This can be a challenge for Indy authors who cannot afford to hire a professional editor., and lack the required editing skills. The point is to revise, revise, revise…and then read and revise some more. If an Indy author is unable to obtain a professional to edit their work, fear not, there are other options. Writing workshops such as Scribophile and Critique Circle are a few places that offer independent authors the opportunity for others (writers, teachers, avid readers, editors…and who knows, maybe agents and publishers) to read their work and offer feedback. Receiving feedback from a variety of people, the people who read the fiction authors publish, can do no harm. I speak from experience. Although I have run into some unprofessional critiques on such sites, most of them have been rewarding: It has exposed areas within my writing that I need to strengthen.
Network, Network, Network!
Use the social media to your advantage: Facebook, Twitter, Google+…Effective as using social media is, networking requires more. Connecting with groups and clubs interested in the same genre(s) you write is one good way to develop a readership. For instance, if it is romance that you write, join romance groups, participate in forums concerning that topic, and look into romantic book clubs in the area. When you go to publish that masterpiece romantic fiction, you will already have a fan base. I would suggest asking the moderator of any forums or groups if it would be okay to post the link to your blog/website, so you are not spamming.
Promote your self as an author around your community: join local book clubs and connect with bookstores. Spreading the word about your upcoming novel through bookmarks, cards, t-shirts, etc…will benefit your presence as an author.
Write and publish a short story for free to get your name out in the market. You could even base the short story on your novel, giving readers a teaser to what is to come. This could attract them to the book and anticipate what will happen next. Personally, I write short stories to further hone my skills as a fiction writer and for my readers to enjoy. The point of networking is to not only gather a following, but gather a following that will relate to your work.
Have Tough Skin
No matter what, if you truly love writing fiction and desire to be an author, you’ll never, never, never give up. Separate from the honest critiques you receive from people who aim to help YOUR WRITING, there will be people who will harshly rip your work apart for the pure pleasure of showing off. Their criticisms are aimed at you, however, not your writing. So, their comments are not essential in polishing your story.