Not long after I self-published my first novel, WOMAN KING, I sent out a tweet promising that I would “try never to make the same mistake twice.” If you count the fact that I frequently fall short of my goal to tweet daily (oh the irony) to keep up my social-media presence, then I have made many of the same mistakes more than twice.
Welcome to the world of self-publishing!
It’s a place of vast opportunity, but also great potential disappointment. The roadmaps for self-published authors are newly inked, and all of us are the cartographers of a future that is still taking shape. On some days I feel like an intrepid genius, on other days, not so much. As I embark on the new year – and Book Two of my trilogy – I thought I’d share some food for thought about the lessons I’ve learned and some fun tools I’ve discovered:
Don’t be in a hurry. In traditional publishing, books can wait years for publication; self-publishing has the opposite problem. The ability to click the “upload” button without any gatekeepers whatsoever to stop you means that many stories reach the public before they’re ready. I did take time to have my first novel WOMAN KING edited, but I should’ve given myself more time. Now as I work on a second edition of WOMAN KING with an editor, I’m contemplating a longer timeline for editing and review of the second book in my planned trilogy.
Free, or nearly free, is often the norm. I used to think that being rejected by an agent was the most humbling experience I could have as an author. I’ve actually encountered something vastly more discomfiting: the frugalness of consumers on the Internet- especially for untested writers. It wasn’t until I made WOMAN KING free as an eBook that I began to see any interest. My advice? Don’t be afraid to give a certain amount of your work away to build a readership. Continue reading