Adam Eccles is an indie author living ‘in the middle of nowhere’ on the west coast of Ireland. In just four years, Adam has written and released six books and is now working on his seventh.
His stories blend romantic comedy with time-travel; his last release ‘System Restored’ is described as ‘a retro-game time-travel adventure-book'. Adam has built a significant readership, with glowing reviews and over 2000 ratings collectively across Amazon.
We spoke to Adam to learn how he uses Craft to write his books, and get his tips for writing and selling books as an indie author.
How do you describe Craft?
Craft is a note-taking app that’s a brain dump of all your knowledge, a local private Wikipedia of any project you are working on, a capable task manager, and a simple yet effective text editor that makes it a no-brainer to make beautiful documents that you, and others will be drawn to.
Pages, within pages, within pages (and so on) lets you get specific down to the nitty gritty info.
A professional grade application that’s as simple to use as Apple’s built-in notes app, but 1000 times more powerful.
How exactly do you use Craft for your book writing?
Firstly, I have a personal encyclopedia of all my writing things for reference. Things like links, a list of apps, ideas, a full list of all characters and their basic traits, things I’ve paused, marketing templates, contacts I’ve made, etc. Basically, anything to do with writing that isn’t the actual book. There’s a surprising amount of metadata connected to the practice.
Secondly, I made a book planning template. Inside that is every aspect of planning a book. From the basic idea to a list of characters, locations, lore, research, important plot elements, and general ideas. There’s also a detailed section for an overall chapter plan, and then a page for each chapter where I can link characters who appear, locations, time frame, etc.
What makes Craft so good for planning your books?
I love the visual aspect. It makes it so much easier to find information if it is beautifully presented and Craft lets me do that.
I also find the linking extremely useful. For example in each chapter plan, I link the characters and with a mouse hover, I can see a preview of that character's page and traits etc. Love it.
What other tools do you use to write your books?
I use Ulysses for writing, I use Aeon Timeline to help with the flow of things. With Time Travel books, I’ve found this very useful.
Another daily-use app is GoodLinks. When researching I just hit a button in Safari and the page is saved into Goodlinks for reference. I have 92 articles so far on the book I’m writing now.
I also use: Vellum, Pro Writing Aid, Grammarly and various other little apps to do specific things - Send to Kindle is invaluable for getting a book onto a kindle to read back.
What did you use before Craft?
I started out trying to use OneNote for my book stuff but the Mac version is terrible compared with the Windows version and even so, there’s something about OneNote that just doesn’t work for me for writing.
So then I went through a whole load of note apps; they need to sync across all Apple platforms and be solid and stable. I tried Apple notes, but that was already clogged up with my day-to-day junk. I also found it limited in design and layout.
I tried SimpleNote - a free app that was just a dump of text information. It was fine but very limited.
I’ve also tried Notion, Airtable, Noto, and Drafts, with varying levels of success, but none of them stuck like Craft did. There’s probably more I’ve forgotten, for good reason!
Any tips for indie authors to sell more books?
It may sound obvious, but I don’t think this registers in people’s minds; write a book that people want to read. If you want to start out writing some obscure, hard to get into, complicated, and ultimately boring book, then your audience is going to be extremely limited.
Don’t write too broadly, either. Find a niche that you know about, and write for that. Make your book easy to find, easy on the eye - HIRE A COVER DESIGNER! - and for the love of sanity - make sure you have several people proofread your book before you publish.
I have not even tried to go the route of traditional publishing - the world has changed and the Amazon platform is a wonderful thing. I want control over my work, and Amazon gives me that. I’ve heard far more horror stories about people being ripped off in traditional publishing than I’ve heard about Amazon.
The most powerful thing on Amazon is the ‘also bought’ section. If you can get your books linked to a successful author, you’ll stand a good chance of people picking your books up. And don’t think of it as a bad thing - a rising tide lifts all authors.
It takes me between 6-12 months to write a book, but it can take a person one day to read it. There’s PLENTY of room in the market and getting into a genre or category is a big thing.
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