Orlando, FL, Miami, FL, & Myrtle Beach, SC October 9, 2017—The office of internationally acclaimed, award-winning mystery author Digger Cartwright is pleased to announce that Murder at the Ocean Forest was a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards in the mystery category. The Book Excellence Awards are hosted annually by Literary Excellence Incorporated in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. In 2016, The Maynwarings was a finalist in the western category and Conversations on the Bench won the Book Excellence Awards competition in the motivational category. Continue reading
Over the last several years, I’ve had the privilege of talking to a lot of indie authors in various forums. It seems that we all share a common set of problems and traits when it comes to writing. Any serious indie author will tell you it’s not an easy undertaking to write a novel or multiple novels. Not only can the task be physically and mentally exhausting, it can also be emotionally exhausting. I liken being an indie author to being a prisoner in solitary confinement. There’s a sense of being alone, being stranded, with no one to turn to and no one who can sympathize with you—unless you have a strong network of fellow writers who have been successful as indie authors.
Many of the indie authors with whom I’ve spoken or corresponded are frustrated. The writing isn’t going well, and the book sales aren’t going well either. They’re not in the place they want to be with their writing endeavors. They can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong. They feel like they’re spinning their wheels. This is from seasoned indie authors and new indie authors alike—those who have published many books and those who are setting out to write their first novel. I, in fact, have been there myself and still go there from time to time. But still, many of us go on torturing ourselves and stay the course until our work is done and we move onto the next book. Some call us gluttons for punishment and others see us as artists dedicated to our work.
I believe that indie authors serve a vital purpose in the literary world. There are many diamonds in the rough in the world of indie authors. Just because a major publishing house publishes a book doesn’t mean that the author is good or that the book is good. I’ve read many best sellers from major publishers that lacked substance but yet they were incredibly well-marketed so that the everyday reader believed it was a good book. But that’s not to say that all indie books are marketable or better than average; in fact, many represent a hobby or personal endeavor as opposed to a serious commitment to the art. My focus is and always has been on the realm of serious indie authors—those who have committed themselves to the art of writing and those who will continue to write whether success finds them or not. The serious indie authors, like indie filmmakers, bridge the gap between that which is marketable on a mass scale and which is often average and the realm of artistry where you might just find a diamond in the rough which for whatever reason has been overlooked by mainstream publishing houses.
To those serious indie authors who share the same emotional, mental, and physical struggles that I often endure in pursuit of writing a novel that is entertaining for readers, I offer a few tips that I have compiled based on my personal experiences and those of other indie authors. I hope my insights are helpful to indie authors who may be struggling with their writing endeavors and give those thinking about writing a book some issues to consider before they undertake a writing project. Together we can make the world of indie writing better for all those who are dedicated to or are dedicating themselves to the art. Keep writing!
Miss Matisse: Most people underestimate just how powerful social media marketing can truly be! It’s a great thing when you can market yourself, because you are the only one who really knows your product like the back of your hand, unlike anyone else. What else can we expect to see from Digger Cartwright in the near future besides the Money, Power, Greed, Sex and Revenge of Gems & Jewels?
Digger Cartwright: For the near future, I’ll probably continue with the Gems & Jewels series. That’s been on my mind for a while, and I’d like to finish Books II-V next. I’ll be doing a lot of commentaries for ThinkingOutsideTheBoxe.com, the think tank. I generally participate in their annual symposium in December and some of their quarterly champagne summits. You’ll be hearing my thoughts on politics, the economy, business and society. I’m in the process of developing a series of books that is a bit futuristic looking at what America and the world may look like in thirty years. I’m far from actually starting to write that, but that’s on the drawing board. I have plans for a sequel to The Versailles Conspiracy and The Maynwarings. Of course, time is always at a premium, so I’ll just take these projects one at a time. But I’ll say this, if you’ve liked what I’ve done so far, you’re going to love what I have planned. The best may be yet to come.
Miss Matisse: I am seriously laughing hysterically right now at your comment about someone worrying about another person living in their parents’ basement. It’s so true! Why care about what others think of you? Live your life! Speaking of yourself…What would you say has been the most successful way for self-promoting of your books?
Digger Cartwright: The world of social media and the internet are great ways to reach millions of readers and engage them. You can interact with people on Facebook and Twitter that are of like interests. You can reach hundreds of readers groups online who love to read indie authors’ work. You’re able to reach people all over the world online and with social media while you get lost in the shuffle on places like Amazon.com.
At the end of the day, there’s no better way to promote your work than word of mouth. You have a friend who reads the book and makes comments on their social media profiles. Their friends see it and they take an interest. They post something and so on and so forth. And of course, it always helps to have fair, impartial, and unbiased reviews by known or reputable reviewers, and there are plenty of them on Amazon and other places. These aren’t paid reviews; these are reviewers who consider various genres and my take an interest in your book to review. It always helps to have people who have bought your book on Amazon leave a comment or review or rating.
There’s really no one way that’s better than all the rest. It’s actually a combination of efforts that help expand the presence of the book and build an interest in it. Self-published authors should use all the tools at their disposal and that are financially available to promote their work. It becomes a lot easier once you gain a following, so make sure you engage with fans and keep producing quality work.
Miss Matisse: Yes, taking too much time off can throw you for a loop! If you have the time I’d add that as a writer you should jot down your ideas while you can so you don’t forget them later or as you go along. What advice do you have for others who are experienced, but struggling in the writing field/industry?
Digger Cartwright: I think a lot of people sit down to write thinking that they have the ability to do so. Writing isn’t easy. It’s very difficult to be creative, come up with a storyline, develop characters, and write a book that flows well, is coherent, and interesting. If you’re struggling with the writing process itself, get some mentoring or take some writing classes. There are plenty of resources available for aspiring writers to help polish their storytelling abilities which helps translate into increased opportunities for the book.
I like to have testers, for example. It has really helped me over the years. I run a storyline and synopsis by a group of people to see if it piques their interest. Once I have a draft of the story done, I’ll let them read it and see what they think. I welcome constructive criticism. They may come back with something that I hadn’t thought of as the author in terms of how it impacts the readers’ experience. In reality, the work product you’re putting out may or may not be interesting to the readers.
I always encourage aspiring writers to make sure they have great editors. Not every manuscript is going to be perfect. I have two or three editors read each book, and inevitably some things escape all of them—typos or incorrect references, etc. It’s human nature, but you’ve got to strive for perfection and produce a manuscript that is as flawless as possible. A manuscript filled with one mistake after another is not appealing to the readers. They’ll let the occasional typo slide, but if you’re work is overrun with mistakes, incorrect grammar, etc, they’ll not look favorably upon that and they’ll let you know about it.
And don’t let the critics get to you. You’re always going to have critics who won’t like what you do no matter what. Don’t let them get to you. Constructive criticism is something that you need to listen to and take seriously. Criticism from someone who has never written a book and who is just jealous of your accomplishment isn’t usually very valuable. Don’t let it get under your skin. You’ve got to have thick skin. If you’re worrying about satisfying someone living in their parents’ basement playing video games and criticizing your work, you’ll be your own worst enemy.