With technology at our fingertips now more than ever and with more people taking the plunge into the literary world it’d be unwise to not strike out on your own and follow a different path at some point. Playing it safe and listening to conventional wisdom will only get you so far but taking a few risks every so often will definitely yield results. Whether those results come in the form of better sales or life lessons from doing something crazy it’s all in your best interest to set yourself apart. There are probably dozens of ways to do this but, for the sake of time, I’ll list three off the top of my head:
Depending on your financial situation this can be a means for you to stand out among other authors. For a few hundred dollars you can have one professionally made for you or, if you’re like me, you can take matters into your own hands and do it yourself with free software (Windows Movie Maker). Major motion pictures build hype around their movies with trailers and, in my opinion, authors should do the same. Reading a great synopsis can win over potential fans but there’s something to be said about a well constructed book trailer. A lot can also be said about a poorly constructed book trailer which is why if you plan on doing one you should make sure it’s done right, although some people intentionally create bad trailers just for the attention. Regardless, I suggest you put this on your to-do list. If nothing else you can make a trailer for each series instead of each book. And if you don’t believe it’s worth your time look at it like this, your trailer will be around for years to come literally spanning the life of the internet itself, much longer than regular advertisements. You can upload it to multiple social media platforms, your website, and more. In the end, you might be crazy not to make one.
Stepping outside of an established comfort zone isn’t easy for many people, unfortunately it comes with the territory. As a writer you may feel inclined to “write what you like” or “go with what you know” and for the most part that’s pretty sound advice. On the other hand I don’t think it’s a great idea to paint yourself into a corner. It’s probably best to try your hand in other genres early on, if the mood strikes you, before you become indelibly tied to one branch of literature (not that it’s a bad thing). Best case scenario you find another avenue to explore where you excel, worst case scenario you don’t do so well but gain experience that can be applied to future works. I can’t speak for everyone else but I’d rather not be known as the horror writer, mystery writer or action writer… just a writer.
If you find yourself in a position where your book sales are strong and you have a large fan base you may want to consider having an app developed. What kind of app you say? Why, any kind you want, any kind at all (although I suggest something that deals with writing otherwise it’ll just be weird). But seriously, there are plenty of people ready, willing and able to lend you their services (for the right price) and help you in this area. A number of apps already exist that aid authors with grammar, writing tips, and much more. You could easily throw your hat in the ring and produce something to benefit the next generation of writers or, if that doesn’t sound appetizing, self-aggrandizement is always an option. If you have podcasts, videos, trailers, a litany of written works or whatever you can give your fans direct access to all of these things with a shiny new app. And did I mention you can make money from this? A single dollar to purchase your app multiplied by the thousands (if not millions) of fans you have equals the best reason to have one created. I would’ve come up with a few more reasons but, honestly, I don’t think I need to…