Science fiction author Amy J. Murphy joins us this week to talk about her heroine-led space opera series Allies & Enemies, how she Kickstarted her indie publishing career, and productivity strategies she uses as a writer with ADD.
From Amy’s blog: “Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique”
30/30 (productivity app)
Amy writes “space opera featuring kickass heroines.” She has just published the final book Exiles in her trilogy, Allies and Enemies.
She first started out working on the traditional publishing side of things for a children’s publishing house and very quickly realized that she had no interest getting her author dreams crushed by “book factory” mentality. She came across Hugh Howey, which led to her discovering indie publishing, and she decided to get serious with a book she had been working on for the past 10 years.
Fallen, Book 1 of Allies and Enemies, was published November 2015; followed by Book 2, Rogues in April of 2016; and just recently concluded in March 2017 with the third and final installment, Exiles.
The books have sold well and received great reviews. Fallen was even a finalist for Best Military SciFi novel for the 2016 Dragon Awards.
In order to fund the editing for her first book, Amy set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money. The effort generated a small grassroots effect, with friends telling friends. The campaign concluded successfully, and Amy found a great editor and got her first book Fallen completed and published.
Though many folks believe it’s difficult to run a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter without a big following, it’s actually the opposite, Amy says. It’s a great way for creators who have a small to no following to start building a following from scratch, start generating interest and building a little community in a structured environment.
As a result of her Kickstarter campaign, not only did she raise the funds to pay for a professional editor to help her get her book finished, but it led to an expanded social media network. She received a shout-out on a friend’s podcast, which led to her getting invited to do a reading at Geek Mountain in Vermont along with a fellow writer.
Of course, social networking works best in both directions. Outreach was important to her success as well. An email to Lindsay Buroker commenting on her podcast led to an invite onto the show herself, and eventually to a spot in a box set with popular authors like Chris Fox and Lindsay Buroker.
Writing with ADD: 10 Years a Book to 3 months a Book
It wasn’t until later in life that Amy was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD), a condition that makes it difficult for her to concentrate for long periods of time, among other things, but she feels it contributed to the length of time it took for her to write her first book. She had to develop “work-arounds” in her work life to help her avoid distractions and spend more butt-in-chair time in order to get Books 2 and 3 done.
One of those strategies, she says, that helped her tremendously in going from writing a book in 10 years, to 10 months, to just 3 months, is the Pomodoro Technique, a productivity technique that involves setting a timer for regular short periods of focus time broken up by frequent breaks. (See Amy’s blog post: “Writing with ADD: the Pomodoro Technique”)
Amy’s Five Rules of Indie Publishing…
…that she has learned by breaking them….David Letterman style:
- If you’re going to have a series, write the whole series first…and make it binge-worthy.
- Establish your writer platform, website, social media, and email list from the get-go.
- Don’t throw money away by paying for ads randomly. Develop a game plan and marketing strategy for launching your books.
- Make sure you have a CTA (Call to Action) at the back of all your books thanking your readers and inviting them to visit your website to learn more about you, maybe get a free story/book, and, of course, to sign up for your mailing list.
- Do not give up. Don’t expect overnight success either, but don’t give up. There’s a place for everyone who wants to share their stories.
Advice to New Authors:
“There’s no wrong way of doing this. You pretty much will find out the course you’re going isn’t the best course. The answers are out there, and you just have to find the course that works for you.”
Don’t give up, and never be afraid to ask for help.
What are some of your favorite productivity tips, strategies, and tools that you like to use to get more writing done?
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