Digger’s Tips for Indie Authors-5

Read a lot and learn from it—One of the best ways to become a good writer is to read a lot of books, particularly those published by known authors. You’ll pick up ideas for style and how to build characters or plot or setting from authors who have been there and done that. If you write westerns, you should read Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour to get a feel for how they wrote about the Old West.  If you write detective/police novels, you could read Mickey Spillane or Ed McBain.  Michael Crichton’s books might give you insight into science fiction or medical thrillers.  That’s not to say you should take their ideas or try to recreate their work.  Far from it.  You should read their books with an eye towards learning how they develop characters or present the theme of the book.  You probably don’t want to write a science fiction book that has plot development elements of a western.  You may develop characters differently in a legal thriller than in a romance book.  You may learn how other authors build scenes and theme for your chosen genre.

Reading other authors in your genre isn’t the only reading an indie author should be doing.  Read other books and newspapers and articles about writing and authors.  Reading helps improve your grammatical skills and generally expands your vocabulary, both of which help improve your work.  If you’re writing medical thrillers, keep up with what’s going on in the field.  I’m not saying you should study to be a doctor, but you should keep up with developments in the medical fields if you’re writing about an epidemic or biological warfare.  One of my favorite weekly publications is The Economist.  It has everything from world affairs to economics to new books to science and technology and so on.  From there I might find something that I want to explore more and learn more about.  I’ve even come up with some pretty good ideas for storylines based on topics I first read about in The Economist.  Reading expands your horizons and helps you further strengthen your writing skills.

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