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How I Do It: Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This Week: CJ Lyons.

How I Do It: Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This week: CJ Lyons.

CJheadshotcroppedlores“It’s all about the reader.” CJ Lyons talks about the writing and publishing strategies that have led her to her to sell more than two million books so far, with five new releases in 2013.

What’s the secret of your success?

I try to always put my readers first with every decision I make. Whether it’s editorial, promotional, or deciding on partnerships with publishers, I ask myself: Will this move make my readers jump for joy and tell their friends about my books?

What was the single best thing you ever did?

Following the advice that Jeffery Deaver gave me after my first book was published. He told me to never forget: “The Reader is God”.

Did you get lucky? What happened?

Nope. I can’t really say that luck has ever played a factor in my success—although I have seen it play a role for others who got the right book in front of the right people at the right time. When it happens, it’s wonderful, but you can’t plan on it. So I think the best thing is to plan for your own success and if luck strikes, enjoy the ride.

How do you get/stay in creative mode?

I’ve been a story teller all my life and couldn’t stop writing, not even with the help of a 12-Step Program! So being creative isn’t a problem. Figuring out how to find the time to write all the ideas I have churning in my brain: that’s where I need to be creative.

How do you prioritise?

I ask: what will make my readers happiest? Since 60-70% of book buyers still want physical books, sometimes that means working with traditional publishers in addition to my indie books. Part of it also depends on which project I’m most passionate about. If I’m psyched about a story, I trust that my readers will feel that passion and be excited about it too.

What’s next?

July 1st I’ll be releasing the long-awaited finale to my Shadow Ops trilogy, Edge of Shadows. I’m actually trying something rather unique with this launch, so it will be exciting to see if it works.

Then in August comes my next St. Martins Press thriller, Hollow Bones, followed by my YA medical thriller debut from Sourcebooks, Broken, in November. Sometime before the end of the year I’ll also be releasing After Shock, the fourth Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller and early next year the Hart and Drake prequel. That will be three traditional publishing releases this year and two indie books, with a total of five books written this year… busy year!

What’s your top tip for other indie authors?

You won’t be surprised that it’s all about the reader. My mantra when faced with a dilemma is: “Will this make my readers excited and delighted and ready to jump for joy?” If the answer is yes, it’s the right thing to do.

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CJ Lyons

CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday). Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net and everything she knows about being a bestseller and selling a million books at www.NoRulesJustWRITE.com

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