I’ve now finished reading ‘Write, Publish, Repeat’, it took me two days of almost constant consumption. The style is easy-going and the message is bang on point. I couldn’t put it down.
It’s one of the most comprehensive books which I’ve read on the subject of indie publishing. It goes from the philosophical argument of publishing right through to the detailed level of Scrivener and the actual publishing process. Occasionally, you read a book which leaves a mark on you and this is one of those times. I’ll try and summarise the book’s message in this post.
This is one of the greatest times in history to be a writer. Maybe the great literary novel is in decline, perhaps the publishing industry is in turmoil and EL James is a billionaire, but… never before in history has there been such a great opportunity to make a living as a writer. Compare this with the past when authors would live in grotty old bedsits, furiously penning some magnum opus, just for some recognition. Now is the time and, the book argues, all we need is some hard work.
The opportunity is there to be had if only we can produce the quantity of product required to make a dent. Most hobbying authors will write one or two and give up, never achieving anywhere near a liveable income. But, for us serious writers, all we have to do is keep plugging away and churning them out. Through volume comes the largest reward.
In order to produce volume we need to be able to hone our process to publish faster. The more we do, the more streamlined we can expect our process to become. The process is rather similar to mine with regards to number of drafts, beta-readers and edits, but The Beats is the key difference which I’ll be employing from today.
Before we even start writing, instead of planning out every detail or ploughing straight in, they recommend we prepare, what they call, Beats. One or two paragraphs of description for each chapter we have to write. They argue that we should know how long we are aiming for our book to be and therefore, we should know how many chapters it will have. We should then break down each chapter into action and key messages before beginning to write it in full. I can see how this will improve the speed and, although I’m just beginning the second draft of my new book, I’ll be breaking it down into Beats anyway to experiment.
The next important strategy they advise is to create product funnels as quickly as possible. A funnel, by definition, brings readers in at the big end by offering free books and low entry level risk, but then, as the funnel narrows, you upsell other books as they pass through. A series, or a serial, is a perfect example of this where the first book would be free and it pulls readers in.
1,000 True Fans
Another concept which is mentioned where each writer wants 1,000 true fans who will buy everything they release, champion their work and anticipate the unwritten. You gain such a following one at a time and every new reader is a potential fan.
There are plenty of tips around publishing and marketing strategies, some of which I knew already and some of which I didn’t. They recommend Scrivener (obviously).
Examples are littered throughout the book of real life experience, these guys have done it and are succeeding but they also know others (Hugh Howey) who have really cracked it. Interestingly, Hugh Howey had written tons of books over a number of years before The Wool series took off the way it did.
I seriously recommend reading this book if you’re a new writer, an established writer wanting to improve, or just a person thinking of writing. It has everything you need and, the right amount of inspiration, which will leave you chomping at the bit to start seriously working.