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How I Do It: Super Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This Week: Diane Capri

How I Do It: Super Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This Week: Diane Capri

Diane Capri “Face time is like spinach – good for us!” advises thriller writer Diane Capri, who lists meeting other writers and industry professionals at conferences and joining ALLi among the reasons for her success.

What’s the secret of your success?

I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author with a nice list of published works that, thankfully, readers around the world seem to like. But there have been so many blocks and bends along the road. Several times during this adventure, a wiser woman would have taken an easier path. Persistence (and lots of luck) carried me here, eventually.

What’s the single best thing you ever did?

Meeting people in person has helped me tremendously over the years and opened many doors that would otherwise have been closed to me. As an introvert, I like to stay in my office in front of the keyboard or spend my time with friends and family and books. But it’s always been worth it to stick my nose outside the front door and meet new people. Attending conferences with other writers and industry professionals is exactly how I met Lee Child, for example. Which led to some of my most successful books. So I encourage writers to mingle in person, even if we don’t love doing it. Face time is like spinach – good for us.

Did you get lucky? What happened?

Where would we be without serendipity? I’ve worked hard, but I’ve been lucky so many times! I was lucky to be invited to submit my work to several anthologies, lucky to be invited to sit on the first board of International Thriller Writers, lucky to be elected to the board of the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I’m lucky to be here at ALLi, where I’ve made so many friends. Even what looked like devastatingly bad luck at the time, such as when my publisher went bankrupt, worked out well (eventually) because I was able to reclaim rights to my now indie-published work.

How do you get/stay in creative mode?

I’m a procrastinator by nature. Bone lazy, to be honest. Someone famous once said, “Tis better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” I’m always worried about creating less than my best work. I delay writing until I can procrastinate no longer and I must put the words down and let the chips fall where they may. Like this piece – due today! Yikes! I don’t recommend my method, by the way.

How do you prioritize?

Calendars. Deadlines. Lists. Pages and pages of them. I make the lists and then I ignore them, though. Maybe I’m a little OCD? You think?

Get Back JackWhat’s next for you?

I’m always working on several books: the one I’m writing, the ones in various stages of editing and production, and the ones I’m promoting. We just released the second novel in my “Hunt For Jack Reacher” series, Get Back Jack. Paperback and e-book are available now. Audio production is ongoing on several of my books. I’m completing a novella now and then two novels are looming.

What’s your top tip for other indie authors?

Learn the business, share what you learn, and you’ll be fine. There’s a huge learning curve, even for an author who’s been around a while and is familiar with the traditional book world. But there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. The good news is that indie authors are very generous and helpful. Ask around. We’re a very friendly lot, indie authors. Don’t you think so?

 To read other bestselling indie authors' top tips, read previous Sunday “How I Do It” interviews here.


Author: Diane Capri

Diane Capri is a recovering lawyer, author of The Hunt for Reacher series, Judge Wilhelmina Carson mysteries and more. She's a snowbird who divides her time between Florida and Michigan, an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Author’s Guild, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She loves to hear from readers and is hard at work on my next novel. Her author website is at www.dianecapri.com.


This Post Has 18 Comments
  1. Useful stuff here Diane … but why oh why do authors so often have to introduce the subject of being introverts? And then, write about how they got out and networked? Do any other writers find it a bit, well, irritating: I am tongue-tied by not knowing the right way to approach people rather than actually *preferring* to be alone with a book,or writing in a corner on my own. And plenty of people who’ve claim ‘introversion’ seem to be very adept at making connections. Is it, maybe, not so much introversion as being capable of listening, appearing to be interested in the other person, which is the trick with networking? Cutting out that the bouncing-around excitement which plagues those of us who find other people stimulating? It’s a serious question: I hide because I don’t know how to start the conversation, not because I’m a person who enjoys solitude! Once started, I sound over-enthusiastic, and put people off…

  2. I am so shy I imagine that is why subconsciously I am in the sixth proofread of my novel. Not sure how I will overcome my shyness to publicize it..or worse yet, what agent wants to rep a shy author?? Born a twin( who was murdered when we were 33), I guess I have never gotten use to getting out there on my own as far as promoting myself..received far too much attention as a twin to like being in the limelight.

  3. As a newbie, I always read your advice, Diane, and find your comments invaluable – thank you. Sorry if that sounds sycophantic, but one shining thing about ALLi is the willingness of experienced members to share their knowledge.

    And I make a list of lists – I’m definitely in the OCD queue. And my life is scheduled on iCal or nothing would get done.

  4. Thank you Diane:

    For wonderfully inspiring discussion. It takes all of what you have described and more to become a successful Indie Author. I believe that the first ingredient in our personal formula is realizing that we have a NEED to write. This is what fulfills our imaginations. We are story-tellers. It’s a hard journey and as you point out, a continuing learning curve, as it should be.
    Thanks again for your insights.. Best of continuing success.

    Warren. .

  5. Loved reading your wise advice, Diane. I am not a procrastinator…but am a worrier…always concerned about putting my best foot forward, i.e., the best book I can possibly write. So, I worry endlessly about whether I’ve done my best work, and don’t stop worrying until I’m elbow deep into my next book. I totally agree that conferencing and book-shopping are great for both, meeting like-minded human beings who spend their time cogitating about words, and for keeping our creative juices flowing and reminding us that we’re not weird. Sadly, as an independent author and publisher who spends most waking hours worrying about producing a readable, marketable book…I rarely have time to take part in that very important piece of being an independent author and publisher.

    1. Hi, Janis,

      Ah, the case of the ever-shrinking 24-hour day. Time really is the one non-expandable resource, isn’t it? I wish someone would figure out that time travel thing. Might make things a bit easier.

      Meanwhile, the only thing I’ve found to do is to get help. We’re indies, but we’re not alone and we don’t have to do everything ourselves — unless we want it that way. I free up some of my time by having a great team of professionals to work with. They do a better job than I could do on my own and they help me expand my 24 hours as much as possible (until they figure out that time travel thing). Highly recommended!

    1. Hi, Marta,

      Thanks for stopping by and for reading! Nothing we write is as it should be until it’s read. I’m glad you found something useful in my comments.

      As for your question, I guess I’ve never posted a synopsis of my books online so I can’t speak from experience. Maybe someone in the Alli audience knows the answer?

  6. Oh, joy, how I empathise with what you say – I don’t think I could function without lists – To Do, To Check Out, To Look Up, To Not Forget…. on and on they go!
    And I heartily agree with what you say – “Learn the business, share what you learn and you’ll be fine”. And yes, I’ve found indie authors – all authors I’ve come across, actually – to be generous and helpful and I’ve gained so much positive advice from people who’ve taken the time to post of their self-publishing experiences online.
    It’s a happy day for me today – my book, Dependence, is out in paperback. It’s been out as an e-book for several months, but there is something wonderfully different about it now being a real book, with pages to turn, and covers, and well – something tangible. I’m a published author at last…!

    1. Congratulations to you, Sue! And you are exactly right. All authors have been very helpful to me along the way. Book people are the best, don’t you think? So in that spirit, as a more experienced author told me at the time, “There’s nothing quite as special as that first book. Enjoy it!”

  7. I agree with all you say, Diane. I’m also the retiring type and consequently a good listener, but after getting some writing experience and small success, I had something to talk about albeit a few minutes worth. But gradually I had more to say and found people to listen to me – and be inspired by my seemingly modest career. Helping others and being helped back is what life is all about anyway. We should never be too humble to give advice or too arrogant to take it.

    1. You are sooooooo right, Peter! This business is not for the weak-willed or the shrinking violet. That’s one of the lessons I learned along the way. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. Good luck to you!

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