Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 4

In parts 1-3 I talked about what happened to get me writing and my journey until now. In part 4 I’m discussing the part of writing I don’t like.

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Marketing is what I dislike the most since becoming an indie author and my weakest skill. I have a hard time promoting myself. It’s not that I don’t think I’m worth it, but I was raised “not to blow my own horn.” Well, being self-published you DO have to blow your own horn there is no one else to do it for you. I have learned to promote myself by having book launches on my blog and other blogs. I now make sure I have beta readers, they help me with the little things I’ve missed.
I do enter book contests. I’ve been a finalist many times. I like to think that helps someone choosing whether to read one of my books or not. In the past I know it made a difference to me when buying a book. If my kids were looking at books to buy at the book fair, I’d point out award-winning ones first. I hope that still applies.

I know I need to get out there in public more. Attend the local book club I belong to and join in their events. I have not approached any local bookstores, book signings or done a speech. So this is something I will be working on next. Being an introvert makes this my biggest challenge. I live in a very art-oriented community, and I want to make sure I’m the very best I can be before I venture out locally.
Another part of writing that I’m not fond of is the quest to find a publisher.  Honestly, it isn’t cheap to be an indie author. To do it right you need a good editor. As I’ve said, I’ve unfortunately found out the difference between a good and bad one rather quickly. Formatting isn’t something I’m accomplished at, but I’ve found someone who does a wonderful job. Book covers aren’t my skill set either, but again I’m willing to work on all of those areas.

I have used my photography for all my short stories, and books: “The Button”,  “This Second Chance”, and “No Fairy Tale.” I also have an accomplished book cover designer that will help me at any stage of design. I really want to put more time into the visual part of writing for social media and my promotions. Then there are book videos. I have done a few but have a lot more to learn in that department, too.
All of those expensive tasks would be taken care of with a publisher, but then it would also be out of my control, too. I will see what this year brings. I may try submitting to a publisher again. It’s been 20 years since I have, and I’ve learned a lot since then. I know the marketing still falls mainly on the author and I’d be on a deadline which would only add more stress to my writing and personal life.
I’ve been very lucky through this process. It’s inspiring and educational to see how other indie authors handle not only marketing but all the parts of writing. So many are willing to share their stories and skills. Then there are those few “authors” to avoid who are only there to make money off of other authors. They may claim to be authors, but their books are just about making money writing or courses to take to learn. They are making money telling writers how to make money. There are those who prey on first time writers with offers too good to be true–they are. Then you are out a lot of money or even your ownership of your work. There’re contest scams and editor scams. I can, unfortunately, attest to that. Be careful who you use to edit for you. I honestly think some of these so-called editors use a program on your work and never read it. I found a couple of editors who not only read my work but have strong opinions to improve it. I love when I get that kind of feedback!

On to the final thing, once you get your book written, beta read, edited, copyrighted, Library of Congress number for prints, book cover, formatted and the blurb is written—it’s time to upload it. I went from Bookbaby to now Kindle Publishing, Smashwords and Ingramsparks to cover all the markets. I’ve learned to set up a pre-order and have blog tours, promote it in my monthly newsletter and across social media while running a book release contest to go along with that. I still have a lot more to learn in this department, but I’ve made good progress.

Four years ago, after tripping over my black cat on Friday the 13th, I had no idea what I was getting into hitting that “publish” button. In those four years, I’ve learned how important these things are: editing, formatting, book covers, blogging, newsletters, social media, learning, reading, and interacting. The bonus to all the hard work is the friends I’ve made along the way. I call them my writing family and I’m there for them as much as they are there for me. It’s a great place I’ve found myself in. I learn something new almost every day with the bonus of getting to do what I love and reading amazing books — all of this from being laid up with a broken foot.

What seemed like something bad, wasn’t. It opened a whole new life for me. And now I celebrate breaking my foot every year and remember how far I’ve come since I heard that bone snap…because it cracked open my new life as an author.

in hospital

(Recently I found this picture of me in the hospital, that my husband took of me four years ago on Valentine’s Day, with my wrapped broken foot.)

Watch for a special edition blog this Thursday.

The Monthly Newsletter will be coming to your email this week if you are subscribed. I will be making an announcement about “Just Her Poetry” and debuting the new cover and blurb.

I have to share with you that I went to do my once over the night before this blog posted. What I found was no text, no pictures–nothing but a title. Gulp. No idea what happened. Luckily I had an older version. Never happened before and glad I had checked it in Grammarly where the older version was. I attempted to bring it back to its former glory…(And it disappeared again. I hope its here tomorrow!)

Embrace your inner child by reading a book. D.L. Finn

24 thoughts on “Looking Back as I Head Forward, Part 4”

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Denise. You are amazing in so, so many ways. Even the supposed accidents of life carry blessings that often we don’t see at the time. I’m following in your footsteps, my friend. ♥ PS. Beautiful photo!

    1. Awe thanks Gwen. Your kind words always have an impact on me:) I was surprised my husband still had that on his cell phone so I had to share it.

    1. Thank you Karen! Such a huge compliment coming from such an amazing writer. I do enjoy taking pictures and capturing the beauty around me.

  2. Marketing is the bane of my existence, too. (I think most of us feel that way.) I was also raised with the don’t-toot-your-own-horn value-set. But you’re right; it’s necessary. How nice that you live in an art-centric community. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you branch out in those circles.

    1. I agree Staci that most of us don’t like marketing. It isn’t a part of writing a story. It’s hard to overcome how we were raised but has to be done. It will be tiny steps into the community from me but with my daughter just finishing up her first book I have a feeling it might be a push…lol.

  3. Marketing is very hard, Denise. I admire you for persevering because you’re an Awesome writer! Who, but a creative type, would come up with a line like this, ” I celebrate breaking my foot every year and remember how far I’ve come since I heard that bone snap…because it cracked open my new life as an author.” 🤗

    1. Thank you Linda! I’m glad we are all here together:) I have to admit that was my favorite line of the series:)

  4. Thank you for sharing every aspect of your journey with us, Denise. You are right. Marketing is the hardest part of this whole writing business and I too, don’t like tooting my own horn. Until I discovered RRBC, I had only five reviews on any of my books. And now, thanks to this amazing club, I have lots! I am thrilled with the support it has provided as well as the marketing avenue. All that being said, I am trying for a publisher for the fiction series I’m writing. So far, all I’ve found is rejections. But, Mae Clair told me about Savvy Authors and twice per year they have a pitchfest where you can polish up your pitch and present it to agents and editors. I just did that and don’t yet know any results, but keeping my fingers crossed. Whatever you do, I wish you only the best!!! What a journey we are all on together!

    1. You are so right about RRBC Jan! I struggled with getting a couple of reviews before joining too and have learned so much as a member:) I’m hoping you get that agent or publisher this year. I haven’t heard of Savvy Authors, I may look into that when I get a new series going or what I have out there, too. It is an amazing journey we are all on together for sure. I love watching the success stories and can’t wait for more, your included.

  5. I feel the same way, Denise! I love supporting and marketing for others, just not so much for myself. So I agree on it being a hard part of the writing business. I’m grateful for you sharing with us. I agree with what everyone has said here. You are an inspiration to us all! ❤

    1. It is so hard and like you said I’d rather promote others than myself. It was even hard to share my story on writing but glad I did:) I think we inspire each other. Thanks Marlena!

  6. Yes, nice notes on the journey. I learned the hard way with the editors too. From too much money to too little and neither did a good job. But we didn’t really know what they were supposed to do back then. It’s been quite the journey,

    1. You are right the amount we paid to them didn’t matter. Now I understand its more than simply proof reading…even that wasn’t done right..lol. It has been a great journey you are very right.

  7. I hate all the promo stuff, Denise, I think all authors do.

    I noticed Jan mentioned Savvy Authors, I got my first publishing contract through them by doing a pitch. My very first one and I was lucky enough to get a contract the first time out the door.

    I do love having a publisher but there are times the pressure and deadlines take a toll on me.I make more with a publisher than I do with the few indie releases I have, but the luxury of time (and a few other items) are things I’ve learned to sacrifice. I think there is something to said for both ventures all the way around.

    Everything I’ve read of yours is extremely polished and has always left me impressed. With the right story, the right pitch and the right timing, I have no doubt you could land a publishing contract.

    P.S….that photo made me smile.

    1. I’m so happy you got the contract, and on the first try! I can see why after reading your new series– and your old one, too:)

      Yes, I go back and forth between indie and publisher and can see both sides to it.

      I appreciate your encouragement and support, Mae–it really means a lot to me! I might have to start thinking about a new series as I finish up the final evildwel book. Going to be hard leaving the angels behind.

      Thanks, I was determined to make it a nice Valentine’s Day sweater and all even if we had to spend it in the ER.

  8. Ugh, marketing! This is my first go at it, and I feel like I’m flailing. I’m so thankful for those other authors who have shared the things they have learned along the way. And then I wonder, with all this promo stuff, when on earth I’m going to get the next book done.

    Good luck with whatever path you choose!

    1. Its hard, but you are doing a great job Julie:) Yes, it is more time consuming than I know I’d like, especially when we just want to write! We are very luck to share and learn from each other. Thank you I wish the same luck back to you.

  9. I am amused by the broken foot story (that led to publishing a book!), and yet I also felt a sense of rightness. We all need a little bit of something to nudge us out of our groove, if only for a short time, to experience something beyond the ordinary. It’s just that for most of us, tripping over a black cat ISN’T THE NUDGE, ha ha!

    1. It’s a darn good story to tell. Yes, we all need that nudge, although this felt more like a gentle push. I’m a touch more stubborn than most…lol. I’m glad of the outcome though:)

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