‘hit the keyboard’ with renewed gusto after such reading exercises.
If you are an author reading this blog and none of it resonates with you, leaving you still unconvinced, then maybe the words of Stephen King (I think we’d all agree that he is an exceptional and hugely successful writer) may do the trick: “If you don’t read, how do you expect to write.”
With that, I bid you happy reviewing.
Yours in romance and reading,Aneesa Price
(Author of The Coffin Girls and Finding Promise)
Aneesa Price Amazon Page