I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions…you’re setting yourself up to fail and who needs that? I like to think of it as setting goals for yourself, and if you don’t achieve your goal this year, ah well…there’s always next year.
One of my goals for 2013 is to blog on a regular basis and have something useful to say while doing it. When I started this site, I had aspirations of helping other newbies like myself, find the best help out there. I did everything bassackwards (yes, that’s Texan for backwards).
First, I let outside influences govern the way I told my story…sugar-coating the details because of fear and some shame. Then Penn State and their scandal happened. I got mad and ended up rewriting ten chapters the way it should have been written in the first place. I also forgot we are in an age of computers. Instead of writing my manuscript in one single document, I wrote each chapter and placed it in a separate file…gah! I also wrote two thirds of my manuscript in Microsoft Works, not Word…double gah! Thanks to Mr./Ms. Google, I was (with a tremendous amount of difficulty and some lovely gutter vernacular reemerging) able to rectify the error on my part.
Second, I went to a writer’s conference without really checking or researching the offering. Anyone can get people to plug what they are trying to sell. That doesn’t make it a reputable business. Lesson learned…the hard and expensive way! However, I did get a rainbow out of the storm. I met three, lovely, talented and very generous writers that I stay in close contact with still today.
Third, I allowed two men to tell me what readers wanted and most certainly didn’t want. That crippled me for about three weeks. Once again, I allowed someone to take all the control away from me. Note I said, I ALLOWED…I take full responsibility for my actions or lack thereof.
Fourth, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had written this book, couldn’t even submit to a standard house because of the subject matter, and figured “what the hell, I’ll self publish! How hard can it be?” I will say in my defense, I’m not stupid! I did do a ton of research on the matter. I checked out Smashwords, Lulu, iUniverse, BookPros, and Createspace. Each offered much of the same services with basically the same price ranges. You can compare each of these and several others by clicking here for more information. I went with Createspace. As I’ve said before, I had absolutely no idea how to begin and they had
an all inclusive package that required very little on my part. I hope to be a bit more savvy with my next novel.
Fifth, I had never used social media in my life. Quite frankly, I was against it. With teenage daughters, I had seen the bad part of the social animal and wanted nothing to do with it. So, I entered the playground of social networking kicking and screaming and against my better judgement. I started with Facebook. It’s innocuous and easy enough…right? Well, no…it’s not! Where do you start? This is an area where I’m quite sure I’m the only adult in the world that didn’t know how to Facebook.
With the help of my oldest teenage daughter, I was plugged in and given a run-through. I fell madly in love in a matter of days. I found and re-connected with friends I hadn’t seen or talked to in thirty years. I became friends with co-workers that I had worked with but hadn’t taken the time to get to know. Because I am a writer, I have a public page and an author page, so I have met friends of friends of friends…you get the picture I’m sure.
Twitter was and is for me, a more difficult beast to conquer. I compare it to being the new kid at school, mid school year, and walking onto the playground and hoping to be invited to play…even when you don’t know how to play the game. This time it was my youngest daughter hooking me up on Twitter, only without a run-through. She got a real kick out of letting me thank myself for following…especially since my followers consisted of her teenage friends for about a month. She just recently got her phone back!
I went into it thinking this is where I will sell my book. Then it occurred to me that I’m following other authors…they don’t want to buy my book any more than I want to buy theirs. It wasn’t until a few months later (I figured out through blogs I follow) that it’s about making connections…learning from others about where to go and what to do. This is where you find services you need, information on what works and what doesn’t and building relationships with others in the same boat you’re in. I must say, I’ve found the Indie Author community the kindest, most generous, most helpful group of people I’ve ever encountered. It’s an unspoken desire for all of us to succeed in the independent publishing jungle…to be recognized as valid, published authors with work that’s worth reading. I’m learning the rules of the game on this playground, but I no longer feel like the new kid waiting for the popular group to invite me to play.
My best advice to anyone wanting to write and self publish their work…do your homework first. See what you are in for from start to finish. Writing the book is the easy part…swear. Self publishing requires a lot of prep work before you decide to publish…building a website, building a platform, developing a fan base, marketing strategy, blogging and networking, and my own personal nemesis…time management so you can write that next great novel. Unfortunately, I’m playing catch up. Part of that process I’ll go into next week…building a website. I’m no expert by any means…but I know people who are!
So if you’re courting the idea of writing and publishing your work, ask yourself one question: Am I willing to put in the time and effort to do everything necessary to make my book the success I know it can be? It’s damn hard work…but worth it I think. It’s like having a baby…once it’s born, you forget the pain.