Write. Just keep writing. Forget everything I’m about to say and write. Stumped? Write on something different for a while. This isn’t a race to get finished it’s a marathon.
Read— especially in your genre.
Re-read —especially books that you hate to find out why they didn’t work.
Join Goodreads and build a network. Plus the scanner on the app is the bomb when you are at a bookstore!
Follow traditionally published and indie authors on social media.
Set realistic and attainable goals. Let me be blunt, writing to become a Best Selling Author is a great goal, akin to wanting to be a pro sports athlete. When "Canvas" made the Amazon Top Free list in its category in March of 2016 it was timing and dumb f@cking luck. My only goal for that book was to share for free (accomplished.) I then used it hoping to boost eventual sales on "Imprint". Sales did go up but I forgot to set a precise number of how many downloads achieved that goal. Duh!
Find people you trust to push you to be your best beta readers. If someone says, “that’s great” without any critique find a new reader. If they ask questions and willingly red-line your work keep them around. It's better to have someone trash you out of jealousy then placate you so as not to hurt your feelings. The former has unwittingly forced you to become a better writer.
Network with other writers. They are the only people who understand how solitary this job is.
Write every.single.day. —even if it is just a paragraph.
Do not publish your 1st novel until your 2nd is complete. Putting out multiple books at once allows for more visibility. Readers will naturally look to see what else you’ve written. (As a side note, it is cheaper to copyright multiple books in a single filing with the US. Copyright Office.)
Be prepared to hate selling yourself when your book(s) come out. The only thing that I think "The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing" forgot was the “walk of shame.” I had a million and one regrets in the 10 days after publishing.
Focus on Amazon, even if you prefer buying from a different site.
Understand that if you enroll your books in Kindle Unlimited that you will never make ANY list with that title besides an Amazon list. Say goodbye to it being a USAToday or NY Times Best Seller.
Do print-on-demand copies of your book right away. —Epic failure on my part.
If you plan to write a series develop the stories all at once.
Be prepared to give A LOT of shit away for FREE. And I’m not just talking copies of your book.
And that is after you’ve spent hundreds of hours writing and hundreds of dollars. By the time I hit the publish button my costs hover around $200 per book. That number includes payments, copyrights, licensing and thank you gifts. This budget is on the low side for what many writers dish out because my cover expenses can be kept in check having a design background and have some great people behind the scenes who are willing to work cheap.