3 Things I’ve Learned About Indie Publishing (So Far)

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I have been an author for about 3 weeks, so I thought I’d share the vast and incalculable amount of knowledge I’ve harnessed so far through publishing my debut novel, “Core.”

1. Don’t call it self-publishing.

Why? Because self-publishing, in my opinion, has a negative connotation to it, as though no one believed in me and I had no choice but to go it all alone, like some sort of lesser-than. Indie publishing, now? I feel like I’m doing something different and bold and daring–breaking the norm and blazing my own trail. It just sounds cooler, and thus, makes me feel cooler. I find myself advertising my book as indie instead of keeping it a secret. It went from “oh crap, they found out I’m only self-published” to “yes, my book is awesome and I did it myself! BOO-YA!”

2. Don’t do it yourself.

I know exactly one sentence ago I was bragging about that feeling of accomplishment that comes with knowing I did it all on my own. But the truth is I didn’t. And I suggest you don’t either. Why? Because doing it all by yourself is lonely and sad and not as much fun. I’m thankful I had my own little mini-team of helpers. My husband–who is my editor, cover artist, promoter, publicist and manager all in one (all volunteer and unpaid, I may add; what a trooper). My best friend, who edited all of my manuscripts–even the old crappy ones. Who laughed with (and at) me as we poured over each sentence of my work, and who is always there to send me a “you’re-a-freaking-genius” text when I feel down. My sister, who gushes over everything I do, even if it’s lame. Who hangs up on me when I call her to see how she likes it so far because she’s “not finished and it’s too good to put down so stop calling or she’ll block my number.”

Without these people, I wouldn’t have “Core.” I wouldn’t be an author.

 3. Don’t freak out.

I can’t tell you why I burst into tears when I think sales aren’t going well. Or hyperventilating when my mom-in-law starts texting me all the mistakes she found in the first version. I forget to remember that freaking out isn’t going to boost sales and it isn’t going to inspire me to write a better sequel. All it does is make me stall. So what do I advise you do? Call up someone who’ll tell you what you need to hear. I recommend someone who you know will tell you how perfect and wonderful and gifted an author you are; someone who will pull a lie out of their butts and tell you that at any moment, millions of people will discover your book and you’ll feel silly for freaking out. If you don’t have anyone like that, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you! It doesn’t necessarily have to be 100% true. It just has to get you to stop crying. Or whining. Or screaming.

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In summary, this is all brand new to me, and the most valuable thing in my world right now isn’t book sales or ranks or royalties. It’s encouragement. It’s a great review I didn’t expect. It’s a friend running up to me and squealing about how excited they are to be reading my book. It’s my family member wrapping me in a hug and saying how proud they are of me. This is what keeps me going, keeps me from hiding in my closet with a dozen copies of “Core” and using the pages to sop up hysterical tears brought on by the false belief that I’m a failure.

If this post does nothing else for you, I hope you find a bit of encouragement here. You’re not a loser, or a failure, or whatever your silly head tells you. You’re an author. You worked hard. You’re still working hard. And believe it or not, you’re already changing the world.

Chin up, fingers down, and keep typing.

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 (By the way, “Core,” made it to the top 5 of amazon’s bestsellers for Sci-fi/ fantasy in print this week!)

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4 comments

  1. jamieayres · June 24, 2013

    I can relate to these! Even going with a small publisher, I felt those same inferior feelings. And you are soooo lucky to have those wonderful people supporting you! When 18 Things came out, I was blown away by people who supported me, even total strangers, and then others I thought would have my back and then never helped me promote, buy or read my book. But you just have to remind yourself it’s not about you, it’s about how God wants to use you and your book to make a difference in the world 🙂

    • Teshelle · June 24, 2013

      Exactly what threw me, Jamie! People I never thought would rally behind me completely did, including my high school graduating classmates and others I hadn’t talked to in years. And the people I just knew without a doubt would be there… well, they weren’t. But in the end, God gave me exactly who and what I needed. I’m so thankful and blessed 🙂

  2. B. Patterson · June 24, 2013

    This is so helpful. And it’s so amazing that you’ve had as much success as you’ve had with such a small group to lean on. But you’re right, it’s silly to do it alone and a lot less fun. Good luck on the sequel!

    • Teshelle · June 24, 2013

      They really are the best! (Plus I had about a few thousand “beta readers” through posting a draft of my work on wattpad first.) But honestly, I can’t believe how much my team did for me, especially knowing that they weren’t going to get paid or anything of the sort. I’m just loved and lucky!

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