Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 2

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.

Part 2

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

25 thoughts on “Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 2”

  1. Thank you for sharing your fantastic journey with us, Denise! I too struggled with editors, finally finding one in Australia that did a decent job. But, as you said, it’s been an expensive learning curve. I would imagine a lot of us have similar mishaps we could share from our plunge into the world of self-publishing. 🙂 I can’t wait to read next week’s segment about RRBC, because for me, it has been more than a godsend, it’s created a whole new world for me! I’m so glad your daughter pushed you into publishing. My life would be missing a piece if I’d never met you. 🙂 Congrats on all of your accomplishments! Hugs!

    1. Thanks Jan:) Yes, it has been a huge struggle with editors for sure. Sorry you went through the same thing. My editor is close by in the Bay Area and has the same first name, so that always makes me smile.

      That’s why I love to hear others journeys I think we can really learn a lot from each other. I couldn’t write this without mentioning RRBC. I’ve met so many people who have become an important part of my life now. I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve learned and how I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone more than once–which is a good thing. I feel the same way about you Jan about that missing piece. I think we’ve have an amazing writing family here. Hugs back.

  2. Thank you for sharing this pivotal step on your journey, Denise. I love the inspiration of Dolphins you have used for your pen name. The learning curve we undertake as self-published authors never ends, and that’s a good thing. We continue to strive to be the absolute best we can be. I look forward to reading Part 3 of your journey.

    1. Thank you Soooz! I had a rather long list of names I was considering at the time, but this one really hit me. It does seem to be unlimited learning as an indie-author and I will never grow bored that is for sure. Only way to do it was jump right in and see where it goes and keeps going.

  3. You’ve had an amazing journey, Denise, and it’s wonderful to see it unfold here on your blog When I sounded out your name (D. L. Finn) I had to smile. I never made the connection before but it is beautiful. As is your writing journey. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Thank you Mae! I bet we all have stories to share and I’d love to hear them all. It’s an interesting path to be on for all of us. Yes, I had fun with coming up with that name:)

  4. So, Denise… is the Italian version Dionysia? I’m dying to know.

    I love that you’re sharing your journey. I always find I can learn from what others have done. And while I always get sidetracked on the “Supernatural” binge watching (seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy that?), the rest of it fascinates me. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lol. Yes, it is hard not to get sidetracked with Supernatural 😉 I love reading the journeys of others too. I find it i fascinating and insightful. Thanks Staci!

  5. Thank you for this post, r Denise. The writing is hard and so is the process of figuring out how to organize and package a book. I love the fact that so many writers are willing to share what they’ve learned.

    1. Thanks Robert:) Most Indie authors are an amazing and supportive community that I feel lucky to be a part of.

      1. It’s funny, I started writing when I was eight, I spent the 1980’s writing and performing my own work, but I never sought publication beyond a few anthologies and magazines, so It’s exciting and nerve wracking to organize a first book. In a way, it makes me feel like a kid again because there is so much to learn. I’m glad I found WordPress because the writers who use it are so knowledgeable and supportive. Thank you for being part of my WordPress community.

      2. There is no feeling like that first book. Yes, there is so much to learn that I never find myself bored anymore. Glad you are part of the community, too. It’s amazing your started writing at 8 years old, I can’t wait to read more of your work.

      3. It is hard to finally call onesself a writer, I know it was for me at one point, too. Glad you did though:)

  6. This is wonderful, Denise! I love learning more about other authors and their journey to publication. Yes, good editors can be hard to find, and expensive, but invaluable. And love the pen name (and dolphins 😀 ) And a Supernatural binge session? YES! Can’t wait for the next part (sorry I’m so far behind!)

    1. I love learning about other authors, too. Thanks, I had fun with my pen name. Always a good time to binge watch Supernatural:) No problem, I know you’ve been busy with the upcoming release.

  7. Hi Denise! I’m enjoying learning about your writing/publishing journey. I love how you chose your pen name.That was clever. Finding a professional editor that respects an author’s style and is not afraid to point things out is invaluable. I’ve also learned that editors that usually edit nonfiction books don’t really get fiction, especially fantasy and science fiction. So those of us that write fantasy and science fiction should be careful of using editors that do not understand or aren’t into world building and supernatural characters. I’m lucky to have an editor that does get it. I look forward to reading part 3.
    <3 xo

    1. Thanks Vashti:) Very happy you are enjoying this! I had fun with names, I still have another one I might use too in some way. The word play is fun.

      It’s so important editors understand your style or your voice can be trimmed out. It does take a certain skill set to do supernatural editing I agree. To pay attention to the created world enough to catch those tiny errors is invaluable. Your books are beautiful edited Vashti and that lets the reader just enjoy the story and I do!

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