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10 Counterintuitive Tips for Self-Publishers

Hugh Howey at BEA

Hugh Howey smiles for a fan’s camera at BookExpo America in May.

By Porter Anderson

In today’s feature story, a pre-CONTEC interview with Hugh Howey ahead of his appearance at Frankfurt Book Fair, the bestselling author outlines ways in which major publishers might consider adding value to what they can offer self-publishing writers like himself.

In a short essay, The Work is the Work. The Path is the Path., he also notes some of the confusion and hesitancy among newer writers today debating traditional vs. self-publishing:

I’ve met a lot of authors weighing their options, seen a ton of hands shoot up in panels hoping for that one last piece of advice to push them off the fence one way or the other. There’s a path on both sides of that fence, and writers can see crowds beating the grass flat. They can see the books that lie along either way. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to stop looking at those crowds and those books. Look at the work in your hand.

In line with the eloquence of that thought — “look at the work in your hand” — we asked Howey to put together a list of things that tend to surprise new writers, particularly those who are self-publishing or considering it.

With his usual generosity, he came right back to us. Here’s his list:

Hugh Howey’s Top 10 List of Counterintuitive Tips for Self-Publishers

Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey with a Wool poster in the London Underground.

1. Asking people to buy your book doesn’t work. Instead, try to entertain or enlighten with your Facebook posts and tweets.

2. The people who sell your books are your existing readers. Concentrate on interacting with them and being accessible.

3. There is no promotion as strong as writing the next book. None. That always comes first.

4. It doesn’t matter how quickly your book jumps out of the gate upon release. An undiscovered book remains fresh and new. You have the rest of your life to promote or gain sales, so keep writing!

5. Give your books away. You need to build up a fan base. That means free ebooks, sample chapters, and not worrying about piracy or DRM.

6. A good agent is your best friend. Even if you don’t want to sign with a publishing house, there are overseas markets and media rights that they can help you with.

7. An email list is more powerful than Twitter or Instagram (though not quite as powerful as Facebook). You want to reach out to those who are receptive, those who have signed up to hear from you. Build that newsletter email list as soon as possible.

8. Videos are worth a million words. Readers love connecting with and getting to know their favorite authors. Shoot a video rather than typing out a blog post. They are quick to watch and easy to share.

9. Be yourself. This shouldn’t be counterintuitive. I hope it isn’t. Don’t lose sight of who you are. Embrace the awkwardness, the glee, the dumbfoundedness.

10. Authors are not in competition with one another. We are in this together. A happy reader buys more books, so celebrate others doing well and help who you can. Remember those who helped you. Pass it along.

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  1. Posted September 9, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Why users still make use of to read news papers when in
    this technological world the whole thing is presented on web?

  2. Posted September 9, 2013 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Excellent advice! And there’s no question that a video blog works better than a “classic” blog (too many words!) People want pictures, they love them. What a pity, because I freeze up in front of a camera, I’m myself only when I write…small wonder, I’m a writer!

    Still, I do think a good blog and participating online with comments on other blogs and magazines such as this one is useful and would deserve to belong in any list of “counterintuitive tips”! – if nothing else, because it helps fight the loneliness that is (otherwise) a writer’s lot!

    • Posted September 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      I must confess, Claude that as good as Hugh Howey is at his videos (and they’re terrific tools for developing a super reader relationship), the problem I’ve always found with video — and I say this as a longtime TV news producer — is that its searchability is all but nil. You may know that Howey or another person has said something you want to get back to in a video, but unless a transcript is provided, you’re in trouble when you head back to find that phrase, or reference, or concept you know was in, say, one of the last five or six videos on a site.

      That, however, is not the worry of many readers and fans, of course, and Howey’s use of video is probably the best you’ll find today for sheer direct-contact with a major fan base. Personable, engaging — the enthusiasm is infectious. Hard to beat.

      Thanks for reading the Ether and dropping a note!
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  3. M.J Rose
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Perfect advice!(all the same advice I give too so no wider I love it!) Authors should note the videos are of Hugh talking – not movie like trailers that rarely do anything.

    • Posted September 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Excellent point on the videos, MJ, thanks for that and for dropping in.
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  4. Posted September 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Concise, enlightening, and all true. Such great advice, thank you.

    “The people who sell your books are your existing readers.” That’s called Advocacy Marketing, and it’s the most powerful way to get the word out. Here’s a collection of posts about what it is and how to do it: http://bit.ly/advocacy-marketing

    “Authors are not in competition with one another.” This is so true now. When a Gatekeeper was the only channel, authors had to compete for scarce resources. When you are your own business as a professionally self-published author, it’s just you and your readers. The best readers read–and share–a lot. It’s great for everyone.

    • Posted September 10, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      So glad you’ve picked up on the non-competitive point, Michael, I think that’s actually my favorite of all. I see many authors who aren’t very clear on this yet. So many books in our glutted marketplace, it’s easy to think everyone is in competition. Excellent to hear Howey remind us otherwise. Many thanks for being with us.
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  5. Posted September 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Having attended one of Hugh Howey’s “readings” – where he did not read one single word from any of his books – I can attest to his advocacy marketing.

    What he’s doing is not just building an audience of readers. It’s way beyond that. He’s building a marketing team – and a passionate one, at that. He engages with them in so many ways, they are drawn into not just his books, but his world. Why would they not want to be part of his success?

    Still resisting the newsletter thing, but otherwise, I try to follow his advice.


    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Hey, Viki,

      Great of you to jump in here.

      Your comment of course, is right in line with what Hugh Howey tells us in his comments here: “The people who sell your books are your existing readers. Concentrate on interacting with them and being accessible.” His approach is, as you suggest, a model of this, and the effectiveness of his approach is evident in his remarkable sales and fiercly loyal following. I like how you put this: he’s “not just building an audience of readers…he’s building a marketing team.” Exactly. And as you add, “a passionate one, at that.”

      The fact that he also is a very fine writer (whose self-published work defies the too-frequent problems with quality in such ventures) makes his efforts all the more impressive. It’s good to have a touchstone of such foresight and discernment as this among our leading entrepreneurial authors.

      I can understand your hesitancy on the newsletter (as a recipient, I’m ready to start shooting email newsletters as they arrive in my inbox, carnival shooting-booth style, lol). Each author takes up a tool at the right time. You’ll know whether that time arrives.

      Thanks for being with us!
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  6. Posted September 10, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    I used to work as a sales manager and the first thing that we are taught is – Don’t ask any customer to buy a product! And don’t use words like ‘sell’ or ‘buy’. These seem so pushy and irritates many customers.

    In fact, for the most part, we are trained not to close deals – The customers work in their own pace and we only helped them, if required. This is important because customers were our best marketing channel and our product had repeat (sales) potential.

    Good to see some of these principles applying to self-publishing world, as well :)

    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Hey, right on the money. This is precisely the approach that many of us who work with writers are asking them to consider, especially on social media which are — by their very name — “social,” not the setting in which “buy my book!” does anything but turn people off.

      What Howey is both describing and doing so well is creating a space in which his readership (his customers) feel they’re not only welcome in his world of books and stories but actually a part of it. The pride with which he shows them his new book covers, the care with which he offers them chances to meet up with him on his travels — “all I ask is that you pick a spot close to my hotel,” you’ll see him writing to fans on his site — this is a new form of partnership development with the base of his success that works because his honest enjoyment of his readers and their interest is unmistakable.

      You clearly have the right bearing in mind, too, great of you to drop in and share this with us. Thanks for reading us here at Publishing Perspectives, great to have you!
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  7. Posted September 10, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Excellent points, Hugh. I’m sharing. :-)

  8. Posted September 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I’m going to be a voice of disagreement here (but just a minor one :) ). While I agree that videos can be engaging, I hate when they’re used for “meaty” topics rather than just for outreach.

    Like many (most?) people, I’m a visual learner, which means I pick up advice and information better when I can read it. My auditory learning ability sucks, and I can’t follow tips and advice from a video at all. In a video, despite the visual element of a talking head, the advice comes from the monologue. Give me a transcript and I’ll skip watching the video EVERY time. :) (Not to mention that I can read faster than they can talk, so video learning is an inefficient use of my time.)

    I think Hugh’s referring more to the outreach angle of connecting with our readers in his tips, which I agree works. But I see too many people generalize the advice and use videos for every purpose, so I just figured I’d point that out. Thanks for sharing, Porter!

    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Hey, Jami!

      Great to hear from you, thanks so much for jumping in with us.

      And you know, you’ll get no disagreement from me on this. (We won’t tell Hugh, lol.) No, seriously, I admire how well he handles these cool moments on video when he tapes himself in his rental car heading for the surprise meetup outside San Francisco, or letting his fans “open the box” with him as the first copy of the new hardcover comes out. As you say, these are the sorts of readership-embracing moments that really draw the readers to him, and rightly so, hes a master at these warm, inclusive, endlessly friendly moments on tape.

      When it comes to informational distribution, though — and I was writing of this to another reader earlier — one of the biggest problems video-without-transcript presents is that it’s not searchable. Having spent a decade and a half in three networks of CNN, I can tell you, this is a massive problem. Unless someone has logged and transcribed video (or has a voice-recognition system that can pick out key words and render them searchable), video is a terribly time-wasting medium. You end up rolling back and forth, endlessly trying to find a sentence or a section you need.

      So this is one of my objections to video blogging, per se. Somebody who handles this very well, btw, is the editor and author K.M. Weiland (@KMWeiland). She regularly puts out instructional videos for writers on her site, but will always, always include a transcript. For my purposes, this is perfect. I don’t watch the video, I just jump right into the text version. Others will prefer the video, and it’s right there for them. Joanna Penn (@TheCreativePenn) is great about this, too, providing at least a listing of key points from a podcast in text for those who’d rather not watch or hear the hold thing — or who might like to jump forward and find a specific spot faster than they could by just watching.

      You’re right about the speed of text intake. But then for all your and my misgivings about video, to watch Howey use it is to know how right he is, in the way he deploys his videos and the leverage he gets with his rightly faithful crowd. To some degree, the effectiveness of this approach will depend on the readership, the nature of the material, and the author, of course.

      Thanks again for offering this input, great to have you here, hope your work is going well!

      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

      • Posted September 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        It’s so funny that you mention KM, as she’s who came to my mind for someone who “does meaty video right.” :) Like you said, she handles the transcript well, which also addresses the searchability issue.

        Those are great examples of how Hugh uses video for outreach, and I think that’s the perfect application of it! Thanks again for sharing!

        • Porter Anderson
          Posted September 11, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          Yep, I think Weiland is a favorite for many of us among the “teaching editors” because she gets that text basis of what she’s doing and doesn’t forget it when the cam goes on. Her new book is just out, too, you know, Structuring Your Novel. Seems to be off to a good start in sales. Thanks again, Jami, all the best with your work.

          • Posted September 11, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            My ears are tingling! :D Thanks so much for the shout out, Porter and Jami (great article, BTW, Porter). I have to admit that am totally a “text” person myself (which makes sense – we’re writers, right?). As a consumer of web info, I would much rather be able to read an article than watch a video, which, of course, is why I include the transcript.

            The advantage of video is that it allows that personal connection with viewers and also opens up a whole new medium for finding an audience, via YouTube. As a major search engine in its own right, and a subdivision of the Google neighborhood, YouTube is too great an opportunity not to take advantage of (which is also why I host all my videos on YouTube, instead of on my own site).

            As for searchability, I believe YouTube creates automatic (if often laughable) transcripts of all uploaded videos, which Google then uses to help viewers find those videos. This doesn’t (yet) offer much help for viewers wanting to search through the actual video itself to find a location. But it’s a step up in web visibility, at any rate.

          • Porter Anderson
            Posted September 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Hey, Katie, great of you to come by and thanks for the kind words.

            I really like your rationale for the use of video, too, both in its personal connection (you really do know more about a person you can see and hear, lol) and in the very smart aspect of discoverabiity and YouTube. Really astute point, that’s a big audience out there that might be converted to book buyers when they find you on YouTube, makes perfect sense.

            Your note about the sub-rosa transcript underneath these things for Google’s search, btw, reminds me of one of the advantages our good colleague (and also speaking, with Howey, on my panel at Frankfurt) Jon Fine of Amazon has pointed out. While the “Look Inside” feature won’t show you a whole book for obvious reasons, the system does treat the entire text of your book as searchable content. Meaning that your discoverability goes up enormously as a side effect of that Look Inside feature.

            Anything that “chunks out” part of your text as something that can be found by someone is valuable these days.

            Hansel and Gretel were so onto something with those damned bread crumbs, you know?

            Good stuff, thanks again for jumping in, so good to have you, and congrats on the new book, Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story. Bests with it.

            On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  9. Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    “An undiscovered book remains fresh and new. You have the rest of your life to promote or gain sales, so keep writing!”

    That might be the best advice nugget of the entire post. If you don’t write, you won’t sell.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Porter.

    • Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      I sit here with egg on my face after having realized that the advice was presented by Hugh Howey. So thanks, Porter, for sharing Hugh’s tips.

      • Porter Anderson
        Posted September 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Not at All, Kathy. I’d be all too happy to have so many grand Quotes from Chairman Hugh attributed to me, lol, do that anytime you feel like it. :)

        And seriously, Howey’s insights are benefiting so many of us these days. We’re lucky to have an author who not only has made it out so far beyond most but who is genuinely interested in taking many more with him, sharing what he’s learning and creating, in effect, a viewpoint we simply haven’t had in such eloquent and alert form before.

        I loved the point you picked out. And I also appreciated his writing that authors are not in competition with each other. Jonny Geller, the Curtis Brown agent and joint-CEO in London, just the other day, had tweeted that those not on the Man Booker Prize short list (that’s all but six writers in the world at the moment) need to look away and remember that writing is not a competition. I thought that and Howey’s point about writers not being set against each other were particularly useful right now — so many high, high hopes and desperate (for some) confusions, sometimes crushing setbacks. It’s a tough go, and when someone of Howey’s stature and talent can take the time, as Geller does, to remind us that this race, too, is not to the strong, we’re all better for it.

        Thanks so much for reading, and do check us out here weekly on Tuesdays in Ether for Authors — every day, in fact, good to have you here at Publishing Perspectives!

        On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  10. Posted September 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Hugh 100% except for one minor niggle. There are times when we should stick with what we do well. I don’t do videos well, so I don’t do them. I prefer none to ones that are half-arsed.

    Giving books away though has made me a fair amount of money, even if not nearly as much as it has made Hugh. There are a lot of ways of doing that. Goodreads Giveaways are one easy route that puts you in front of a lot of readers. I also simply give signed hard copies to fans who contact me. That has garnered me a lot of recommendations, including to reading clubs.

    If there is one thing that is to be avoided like the plague though, as Hugh hints even though he doesn’t quite come out and say it, it is the twitter feed of “Buy me book… buy my book.”

    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Hey, J.R.,

      Thanks for jumping in, good to have you.

      I can’t speak for Howey, but having talked with him a lot about these things on more than one occasion, my guess is that he would say what a lot of us usually say to a writer who simply has a problem with one or another approach — don’t do that one, then. The kind of guidance represented here falls into the “all things being equal” category, it assumes a sort of necessary faux baseline on which all authors stand at the beginning with roughly the same sets of skills and interests. And, of course, that’s never perfectly true for any of us.

      In fact, there’s been some talk lately about the sorts of videos Howey is referring to. If you watch some of his good work on cam, what you realize he’s doing is social/sharing videos for the most part, and he’s incredibly good at them. His on-cam persona is warm and unaffected and entertaining, each video comes off like a good visit with a friend. Others use video in a more formal, instructional way — a good example is the editor and author K.M. Weiland, mentioned here in other comments. Her videos are teaching tools and, while very welcoming and pleasant, not at all the sort of “visit with Hugh” approach that Howey excels in.

      So those are two cases in which there are strong differences WITHIN the potential for video use. What you’re reminding us – rightly – is that there are other cases in which NO use of video makes sense, and if you feel this is an area you’re not good with (we all have them), then knowing that limitation is a smart, even astute observation and you’ll simply turn your energies to other approaches you do feel better with. Exactly.

      And I couldn’t agree more. “Buy my book” is the quickest way to get yourself well and truly blocked. It’s totally the wrong approach, and the only surprise to me is that people still try to get away with it. How many years do we have to keep saying that’s not the right route? Some things need to seem repeating forever, huh? :)

      Thanks again,
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  11. Posted September 14, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been a fan of Hugh’s ever since I met him on the Kindleboards, and it’s been fantastic to see him rise to superstardom. These tips are spot on.

    Except I’ll chime in with others who aren’t so excited about video. I’ve been recording some teaching videos and they’re not going well. Talking heads can be pretty snoozerific. And when the head is old and wrinkly, um, let’s say some of us have better faces for blogging. :-) I think he’s right that Hugh Howey videos are great, (although your point about searchability is a strong one) but if you’re not telegenic, it might be better to skip #8.

    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Hey, Anne,

      Great to have you, as always, sorry not to have caught up with your comment more quickly!

      Just dealing with these thoughts — or ones close to them — with J.R. Tomlin in his good comment, too. I keep getting about an inch and a half from speaking for Howey since he and I have spent a good deal of time talking over these things for various stories I’ve done on his work. I’ll put it this way: If he were here with us right now, I think he’d be as quick to say as I am that if videos aren’t a comfortable direction for you to take, then by all means work on other routes. His points are, after all, meant here to be counterintuitive, and one reason he includes his own good experiences with video is that for so many of us, as text people, the idea of such a visual medium as video is a surprise advantage. But only if it works for you.

      What I would add in such a conversation — and you’re well past this stage, so you’re ahead of me on this — is to give it a try just to be sure you KNOW whether it works for you or not. If an author hasn’t tried a little video, he or she may not know that it’s actually a good medium (or a not so good one). Awfully easy for any of us to say, “Gosh, I’d rather not, I think this would be better for other people.” Only if you try it do you know for sure. And trying it can mean just taping a short practice piece, viewing it, and trashing it right away if you decide you were right and its not your bag. Nobody else has to see it. The key is to test it. You MIGHT find that you’re dynamite at it and had no idea. (Yes, there are even a few used car salesmen in the country who DO belong on TV because they’re actually good at being spokespeople for their dealerships. The other 98 percent need to be ordered off the air, true, but they’ll never know if they’re in that top 2 percent who can do their own ads well unless they try it.)

      If Howey had said, instead of video, that a great thing for authors to do is host Tupperware-style book parties at their homes — or at fans’ homes — and serve refreshments and have nice chats, etc.? I’d be running for the hills. I’m about as good at Avon-party type events in the home as I am at sponge diving, in fact less good at it. But my mother? She’d be talking to the caterers before Howey had finished his suggestion. She loved entertaining. Any reason to have a bunch of people over — from a lecture on Zimbabwe to caroling at Christmas — just got her going like nothing else. (It’s one reason she made a great Methodist minister’s wife — she actually considered it a positive experience to have the Naomi Prayer Circle invade the living room a couple of times a year, lol.)

      My point is that no approach fits all. Howey is just asking everyone to consider the video route because it’s worked for him (remember, he does very personable visit-with-Hugh videos, not instructional ones). I actually know one fellow who needs to STOP doing videos in the worst way, but he doesn’t realize how bad he is at it.

      You choose your poison, my dear, and at the very least you let Howey remind you of something to try…and then discard if it’s not the right approach for you. With luck, the next thing you try will be.

      While I have yet to see Howey look out of his element anywhere, I’m sure he has his Tupperware party events, too, the things that just don’t pan out so well.

      And by the way, if you’re in the Boston area on Friday (20 September 2013), Howey is at the Watertown Free Public Library doing a “Meet and Greet with Hugh Howey.” Here are details: http://www.watertownlib.org/one-book-one-watertown/obow-events — I’m guessing the entire Naomi Prayer Circle will turn out for it. :)

      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

      • Posted September 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think being uncomfortable on video is a reason not to do it. I’m not comfortable on video. People say that I look it, but I don’t feel it. I feel nervous as hell. But being nervous is part of who I am. Being goofy is part of who I am.

        When I watch John Green or Scott Sigler do their videos, I’m blown away by how gregarious and engaging they are. I’m not like that. And I don’t take the time to edit my videos to make them look more polished. My approach is to pretend that a reader just stepped up to my signing table to chat with me, and I’m just talking to that one person. It’s great practice for when I do have to speak in public. And unfortunately for those of us who are introverts, these kinds of interactions are necessary if you want to make a career of this.

        • Porter Anderson
          Posted September 21, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Hey, great input on this Hugh — all nervousness and goofiness noted and empathized with. :)

          As you’re saying, the unedited, not-slick look and feel of your videos really helps make them come across as the friendly, unadorned communications they are. It’s actually pretty helpful to know that doing these pieces ISN’T as easy for you as it looks, at least in the comfort department, since many writers seem to be holding back on that basis. It does, frankly, appear that you’re more comfortable than it turns out you are. My assumption, and I think that of many others, has been that you were really adept at it. Definitely good to know that this isn’t the case.

          Ironically, your concept of the single reader at your signing table is something we use in many actor- and anchor-training settings. It’s very hard to break some television network news anchors of the “hello, everyone” idea of the crowd watching. You’ll hear news readers sign on, welcoming “everyone” to a newscast. We find it’s important to help them understand that a newscast is received by only one mind at a time — there is never an “everyone” out there in the mind of a viewer, just him- or herself and that anchor, one on one. So the correct sign-on for the news anchor is simply “Hello,” just as it is for that one reader at your signing table. You’re nailing this really well in your videos, and, as you find when you take this tack, it can be a little easier to face a cam. There really is (you’re not making this up) simply one reader/fan there at a time. No hive-mind is there to grok you as a group. The Borg-audience doesn’t exist. One viewer at a time. One listener at a time. Just as your books are read, one reader at a time.

          Terrific way to think of it and to get past the kind of introversion (yes, me, too) so many authors struggle with in their promotion.
          Thanks for added input here!
          On Twitter, @Porter_Anderson

  12. Posted September 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy and appreciate the advice, although not everything is or should be counter-intuitive, except maybe for people who have wallowed in the mire of traditional publishing. I think it’s worth mentioning many self-publishing authors tend to get ‘obsessed’ with numbers and seem to try to find the formula for a bestseller. In traditional publishing, an author won’t know exactly how well they perform, but in self-publishing you can check your sales every day. Also, many authors make decisions on these fluctuating sales records, like lowering their prices for one week and checking whether they sell more or less, etcetera. All the obsessing over the business aspect of self-publishing tends to push some writers into actions they’d never do if they were traditionally published, like changing the cover of their books multiple times or the above-mentioned twitter feeds of ‘read my book, buy my book’.
    It all can be summed up with Howey’s ‘rule’ number 3. Don’t focus too much on promoting the books you published, just keep writing and publishing and fill your shelf.

    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      Good thoughts, Martyn,

      Thanks so much for joining us here at Publishing Perspectives with your reactions to the Howey material.

      Needless to say, you’re right that the metrics available to authors (and I hope, with Howey, that we see more, not fewer available) can become distracting. But, frankly — and I’m speaking only for myself, not for Howey — I’d rather see authors have more, not less, in terms of their numbers. It’s our authors’ responsibility to learn not to be carried away with such input but to do what may very well be a better job with it than publishers have done.

      Authors at this stage in the digital dynamic appear to have a quicker grasp of readers as (a) their consumers and (b) their most important connections. Howey is a perfect example. As he says, the focus for many entrepreneurial authors is almost maniacally on the reader. For that, you need measurements, metrics, numbers, data.

      Publishers so far have shown real reluctance in seeing things this way. This is something noted by Kristen McLean of Bookigee and WriterCube in our new piece here at Publishing Perspectives on data.

      One can check one’s stock too frequently, you’re right.

      Or one’s sales figures.

      And because one might hyperventilate? — that’s not a good reason to cut back on oxygen, is it?

      I think it’s time to ask every author to include the discipline of prudent, non-obsessive interest in his or her regard for and attention to metrics.

      I’m lots more interested in getting the best and most frequent possible metrics TO our authors. They’ll figure out how to handle the info. They’re smart. :)

      Thanks again!
      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  13. Posted September 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Great tips from Hugh!

    I know I need to do video, but there are always so many other things vying for my attention; I just take it one step at a time. I’ve actually had to pull myself away from all the social media for a day or two to gain a whole new perspective. Then I can come back and look at the entire picture with fresh eyes.

    The writing is the key. If there are no books to promote, none of it matters. I daily must give myself grace for not getting it all done, and know there is a new day waiting tomorrow.

    • Porter Anderson
      Posted September 18, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      “I daily must give myself grace for not getting it all done.”

      Well, Penelope, I could use that line embroidered on a pillow. Great comment here, thanks for it, and I understand your need to try to sort it out by priority. Remember that Howey, too, says that the writing comes first. You’re on the right track, and all the best with it.

      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson

  14. Posted September 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  15. Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    Just by reading the first tip, I already got it. Being sociable would mark to the readers and will get back to you as soon as they can. Number 4 tip, reminded me of Mark Coker’s tips for self-published writers; success requires equal parts patience and impatience.

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips. All are explained with simplicity and clarity yet very encouraging! :-)

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