When an author's self-publishing journey begins, they typically realize that they will face challenges.
But the thrill of sharing their imagination with the world far surpasses any trepidation they feel.
That's how I felt as I embarked on the self-publishing journey back in 2011.
Ten books later, there are two tips I would've given my younger writerly self back in 2011.
So, I'll share them here and hopefully some new writers will find them a bit helpful!
The Details Really Do Matter
If I'm writing a fantasy novel with an incredible plot that all my friends love, I might start to think, "I need to get this written and published SUPER fast so I can get it into the hands of readers! They're going to love it!"
While it's true that many readers love a great plot, it's also true that readers may get so annoyed by missteps in the details of the book's publication that they might refuse to even read it.
What are those overlooked details that might irritate would-be fans?
They may include:
1. Grammar and spelling mistakes in the book
2. Poorly designed cover art
3. Small plot holes that the author overlooked
As an easily distracted and highly impatient person, my first self-published book had a couple of the problems listed above, and I admit that even now I still struggle with the issues above because I get in too much of a rush to publish.
But rushing through a creative project is silly.
It's much more important to slow down, work with Critique Partners and/or Editors to comb through the book for spelling/grammar mistakes and plot holes, and to work with a talented graphic designer to create the book's cover art.
This takes time, meaning your book may take nine months or more to publish. But it'll be well worth the wait if it's in tip-top shape!
As previously mentioned, my first self-published book was a tragedy of a mess called, Finding Stories in The Rain (the book trailer is below).
Part of the problem with the book was that I was in such a rush to get it in print that I put the production of the book trailer ahead of actually sitting down and really combing through the manuscript for plot holes and grammar mistakes.
So, unfortunately, not only is Finding Stories in The Rain full of ridiculous storylines, but its spelling mistakes and grammar errors are absolutely horrific.
While I don't regret writing the book and working with a great crew to make the book trailer, I do regret my impatience throughout the process.
My impatience led to a shoddy final product.
That should NOT happen to you.
So, please don't make the same mistake I did. Instead, carefully edit your book and take your time in selecting cover art with an experienced graphic designer!
You Should Start Advertising Both Online & IRL Before Your Book Is Completed
Advertising doesn't have to cost money and it doesn't have to wait until a product is available.
In fact, because the market is saturated with authors hoping to get readers to purchase their books, one way to stand out is to begin making some noise online while you're in the thick of the writing process and as you're taking steps to edit, and then publish your book.
When I say that it's difficult to find readers, I'm not exaggerating. It's almost impossible.
But it doesn't have to be, if you leverage your Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to find readers even before your book is published.
By providing weekly or even daily posts/video updates on how your writing/publishing process is coming along.
People who are on social media enjoy seeing what other real people are doing with their lives and how these projects make them feel.
So, take advantage of this and become a friend to the online community by inviting them into your writing process. Before you know it, you may have 1,000 YouTube subscribers and half of them may be eager to purchase your book on the very day that you publish it!
So, go ahead and use your online platforms to tell people all about the book you're in the process of writing!
In addition to becoming a writerly friend to the online community, it's also helpful to tell people in real life about your writing plans. This can be accomplished by joining a local writing group and sharing your progress with fellow writers. You may also want to attend and even volunteer to speak at local writing conferences.
Use these platforms to share your experiences as a new writer and what you're learning along the way, and to meet other writers who may be able to give you suggestions/tips, and who may want to purchase your book when it's completed.
And of course, telling friends and selected family members about your writing plans can also be beneficial when it comes to building readers and getting feedback on your ideas as you write.
So, as an author who has made far too many writing and publishing mistakes (and who will likely continue to make many more), I hope that sharing my stumbles with you will help you to avoid the same pitfalls!