Last week I talked about the fall over a black cat on Friday the 13th that landed me contemplating publishing. Part 2 is the result of that moment.
The “maybe” I should publish quickly turned into a why not. Spending so much time immobile finally gave me that time to research and do what I needed to do. I quickly realized I needed to have my work edited, along with starting a website, a blog and getting on social media, which was a bit overwhelming. So next time my daughter visited, whose idea this was, she jumped right in to help. I soon had my writer’s name, because my Italian last name is impossible for most to say or spell–and I also wanted a bit of privacy. D.L. Finn was born out of my love for dolphins (sound it out). Then I got the domain name for my website, created the site, started social media accounts, found an editor and a company to publish my book. I thought I was ready to go. Soon I’d be a published author.
Next on my list of things to do while “Elizabeth’s War” was being edited, was a book cover. Fortunately, I knew of a designer and got her to work on it, what you see above is its second version. During this time I also copyrighted the story and got a Library of Congress number for the print. I decided to purchase my ISBNs, so I’d have full control of my work. Then all I could do is wait while watching more seasons of “Supernatural” as I healed.
Soon everything was back to me. I was ready. With a shaking hand and racing heart, I uploaded my work and cover to Bookbaby. I was published. Within several days, I was holding an expensive printed copy of my first book. It was like Christmas morning when I was a child. I sent it out to reviewers and got a lot of great expensive feedbacks, for the most part. I started my blog and ran a giveaway. I built up a small base, had a couple of readers and made some wonderful friends along the way. I repeated the process with “An Unusual Island” while I was writing my first book in years, “Things on a Tree.”
Things were moving quickly, and I kept going. I soon decided it was time to part ways with Bookbaby and I took over the publishing part myself. I made a few changes to “Elizabeth’s War,” adding in a short story, an updated cover and put out the second edition. I removed my other two children’s books from Bookbaby and published them. Bookbaby did their job, but I wanted to do this for myself and not pay all those fees.
Then, I found a wonderful book club #RRBC that I joined. Here’s where I got the rest of my writer’s education (more on this in part 3). I had “An Unusual Island” and “Things on a Tree” re-edited from what I found was poor editing from two different companies. I was pleased with the results, but this editor was too busy to take on any new work.
In the meantime, I published “No Fairy Tale” my memoir/poetry book. The editing company I used for that may have caught all the errors, but the editor more suited to business writing over fiction. I later wondered if some of my personality might have been edited out in that process.
I decided it was time to find a constant editor. I thought I had one for my first adult fiction book, “This Second Chance.” Luckily in a pre-publication review, many errors were found and I changed the release date. I scrambled to find another editor because I had already started promoting my book. Luckily after a ton of research, I found one who could take me immediately! Within three weeks I had my work back. I had found an editor who understood my writing style and wasn’t shy to point out things to me. She made my first adult fiction book readable.
When it’s my story–I know the story. I’ve found I can’t edit my own work nor can some companies that claim to employ proficient editors. It was a hard and expensive lesson to learn as a writer to find good editors. Reviews can be very helpful when choosing an editor as well as other author’s experience and advice. I now look at resumes and many other things.
Also during this time frame, I decided to move my website from Wix to WordPress. This switch opened up how I communicated with other authors and my blog posts. One of the most important things I’ve learned as a writer is how vital it is to interact with other indie authors.
Although, I had no history with blogs before I published. I just knew I needed one from research. So I posted about my books or things I was thinking about. During my move, I gave some serious thought to what content I wanted on my new blog. I decided on book reviews, my opinions, my poetry, supporting other authors and sometimes promoting my books. Then the best part was finding other blogs to follow. I’ve have become very attached to several authors now, but not in a stalker kind of way. There are several blogs that I do not miss a post. I love stories, book reviews, advice, humor, and personal insight. It’s time-consuming but very worth it to me.
I rarely share my writing experiences because I feel like I’m still learning. But, when I was asked a question on Goodreads about writing I realized I do have experience now to share.
Next week will continue with Part 3.
Watch for another special blog post this week.
Embrace your inner child by reading a book! D.L Finn