A year has gone by since Masks was first published. I could take a stroll down memory lane but the first four months would be too boring since nothing happened. I could count my accomplishments but what I deem an accomplishment such as finally removing the blood stain left behind from bashing my head against the wall after making several serious attempts at understanding Facebook and giving up might be considered a failure by some.
Instead, I think I’ll list seven things I’ve learned since publication.
- Commit to your dream. There are moments when I ask myself “Why am I doing this? I have a three year old daughter, a good career in transportation, friends, a boyfriend, a home, hobbies and interests. Do I really need to live on four hours of sleep a day? Do I really need to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc? Do I really need to give up my weekends of fun to sit at a computer and write?” The answer is “YES!”
- Promote yourself. Try to get in to local bookstores. Attend authors events at your local library, school, etc. Get in to your local newspaper and on your community TV channel. And most of all, use social media. You have access to millions of people with a handful of accounts.
- Recognize that there is only one of you. If you are self-published, you wear all of the publishing industry hats. There’s only so much one human being can do with 24 hours, so cut yourself a little slack. (By the way, if you know of a movement lobbying to increase the day to 48 hours, let me know. I’d be interested.)
- Socialize with your peers by joining an authors association or attending a conference. This is work but on a relaxed happy hour kind of level. Enjoy!
- Keep learning. Read blogs from peers, agents, successful writers, editors, publishers, marketers. Read books and take classes about writing.
- Your first novel is your worst novel. (Don’t take it from me; read this post.) I got the first one out. I had to. It was urgent, necessary, only death could have stopped me. The second one is better and it’s only in the first draft stage. I can’t wait to see the finished product but I can wait until the finished product is truly finished.
- Spend your self-publishing money wisely. Hire a story editor to point out the major flaws in your story and writing. Fix the problems, then hire that person again to check your changes if you can afford it. After that, hire a copy editor to fix your grammar and spelling. Editing is where the bulk of my self-publishing budget will be going soon. I will find a graphic artist to design my cover. I will create an e-book on Kindle and Smashwords for free. And I will get hard copies of my book through a print-on-demand company. It’s a lot of work for one person, but you can stretch your dollar further this way and spend it where it counts: editing.
Get A Free Digital Copy of Masks: A Novella
To celebrate my 1 year publication anniversary, I’m giving away free downloads of Masks: A Novella. Go to Smashwords and enter coupon code HG64Q. Download it quick because the couple expires August 5, 2011! Don’t forget to pass it on to your friends.
What have you learned from your self-publishing experience? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment.