E.C. Murray considers her first book, the self-help title Life Kind of Sucks, an experiment in self-publishing. So when it came time to release her second book, the memoir A Long Way from Paris, she decided to do things differently, leveraging her experience and embracing all aspect of the self-publishing process. Murray quickly realized how demanding the indie route could be: handling distribution and marketing is “time consuming…even with a publicist who arranges visits. I need to follow up with press releases, event calendars, and so forth.” An important part of Murray’s indie strategy was sending A Long Way from Paris out for review. Her efforts paid off: Kirkus named her memoir a best book of 2014 and Publishers Weekly called it “Rich with history…substance…[and] relatable.”

Murray hasn’t just been focused on her own indie journey. She also founded The Writers Connection, which researches and shares resources to help educate aspiring self-publishers. One piece of advice Murray stresses came from one of her writing teachers: read 100 books in your genre. Murray says reading such volume revealed to her the diversity of the memoir genre: “After reading the one hundred memoirs, I felt confident I understood the field. Yes, I highly recommend writers read one hundred books of their genre, catalogue them, and document what they like, what they don’t. It all helps.”

We asked Murray for some tips for aspiring indie authors.

Write Well

“Write a good book. How? Read, read, read, including books that challenge you. Take classes...Study the craft of writing. Get lots of feedback from acquaintances or strangers who have some knowledge how. Write frequently. Daily is best. Get reviews from strangers.”

Watch Tutorial Videos

“Use YouTube as a resource. Note when videos were made though, because the self-publishing field changes so quickly.”

Have a Plan

“Create a timeline on what activities you need to do before you publish, when you publish, and within the first six months. Plan your release from six months out. Timelines like this are easy to find on the Internet.”