Monday, September 17

Lyla Sinclair's 8 Secrets Of Successful Romance Writing

8 Secrets Of Successful Romance Writing

Recently Lyla Sinclair's indie published book, Training Tessa, made the New York Times Bestseller List. Today she was interviewed over at Smashwords.

Here are 8 secrets for indie writing success:

1) Join the Romance Writers of America (RWA)
I was a RWA member for two years and can say from personal experience that they are a terrific group. It's wonderful to have people cheering you on whether you are unpublished or multi-published. Thanks to my RWA chapter I was able to meet and ask questions of multi-published authors and hear their stories. There is no substitute for getting together with other writers and talking craft.

2) Publish new work frequently
This advice might seem obvious, along the lines of, "If you want to stay alive it helps to breathe", but I think it bears repeating. Lyla Sinclair writes:
Typically, when I publish a new story, sales increase for my backlist titles as well, even the more expensive Ellora’s Cave books. If I go a long time without publishing a new title, sales gradually decrease. My first indie story was published in the first quarter of 2011. I continued publishing short stories, than a novella, as fast as I could. So, 2011 was the year I began making a living as a writer, even though I’d written fiction seriously since 2003 and was first published in 2009.
3) Make sure your cover not only evokes emotion but evokes the right emotion
Lyla Sinclair writes:
I think it’s important to remember why people read fiction. They read in order to escape and feel things they may not get to feel in their real lives. Therefore, the most important characteristic of a cover is that it invokes—in the potential reader—the same emotion he or she will feel while reading the book. In other words, the cover for a horror story should creep you out. A suspense novel cover should make you nervous. An erotic cover should turn you on.
4) Price your book right for your genre
Lyla Sinclair writes:
You do need to study the pricing of other books in the top 100 of your genre before you consider your price. Different genres can have different price points. ... When I put my novella Training Tessa on sale for $0.99 (originally $2.99) to see if it could sell better, sales of that story went through the roof, then sales of all my backlist surged drastically.
. . . .
To be successful in self-publishing, an author needs to stay away from the “sheep” mentality and become her own shepherd. I research everything I can, run my own tests, then decide what’s best for me. All my marketing and sales efforts are a work in progress.
5) Social media works but focus on retail sites first
Lyla Sinclair writes:
If I were starting out as a new author today, my primary focus would be on making the most of what the retail sites offer—author pages, tagging, Listmania, putting key search words in my title for the search engines to pick up, etc., then I’d deal with Facebook and Twitter next.
6) Blog, but not frequently
Lyla Sinclair writes:
[...] I decided to use the “movie star” approach to blogging. Notice how movie stars disappear from talk shows for months, then pop up when they have movies coming out? That’s what I try to do. I think it’s interesting to note, though, that I was too sick to blog around the Training Tessa release, except for an announcement that it was out, but it made the bestseller lists. And when I think about it, I’ve often heard complaints from readers that fiction authors aren’t publishing their next books fast enough. I’ve never heard a reader complain that his favorite fiction author isn’t blogging enough.
7) Keep at it even if your first few books don't sell
Lyla Sinclair writes:
It is nearly impossible to be an overnight success as an author. Even when it seems that way, if you dig deeper, you find out the author has been working toward her goals for years. One book will not create a career for you any more than one year at a job will. Honestly, if a writer publishes one book, doesn’t sell much and gives up, I’m not sure he wants it badly enough. I was born a writer, and I would rather write limericks on bathroom walls for a living, if that were my only writing option, than not write. It took me about six years and the writing and rewriting of numerous works in three genres to become a self-supporting fiction author. I have traditionally published friends who had to start over several times in new genres with new names when their books didn’t sell. One thing is true, whether publishing traditionally or indie. A writer needs to be prepared to create multiple stories in order to build a following, then many more to sustain a career as a professional author.
8) "The secret" to making it big as a writer: 'Create the perfect storm'
Lyla Sinclair writes:
I think Training Tessa was the perfect storm that happened at a lucky time. “Perfect storm” does not mean perfect story. My definition of the perfect storm in self-publishing is when you write a good story in a popular genre, create a cover that communicates the story effectively to potential readers, and write a description that is interesting and clear.
Here is the complete interview with Lyla Sinclair: New York Times Bestselling Author Lyla Sinclair Shares Secrets to Writing Successful Erotica.

I think there is a lot of truth in what Lyla said about creating the literary analog of a perfect storm. I have heard that from many different people, Joe Konrath, Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch, and all those folks are supporting themselves form their writing.

Other articles you might like:
- 8 Tips For Blogging Success
- Ursula K. Le Guin On Academic Criticism & Philip K. Dick
- Writing Resources

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