Stay focused—Staying focused is one of the hardest parts of writing. It takes discipline to be a writer. You have to dedicate time to the art—and a lot of it. Good books aren’t written overnight. It’s easy to start a book then get sidetracked by other things in life. By the time you get back to writing you may have forgotten where you were going with certain elements or you may have to spend a great deal of time going back to review what you’ve already written. Indie authors are usually also writing because they have a passion for the art, not because it’s their full time job. If you’re going to be a successful indie author, writing needs to be either your full time career or your second job. Dedicate a set amount of time on a set schedule and stick to it. Stay focused on the task at hand—finishing the manuscript. You’re inevitably going to stray from the schedule, but try to get back on it as soon as possible. Set goals and timetables for yourself and try to meet them. It took me a long time to write The Versailles Conspiracy. I wrote the manuscript then put it away for a couple years. When I resurrected it, I got sidetracked several times and had to step away simply because I wasn’t staying focused. A similar thing happened with Conversations on the Bench—I kept getting sidetracked so that I couldn’t do the research (phone interviews predominantly) that I felt necessary to write the book. With my other books, however, I set timetables and goals and used that as my roadmap to the completion of the manuscripts.
Staying focused is also important once you’ve published the book. It takes a lot of planning and execution to successfully market the book. The planning, launch and execution of the marketing phase should be part of your overall plan and schedule. Marketing the published book isn’t something you as the indie author can do on your own. It takes a dedicated marketing effort that combines social media and traditional advertising to make the book a success. Are you, the indie author, best at marketing your book or at writing? If you’re like me, I’m a better writer than I am promoter. Find the right marketing team to focus on that specifically so that you can focus on writing. It’s very easy to get sucked into the marketing process with the social media managers, brand managers, advertising professionals. Don’t totally disengage from the marketing process. You need to oversee the marketing so that it remains focused on the book and sales of the book. Don’t stray from your focus on writing but pay attention to the work others are doing for you.
Set goals and timetables for writing the book and then for marketing the book then stick to that roadmap. You’ll be surprised how far it will take you.