I couldn’t agree more with the above points. When I decided to self-publish my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy in July of 2011, I thought I had a good idea of what lay ahead. I was wrong. In the spirit of Indie Month, thought it might be helpful to offer a breakdown of things I think I did right and things I wish I had known before I self-published. If I can help even one person by doing this, it’ll be well worth it!
What I Think I Did Right:
- I wrote and published the entire trilogy at the same time. I wanted to be sure my trilogy was consistent, so I wouldn’t publish the first book without having written the next two. I ended up making numerous changes to Becoming as I wrote the other books, so this proved wise. Thus, when I did publish, I had three available books for purchase.
- I hired a phenomenal cover artist. Although I had to use my credit card to do it, I hired Devan Edwards of Nimbi Design to create my book covers. To this day, people rave about the covers.
- I made sure the books were clean and well-edited. Like amazing covers, editing is a required investment in your books. Your sales will suffer without it. Period.
- I used the cover of Becoming as my avatar when I joined Twitter. Credit for a large majority of my early book sales goes directly to this decision. Funny enough, I did this because I didn’t yet have a professional author head shot. Then I realized that people were curious about my avatar, and when I mentioned it was my book, more times than not they went to buy it.
- I interacted with everyone. I know a number of authors who don’t follow people on Twitter or Facebook they don’t know, or they only follow people they think will promote them or read their books. I don’t understand this philosophy. I follow people from all walks of life and enjoy learning about them. Even if they aren’t my target audience, one of their followers may be.
What I Wish I Had Known:
- What works for one author won’t work for all. I spent weeks researching tips on how to succeed in indie publishing. I can’t think of many tips I read that actually helped me. It’s baffling and discouraging to fail at efforts that bring others success. What I took from this is to do your own thing and rock the hell out of it.
- There are people out there who will knock you down just to see you fall. Be prepared not only for negative reviews, but for soul-destroying author bashing. It’s going to happen. I don’t understand it, but all authors (especially indies) endure it.
- My productivity is less than half what it was before I published. Now that the bulk of my writing career is spent engaging with my readers on social media, blogging for my site and others, managing sales and marketing efforts, etc., my writing time is a fraction of what it once was. Remember this when you’re thinking about releasing only one book of a series. It could be a year before you finish the next one!
- The indie community is more supportive than you’ll ever believe. I’ve made some lifelong friends since self-publishing my books. We’re a passionate group of writers who believes everyone should share their hard work with the world. If you’re considering self-publishing, reach out to us. We’ll welcome you with open arms!
That’s it in a nutshell. I wouldn’t change my choice to self-publish. It’s been an amazing journey, and I hope many of you out there decide to pursue it, too.
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