What I’ve learned in my short time as a writer and self-publisher……
I’ve only been in this business for a short while. Just a little over two years which is nothing in the world of writing, and a mere drop in the bucket when you consider self-publishing. These are just a few things I’ve learned along the way, both personal and professional.
The hardest lesson I’ve learned is that you find out real quick who your friends are. People that are only available when times are good, but are no where to be seen when you’re low, they aren’t your friends. And while it’s unfortunate, it’s good to know that on the front end. You need a good, sound, rock-solid support system around you while you travel this bumpy road. Getting rid of the weeds now will only help you in the long run. As bad as it may hurt, cut your losses and move on. You’ll be better off. You need people to lift you up, not drag you down.
Secondly, you can have a thousand and one ideas in your head and while they may be amazing, putting them on paper is a different story entirely, pun intended. You will write and you will type; you will scribble with purpose and cry with frustration. Your first draft will probably be crap, but that’s okay. Getting it out is the first step towards winning the battle. Don’t panic when you realize this! Step away from the delete button!! Instead edit, edit and edit some more, preferably from a printed copy. It’s much easier than chasing your cursor all over the computer screen. You will cut more than you keep and just when you think you’re done, you’ll get rid of even more. Truthfully, you will spend more time editing than you will writing. The key is walking away. Let it sit for a while. Find something else to do; anything to occupy your time and your mind. Walk away!!
Marketing….grrrr!!! Oh how I loathe marketing! Not because I don’t want to do the work. You cannot be a writer and avoid work, it simply isn’t possible. I dislike marketing because I don’t want to be that person. You know, the pushy, in-your-face salesman that won’t go away. I want my work to speak for itself because I know the time and effort it took to produce it. I don’t want to beg and throw a tantrum for people to believe in what I do because if that’s my approach then I already feel defeated. However, have no fear, there’s plenty of ways to avoid a meltdown. Social media (I say this all the time) is. Your. Friend. Twitter, websites, blogs, Facebook (though I have my own beef with them at the moment!) Amazon author page, Good Reads, etc., are all within your reach. You just have to be willing to put in the time and the work. Join author groups and connect with other indie-authors who are in the same boat. Support will carry you farther than you think, emotionally and otherwise. Feeling like you’re all alone in the big, bad world of self-publishing can be paralyzing, so having others to lean on and offer advice might just be the most invaluable thing you acquire.
Lastly I would offer that when you feel like giving up, that’s when you need to push the most. Send out another tweet. Write another blog. Post another link to your book. Forget the naysayers and the doubters. Forget all the weeds that you pulled from your garden and keep trudging on.