From time-to-time readers contact me for advice about writing and publishing. Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I can't personally mentor new writers. However, I do have some advice that I hope will help!
1.My recommended reading list for anyone seeking to become an indie author:
I have read all of these and recommend them because they are actually useful and not a bunch of fluff.
The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing
Let's Get Digital
Let's Get Visible
Email Marketing for Authors
2.Places to hang out and learn from other authors.
Indie Ink Romance Yahoo Group
Marie Force's Self Publishing Info Swap Yahoo Group
Romance Writers of America (RWA) (Look for a virtual group/chapter to join)
Author Support Network (Facebook Group)
Also, here's some really great advice on how to be a writer from Hugh Howey.
Don't write romance? Don't worry, you'll still learn a lot from these resources.
3. Find your peers.
You need a tribe to have your back. Look for other authors in your genre who are starting out and reach out to the ones who seem savvy and can tell a good story.
4. Just publish.
You never know what will sell, so don't believe the mean thoughts you think about your work. I've published books that I've hated and thought would never sell only to see them become bestsellers. I've published books that I've loved and believed in with all my heart only to see them flop. If you've written something, publish it, no matter how you feel about it. The market will tell you if you made the right decision or not.
5. Write in a genre that sells.
If your objective is to make money, avoid genres with low sales. FYI romance outsells every other genre on the planet, so consider starting there. On the flip side, someone has to breakout and be the big seller in other genres and that someone could be you. So try the genre of your heart and see what happens, but maybe work on a few romances as plan B.
6. 2015 is different. 2016 is worse. It's getting tougher. You need to be smart.
There have been multiple structural changes in the ebook industry starting in July 2014. The biggest one being the introduction of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program that interferes with book visibility and is wreaking havoc with book length, pricing and royalties. Compounding this, sales on other platforms are flat or declining (generally speaking, there are always outliers) and there are more books than ever before while the number of readers has stayed the same.
What this means for authors is that you absolutely must have a marketing plan and do your homework. Do not go in blind. Read, read,read. Join a local RWA chapter or go to the national conference (expensive but worth it for the self publishing panels).
7. Avoid scammers.
My advice on this topic is in this blog post: http://michellefoxerotica.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-word-of-caution-to-new-authors.html
8. Sign up for my free marketing newsletter. I irregularly send out a marketing round up of links and industry news. No spam. I don't market books. It's strictly an industry newsletter. I do it because it helps me organize my thoughts. Click here to subscribe.