Hopefully, you're still somewhere in that process of writing somewhere between your first and your 20th short story. This means it is time to have a paradigm shift when it comes to your writing.
What Do I Mean?
When it comes to indie publishing, you (as the author), have chosen to enter a business. Meaning you need to simultaneously think of your enterprise as such. The Myers Briggs “STRONG Inventory” (a test you can take online) would consider the attributes required to
think this way as a “Doer” and “Creative.” As a business owner, I need you to start thinking of your readers as people with needs. It is well and fine to write the book that you've always wished existed, but when doing so keep in mind that to your audience you are creating a commodity.
Consumers and Commodity
First, consumers want commodities that fulfill some sort of need. The most prized commodities are going to be those that sustain life like food, energy, and shelter. Unfortunately, books provide nothing essential to the maintenance of life, thus putting them in the peripheries with a dozen other things that could occupy a consumer's time. Thus comes the change in mindset when it comes to your writing. In order to get a reader to buy your book/invest time, you must convince them the story is worth their treasure—time and/or money. Hence, as a writer, you should ask yourself what every great business asks:
How can I serve/help my customer?
I can best address this with a personal example. Let me start with a short example of myself. In my first story (still to be released) I didn't have any direction, but rather just a story. Since I didn't have direction, I wasn't serving anyone but myself. Yes, there are people just like me, in terms of interest, and in a way, I was able to write for them, but little else. It wasn’t until two years later I realized there was a better way.
I later realized I was actually really profoundly interested in virtues. As I started looking at the landscape of Western civilization I also realized there was a desire for the glorification and reminder of these key, soul elements. I started having talks and listening to podcasts and reading comments. I learned I wasn’t alone and no one in the Fantasy, Sci-Fi (SFF) genre was serving in this way. Thus I became SFF “guy” with a heart for virtue. And now I serve my reader by weaving prime elements of these different virtues prominently into each and every storyline. For example, my book Ascendant Saga of Valor focuses prominently on fortitude and what it is to be courageous, persevere, and the “right and “wrong” ways in which to govern the spirit of thumos.
Now that you are writing your short stories, start playing around with ways you can serve your audience. This will tie into your brand as an author one day and so it is important to spend time thinking/trying out ideas. Ask readers questions, ask yourself what you wish was there, read authors who are prominent in your space, and start practicing.
That's a wrap for step 2! Have questions? You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Live long, and May the Force be with you!
P.S. That saying is purposefully wrong ;)
The Authors Journey: The Biz of Indy Publishing will release to all places podcasts are consumed on August 29th, 2023
Learn more about Izaic and his work at izaicyorks.com where fantastical tales can be consumed and other goodies await your discovery