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