For the past 69 days, I have been a published author. Here’s what I’ve learned in that time…
- Clicking ‘publish’ on that Amazon screen, sending my writing out into the world, meant way more to me than it did to anyone else in the world. I received lots of lovely messages on Facebook, a couple of sales… I was hoping for some flowers, perhaps some champagne. I should have bought my own champagne!! People are busy with their own lives. Real stuff, like deaths and illnesses, relationship and money struggles.
- Ready or not, it was out there for everyone to read, or not. The manuscript needed the attention of a good editor but I sent it out there, knowing it wasn’t finished. The pressure of having to produce something was real. As a visual artist, I understand that we can keep fiddling with our work ad infinitum. The old saying that no work of art is ever finished, merely abandoned is a trick, a lie. It’s something we tell ourselves to stop the voices in our heads from being so mean about our art. Most art and this goes double for writing, can be re-visited but letting it go is good too.
- Point 2 notwithstanding, the BEST part about self-publishing is that I can (and have) re-visited my cover, blurb, keywords, and manuscript numerous times. I’m still re-writing and fixing errors with my sister’s help. I have often wondered if I should simply ‘unpublish’ the book and re-release, but I’ll leave it out there.
- A one-star review doesn’t actually kill you, but it can put a major dent in sales. Readers have no idea how helpful positive reviews are and how harmful poor reviews are. Sure my manuscript still needs a bit of work in places, but my own brush with a ‘1-star killer’ was more about my incorrect keywords and categories – My book is ChickLit, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, perhaps even a saga – it most certainly is NOT a Time Travel Romance, even though I originally thought it was.
- People will tell you it’s wonderful but won’t write a review. It’s a thing. Better get used to it.
- Clicking publish on a novel isn’t a big deal. Doing it ten or twenty times and making a living from it is the goal, the first one is practice. A start. Keep going.
- Narrow the focus, find a niche. But have a passion project, too. I love to write some crazy stuff, but if people want to read pretty stories about Paris, then I am more than happy to write them.
- Daily writing is the way to write a book. And another. (No Sh*t Sherlock)
- Writing is the easy part; marketing is the horrible, hard part that will sort out the Grown Ups from the Kids messing around. I’m told it gets easier.
- Some days are more productive than others, but I stay focused on the goal and avoid distractions. The goal? To make a good living from writing. It’s that simple. Set goals, push your limits; you can’t work towards what you can’t see!
- Daily steps towards that goal are required and I am happy to report that I am very self-motivated, always have been, and keep myself on task. This blog is part of that. I set myself on a Quest to blog daily for 90 days. If I’d started that on the day I published Hotel Deja Vu, I would have been 3/4 of the way to 90 days…it’s never too late to start.
- There is a difference between being busy and being productive.
- Yes, a research visit to Paris is overdue. Just gotta sell some more books…
- And last but certainly not least, three pages of daily stream-of-consciousness writing seems to both stimulate my creativity and quieten the fearful voices that tell me I’ll never make it. Win-win.
Have a great day, I’m going to write a pretty story about Paris…