No amount of reading will really prepare someone for the realities of being an author, whether traditionally or self-published. In a way, self-published authors have even more things to worry about once a book is released, although there is no shortage of surprises in store for the new author learning the ropes of publication.
If I could do it all over again, these are the top ten things I wish I had known before I had published for the first time!
10: Deadlines Matter
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because you’re working for you, you’re not – not really. If you’re with a traditional publisher, they have deadlines to get your book to the market. If you’re working with a freelance editor, they have set aside time in their busy schedules to accommodate you.
Deadlines matter. If anything, these deadlines have become even more important since I’ve published.
9: Competition is Irrelevant
There is no need for a number one when it comes to book and book sales. Don’t worry about the so-called competition. Someone who is reading a book is likely reading many books. There really is enough room for everyone, and there is no need to get competitive with other writers.
When someone is buying books, there is a high chance they’ll buy multiple books. Worry about the quality of your novel, not your competition.
8: The Reality of Reviews
Reviews can be full of compliments and love for your novel. They might be full of nothing but scorn and dislike for your work. No matter what, they can impact an author. No one is immune to it. If you can’t handle what is in the reviews without getting overly giddy or distressed, don’t look at them.
The reviews are for other customers, not for you, although there is a lot you can learn from a review, if you decide to take them seriously.
7: The Work I didn’t Know I’d have to do
When I was first published, I thought the hard work was done. Wrong. It was just the beginning. Coasting around doing nothing to connect to your fans won’t get copies of your book sold. Being an author isn’t just about putting words on a page. It’s about writing books and connecting with your fans. Your readers need to find you, and that takes work.
If you get famous, your books have a good chance of selling themselves. Until then, you’ll need to find readers. That requires effort.
6: One Proofer isn’t Enough
No one is perfect, and the same applies to proofers and authors. A good proofer will catch the vast majority of your mistakes, but don’t be afraid to have someone else go over the novel for you – even if it is a really picky friend who hates errors.
It really makes a big difference.
5: Sales are Fickle
Try not to attach your self-esteem to your sales. Sales can be fickle things. One day, you won’t have hardly any sales. The next, it can skyrocket and catch you by surprise. When you’re starting out, don’t let your sales figures drag you down. Backlists will really help your sales in the future, but you need to release a few books first!
4: Character and Author Associations
Most people read because they love the characters. Don’t be too distressed if a fan refers to you “as that person who created <Character Name>.” It’s okay. Your characters are the people your readers and fans love. You come second to your stories.
So, don’t worry about it. Once they fall in love with your characters, they’ll be looking for your name because they want to meet more characters created by you.
3: Success (usually) doesn’t happen overnight
Get used to the idea. If you win the authorial lottery, rejoice. Otherwise, don’t sweat it. Most of us have to climb the mountain the hard way, and that’s okay!
2: There is no such thing as a perfect novel
There will be errors. There will be things you want to improve. You may even improve your basic writing skills. Fix the things you can, and don’t worry too much about the things you can’t. Always move forward, and focus on making your next novel even better.
1: Your Writing is Not You
It’s really easy to get caught up in the idea that your writing defines you, and that reviews or comments from readers are about you personally. They aren’t. They’re about your writing, and your writing is not you.
Don’t sweat it. It really makes a big difference on stress levels if you accept that not everyone will like your book, and their dislike for your book has absolutely nothing to do with you as a person. After all, these people don’t know you, not on a personal level.
If I had known these things in advance, I think my debut novel would have been released in a much smoother process, and I wouldn’t have stressed quite as much about it. There’s still stress and challenges, but they’re far easier to manage now.
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
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