When I got my first book contract in 2009, I had no idea what self-publishing meant. Today, I’m nowhere close to being an expert, but I have learned more about traditional publishing and self-publishing between 2011 and now than I knew before. The top four things I’ve learned are:
- Writing for the long haul is just that, a marathon and not a sprint. Patience is a requirement, especially when sales first come in the form of infrequent trickles, rather than a regular flood. There is no overnight success, so while I’m waiting for the name recognition ship to come in, it’s important to keep writing. I’ve proven that having more books on sale means a steady increase in income and a demand for more stories. It’s a wake-up call when readers start asking when the next book will be out.
- If I'm prepared to learn new skills and embrace changes, I’m more likely to succeed at what I do. When I self-published a collection of short stories in 2011, I glanced through the Smashwords Style Guide and threw it aside because just reading it made my eyeballs want to run off in different directions. Since then, I’ve learned to format my own stuff and because I’m one of those people who like extras, I’ve learned to go beyond the basics. I’m also learning about covers and stuff. Things I never would have attempted if I hadn’t gone indie.
- I’m not as organized as I used to be. I still have way too many languishing mss and half-written novels. I seriously need to write a business plan and take my publication schedule from my brain to paper. When you have the time, do yourself a favour and read this three-part article on business plans for self-published authors by Denise Grover Swank. On the way to all this busyness and time shortage, I’m conscious that I need to stop moaning about having no time and start making use of the time I do have. See quote below.
If you can’t find the time to write, that’s just nonsense. My friend Mary Higgins Clark had five kids and was widowed—that’s a woman who had no time to write. And she still used to wake up and write and then get the kids up. There’s always time to write. You can skip the TV show you’re watching, you can wake up an hour earlier, you can write during lunch—you always have time to write.
If your life is so full of other things that you don’t have time to write, then writing isn’t a priority and you’re not a writer. There’s nothing wrong with that, but face that fact. Don’t tell me you don’t have time to write.
~ Harlan Coben, Best Selling Author
- Relationships are valuable. All of us are on an individual journey, but our paths have collided and I don’t believe that I’ve met you by accident. Through sharing our stories, we’ve encouraged and helped each other in one way or another. I know way more about publishing from browsing people’s blogs than I would have learned otherwise. For me, it’s more fun reading an informative blog post than a ‘how to’ book.
Those are the top four things I’ve learned so far. What’s the most valuable thing you’ve discovered on your journey?
If you haven’t visited yet, remember to check out the Insecure Writer's Support Group Site. It’s chock-full of information that every writer needs. There’s even more support waiting for you at the Facebook page which is linked from the IWSG site.
The Who’s Your Hero Blogfest Linky is below. If you’re wondering what that’s about, it coincides with the release of my MG novel Saving Sam and all you have to do is write a maximum of 300 words in which you talk about someone who's encouraged or inspired you in some way. That’s on October 22-24 and there a random giveaway of $10.00 Amazon gift card for participants. Sam will love you for jumping in!
I’m looking for early reviews for Saving Sam, so if you’re interested in reading a MG coming-of-age novel set in Jamaica (see book blurb here), please leave a comment or email me at jmwordsmith at gmail dot com.