I still remember when I discovered five years ago that I could publish my books on Amazon all by myself. It was a revelation! Still, learning how to self publish a book is an undertaking. We are in a brave new world where self publishing (now more aptly called indie publishing) is a very real way to make a career as an author. Which means you’ll find a ton of posts and tips for indie authors, good and bad.
In this interview, I talk with author, speaker, podcaster, and Draft 2 Digital marketing guru Kevin Tumlinson on how to self publish a book, the creative process, and why Draft 2 Digital might make your life a whole lot easier.
This post contains affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, purchases made after clicking through links may give me a referral commission.
Listen to Episode 86 – Tips for Indie Authors with Kevin Tumlinson
Connect with Kevin Tumlinson
You can find Kevin Tumlinson behind the mic for the Wordslinger podcast, plus the Self Publishing Podcast and Creative Writing Career. (That’s a lot of podcasts!) Check out his author site, his books on Amazon, and give him a shout on Twitter.
Tips for Indie Authors
Plan & Organize Your Time
Kevin writes fiction and non-fiction and hosts several podcasts PLUS does marketing for Draft 2 Digital. Yet his process for getting everything done is remarkably simple. Here are a few of his big time management tips.
- Putting first things first when planning out your time
- Making sure all the things you need to do are on the calendar
- Using the reminders app to (duh) remind you about tasks
- “If it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.”
- Be aware when you’re adding a tool that sometimes that tools takes time to learn
Share Your Work
Beyond writing, as authors we need to build our platforms and get our work out there, whether we are talking our books or our blog posts.
Social Jukebox is a tool that both Kevin and I use for our social media scheduling. You can create a content library so that your posts will continue to post to social over time. My tip: add the scheduling of content to your workflow as you publish a post.
Kevin has started utilizing Medium as a space to post both fiction and non-fiction to get in front of a new audience. (Here’s a post on utilizing Medium! If you’re a user, find and follow me HERE and find Kevin HERE.) You can repost OR create original content for the platform.
Give Yourself Permission
You will always be learning how you work and what your process looks like. It will change according to the seasons and situations of our life.
“We have to occasionally step back and reconsider: is this what we’re really after? Is this the dream? Or is this just one version of the dream we’ve grabbed onto?”
You want to build a mailing list, but even more foundational than that, you want to build your platform. Phenomenally successful authors have built platforms without email lists. The point isn’t to to build a means of communicating with your readers.
The trick to finding readers is to go where your readers hang out and become one of them and part of that community. You want to find a community where the community is built around the kind of work that you do. Be active and connect and be wise about when it’s appropriate to share your work.
The goal of marketing is to increase your odds. As an author, you’re trying to improve your odds of someone buying your book. Do what works best for YOU. Maybe that’s Facebook or Medium or Wattpad.
One of the big things that we discussed was Draft 2 Digital, the indie publishing company that Kevin went from superfan to employee of. Since our conversation, I have signed up and even tried the conversion feature. I would highly recommend using at the LEAST the conversion tool. Or go all out and utilize D2D as a
Easy Distribution with Draft 2 Digital
Kevin uses beta readers and a street team separately. His beta readers help with developmental edits and then the street team gets the manuscript after its done to help with edits and feedback. Once it’s done with those edits and any other editor he uses, he goes right to Draft 2 Digital.
D2D is an aggregator, which means that they have relationships with different vendors. (With the exception right now of KDP.) You can upload your book and choose where you want it distributed and pay a 15% cut of your royalty for that automated distribution.
You can also simply use their free conversion tool to take your word doc and make it into an epub, mobi, or PDF. EVEN if you don’t use D2D as your distributor.
- Kevin Tumlinson’s author site
- Draft 2 Digital
- Vellum (Kevin briefly touched on using this for formatting)
- 30 Day Author