When I first started writing stories, it was for my own entertainment, maybe a little bit of therapy. I didn’t have to worry about being good or what anyone else thought because no one else was going to be reading it. When I started sharing my stories there became more pressure to get it right. If you are new to writing or new to the idea of being a published author, the first thing I’ll tell you is allow yourself to fall down. Just like when you were a child learning to walk or when you were learning to ride a bike, you didn’t just jump up one day and do it. You had to learn and part of learning is falling down. The key is to keep learning, keep trying and keep getting back up there. This is also advice I give myself.
I am blessed to have a group of people: family, friends, and fellow writers who cheer me on whenever I lose heart. I know that I am lucky, not everyone has this support. I believe that is another key to success. We all need to find your tribe, find people who share your goals and and ideas, who support your work, even fans. We all need a cheering squad especially when we fall down.
Be an advocate for another writer. I review books for writer friends and acquaintances, and I’ve recently started accepting requests for book reviews from writers I do not know. Building your community around you helps you grow, become stronger and learn. Keep learning and keep writing!
For years I wanted to be traditionally published. I fought the self/independent publishing route partly from fear but also because I wanted to be accepted by the popular kids. I wanted someone to read my book and say, “Yes, I have to have this book in my life!”
The other reason I feared the Indie way was financial fear. You can spend a lot of money getting your book published and promoted. Making the right choices of where to spend the money: Everyone I have spoken to has said you need a good editor. If the book isn’t well done you will only sell one. I think the second important thing to spend money on is the cover. While there are programs you can purchase to create your own cover, there are also people who will do a good job and not charge a fortune. I believe having a cover and promotional stuff with the same images helps promote the book. Like falling in love, it is that first impression, the way something looks that attracts us first. To attract a reader—a great cover, to keep them —a good editor! But if you are talented and patient you can learn to design your own covers and there is software to help with editing. I still think editing is extremely important, at least have proof readers or someone you trust who is good at grammar read through your books before you publish.
Thanks to online publishing and print on demand, it is easier than ever to publish a book. If you are truly fearful, start with an e-book and go from there. I encourage all who dream of becoming published authors to not wait like I did. Take a leap of faith and see what happens.
I’ll be sharing my journey with you from forgetting to add page numbers to my first book signing. I hope you will stay with me on my publishing adventure. Oh, and not getting my own name right, that’s a fun mistake to have to fix. More about my mistakes to come, so don’t worry about falling down, just get up, dust yourself off and try again.