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.
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.
(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