I’m in the process of readying my first novel for publication. (Click here for details.) As I work, there are a few things I’ve picked up as on this journey I’d like to share. They were instrumental in getting me this far.
1. Assess your options and consider the independent electronic publishers
Going it alone is not for the faint-hearted but don’t think because you opted out from the big six publishers, you have
to do it alone. There are tons of small publishers (independent publishers) who can offer you great royalties and some support.
You still have to do a lot of your own promotion, but they sort out things like book design, editing, formatting and online distribution. A few will even set up online events for you too. So if you don’t know where to start, try those.
I didn’t realise these guys existed until six months ago, and while ultimately, I decided not to use them, I definitely recommend checking a few out before you go it alone.
2. Gather allies and avoid haters
Surround yourself with people who think you can succeed. Yes, this might sound like you’re deluding yourself with a crowd of yes women, but you’re a writer, you’re supposed to delude yourself. Never underestimate the power of your cheerleading section.
Okay, you might think I’m suggesting that you just surround yourself with people who tell you your writing is awesome, but that’s not what I’m saying (see next point).
As a writer who has chosen to go with an indie publisher or alone, you will face a lot of judgement from some writers, some reviewers, the literary media and readers. As we know, many people consider indie publishing akin to literary moonshine. I’m advising you stay away from people who are going to put you down because they don’t believe in your choices.
Do not stick around in forums where people attack you and don’t friend people on Facebook if they’re only going to put you down for self-publishing. Why punish yourself? Where do you find the time? Shouldn’t you be writing? Listen, not everyone will agree with you, I mean, wear white after Labor Day and not everyone likes it, so tell them to deal with it.
Instead, find people who will build you up and help you on your journey. When you find them, hold on to them.
3. Get as much feedback as you can on your writing
I’m not talking about the mechanics of your writing (for example, spelling, syntax and consistency. Please invest as much as you can in getting your work edited, proofread and beta read.) I mean getting input about the plot. I’m a talker. I love talking people through the ins and outs of my stories. I find this helps me develop my plot significantly.
Some writers know they should get a reasonable amount of feedback on your actual writing and story. The challenge is finding people to give you the feedback. I accept not everyone I talk to likes it when I do that. I’ve burnt out three of my sisters and one brother (but I’ve got three more siblings to go).
I never understood the power of forums and online groups until I became a writer. I used to think,what can a bunch of unpublished writers know? Well, they know a lot. If you’re not using forums of any kind, stop what you’re doing, open another tab on your browser and Google “writers’ groups” (or let me Google that for you, lol).
Are you back?
There’s almost no question you have that someone on a forum can’t answer. Find a few and stick with them. You’ll be surprised at the valuable nuggets you can pick up. For instance, I only found out what a blog hop was a week ago from a woman I met in a Facebook group.
5. Above all write
This is the same for all writers except you don’t have an editor chasing you with a deadline. So, you have to chase yourself. Write in the morning, evening and night. Dump the boy/girl messing with your head and get your book done!