Recently, we had a pleasant conversation with Katie Weiland, an award-winning and internationally published writer of bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. To mentor writers, Katie writes blog posts and hosts popular podcasts on her famous site Helpingwritersbecomeauthors. Her vlog on YouTube provides plenty of details on how to create an outstanding plot and master writing skills. And above all, she writes historical and speculative fiction.
In our interview, we ask Katie about self-publishing, her way to success, and the importance of the cover design in book marketing. Also, she highlights mistakes the beginning self-published writers make and gives advice on how to succeed in writing.
Let’s move on to the interview with Katie Weiland and learn a bunch of exciting stuff!
Katie, tell us a little about your way to success at writing. Do you remember the day when you’ve decided to start a writing career? Why have you chosen self-publishing?
I didn’t actually start out with the goal of wanting to be a writer. I just wrote my stories because I didn’t want to forget them. So, in the beginning, I really couldn’t have cared less if I ever sold any books. I self-published my first novel A Man Called Outlaw at the urgings of friends and family, and when it didn’t sell very well (because I had no idea what I was doing), I decided to get serious about building a platform. Happily for me, that coincided with the beginning of the online indie e-book boom.
What were your biggest challenges at the beginning of your career and how did you overcome them?
In the beginning, I lamented a lot of the time and energy I had to spend marketing. It wasn’t something I was naturally good at, and I had a lot of personal barriers to overcome. But, over the years, the business side of things has developed into something I enjoy almost as much as the writing. At the same time, one thing I have learned, as I’ve gone along, is that I can’t do everything. It used to be a mantra: “Never say no.” I would guest post for anyone who asked me. But I have to be more selective and more responsible with my time now.
What are, in your opinion, the biggest mistakes beginning self-published authors make?
#1: Fail to properly structure the story.
#2: Fail to create an engaging character with an engaging voice.
#3: Fail to show more than is told.
If you could give 3 useful tips for self-published authors, what would they be?
- Marketing is about personality. It’s about getting your personality—your books—your brand—to as many people as possible. That starts with a platform, and the foundation for that platform is your home on the web.
- Start building an email list as soon as you can, since this will be your only assured direct route to dedicated readers. Give them content they care about to keep their attention: drawings, freebies, special deals, glimpses into your life.
- Craft your book launches with care since Amazon’s sales algorithms will treat you right if you can prove early on that you can generate sales.
As we’re a book cover design company, we couldn’t help but ask you about the importance of book cover design for indie authors. What does, in your opinion, make a selling book cover design?
A good designer. :p Seriously. A professional book cover design is one of the most important parts of marketing. I highly recommend that indie authors hire a proven professional. Give them your ideas, but listen to their advice. If they’re good at what they do, they know more about what sells than you do.
We’re grateful to Katie Weiland for spending time and sharing her experience with us.
We hope her advice will help, motivate, and encourage everyone’s writing career.
May inspiration be with you!