What does the show Supernatural have to do with self publishing? Nothing, really, but there are a lot of lessons Sam and Dean Winchester can teach us about it!
In case you aren’t a hardcore fan like myself, let me fill you in on the epic levels of awesome you’re missing out on, before we get down to the business of what it can teach us about self publishing. Supernatural is about two brothers who hunt monsters that everyone else thinks are imaginary.
They live a life without the typical attachments: homes, long term relationships, or kids. They travel the country in an Impala, in search of creatures that need to be destroyed, staying in hotels along the way. There’s a lot of action, mystery, and fun. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.
Supernatural is more than just a good show, it’s chock full of ideas for paranormal authors. In fact one episode sparked an idea for my novel Chasing Mercy! It’s given me more ideas for other books too.
What can Sam and Dean Winchester teach us about self publishing? There are four things that I’ve found they can show us.
Never Trust a Demon
You don’t have to watch Supernatural to figure out that nothing good could come from trusting a demon. What does this have to do with self publishing?
You need to know who you can trust. There are those out there who will help you and there are those who are out to take advantage of you. If someone, or a company, is offering to help you self publish for hundreds or thousands of dollars, they may very well be a version of a demon. (For more information, read about Publishers Behaving Badly.)
Do your research and learn about what the self publishing industry is really all about. It’s called self publishing for a reason. Yes, you need help from others; you can’t do it all on your own. For instance, if you aren’t a graphic artist and you want people to give your book a chance, you need to hire someone to make a killer cover that will interest your target readers. People do judge a book by it’s cover.
Takeaway: Know what you’re up against.
Always Carry Salt
Sam and Dean use salt because it is a deterrent to many supernatural creatures, including those demons that we were just discussing. They can make circle of salt around themselves to keep a ghost or demon from reaching them, or they can put salt in front of all of the doors and windows to keep them out of a building.
But salt won’t work for every creature. You’ll need a wooden stake for vampires, of course. What vampire is going to shy away from salt? You can use holy water with a demon. Salt won’t even slow down a Leviathan, so you’ll need a way to behead them after throwing borax at them.
In the same way, not every tool is for every indie author. You need to do your research and figure out what’s going to work to serve you best. I love Scriviner as a writing tool — as do many indie authors — but it doesn’t work for some. There are those who still swear by Word. I love Dropbox, maybe you hate it. Some swear by tools like Evernote; I’ve never been compelled to try it.
Takeaway: Know the tools that will work for you.
Keep Bobby’s Number on Speed Dial
Bobby is the Winchester’s go-to guy when they have a problem. He has everything they need, so if they’re stuck and don’t have the answers, they call Bobby. Watch the video below to see Bobby in action – be warned that the second half of the video is gory, if that bothers you.
Who’s on your speed dial? When you need help with the self publishing process, where do you turn? Do you know where to go to find the answers to your questions? Do you know that they have your back and will give you good information?
There are plenty of great resources online, just as there are plenty of horrible ones too. I love listening to the Self Publishing Podcast. They not only provide my need for entertainment (because they’re hilarious) but they give great advice to indie authors. They publish at un-human speeds and their podcasts are often collaboration sessions, and listening to them discuss self publishing is very educating.
Author CJ Lyons has a resource page for indie authors. There’s an annual online indie conference called Indie Recon where you can find a boatload of resources. There are a ton more — if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments!
Takeaway: Know where to get your information
These guys know how to have fun. There are plenty of episodes that are full of suspense, thrills, and chills but there are also a ton that are just plain funny. I can’t tell you how many laughs I’ve had watching Supernatural!
The same should be true if you’re self publishing. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But, you should love it! Writing stories that you want to, on your own schedule, getting the highest royalties possible! You have total control over your work, you get to pick the covers, choose the price, make all of the decisions. What’s not to love?
Takeaway: If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point?
If you haven’t watched any of the videos in this post, you’ve got to watch this one! It’s hilarious and you can’t miss the outtake at the end!
Image source: The CW Network