Tips from a Self-Publishing Newbie
by Adrienne Thompson
Newbie, first-timer, novice, freshman–all distinctions assigned to writers like myself, but there is yet another label that can be attached to me–published author. I self-published my first novel in July of this year and have even sold my books at a respectable pace (and not just to friends and relatives). I have gained a wealth of knowledge from the experience of publishing my book and I’d love to share a few tips with aspiring writers since, although I am not on the bestseller’s list, I realize that there are many writers who wish they were in my shoes.
Regardless of your station in life or in your writing career, you must be sure to write something, anything everyday. The only way to become better at writing is to write and write and write. For those of us who love to write and are passionate about storytelling, this is not difficult, but if you’re like me and you have a full-time job and other responsibilities, finding time to write may be an issue. Set a word-count goal for yourself. Be it 500 or 5000 words, commit to reaching your goal everyday. I write on breaks at work or early in the morning or late in the evening. Where there is a will, there’s a way, and if you are serious about writing, you will find the time.
To put it plain and simple: writers must be readers. The notion that you can write a book without ever having read one it utterly ridiculous! The best training for a writer is to read and read and read some more. It is in reading the work of others that you learn how to construct a story and develop characters and plots. In reading, you learn how a book should look and feel and flow. I suggest you read a wide variety of genres and authors because you can learn something different from them all.
3. Identify your readers!
Early on, you need to determine what genre you’re writing and who your readers are. You are writing for them, not your family or your friends. Your readers are who make you an author. Do your research, engage with them through social media or join a local book club, and find out what readers like and what they are willing to pay to read. It does you no good to write a book that only you or your friends like because nine times out of ten, your friends won’t buy the book. They’ll probably expect a free copy (which brings up another lesson I’ve learned: it’s ok to say “no”!)
4. Hire an editor!
For the love of God, please please please do not skip this step! Yes, it can be expensive, but good editing is more than worth its cost. Poor editing can ruin a perfectly good story. As writers, we tend to think we can do it all, including editing. Maybe that’s true for some. I myself have a very strong English background, but after you’ve writtten a story and read over it a million times, you can still miss errors. It is to your benefit to have someone else look over your work even if just for proofreading. If all you need is help with grammar and sentence structure, consider soliciting the help of an English major at a local college (this is what I did with Bluesday). College students are usually willing to work for a very small fee.
5. Self publishing doesn’t have to be expensive!
I did all of my own type-setting and formatting for my paperback and also all of the formatting for the Nook and Kindle versions of Bluesday myself. Yes, there were times I wanted to slam my laptop against the wall or cry or scream during the process, but I am a divorced mother and I just could not afford to pay someone else to do it. I did it and I think I did a pretty darn good job, too. The only things I paid for were the cover design, editing, ISBN number, bar code, and coyrighting and none of that broke my bank. I am very pleased with the end result and so are my readers!
6. Never ever ever give up!
If you don’t believe in your God-given talent, then neither will anyone else. If you have a story burning in your brain, insisting that it be told, then don’t let anyone or anything keep you from telling it. You may find yourself alone and without much support or encouragement, but as the song goes, “Encourage Yourself”. My motto is “Dream it, believe it, put in the work, and achieve it!” If I haven’t learned anything else, I’ve learned that a dream takes work, hard work. As an author, you can not be shy about promoting your book, because often times, you will be doing it alone (and this is true of traditionally published authors as well). Make good use of Facebook and Twitter for marketing, and if your budget permits, advertise on some book websites or book club newsletters. Be determined, pray for guidance, and never ever give up on your dream!!!
Married at sixteen, a mother twice by seventeen, and thrice a mother and divorced by twenty-four, Adrienne Thompson is no stranger to adversity. Not your typical teenage mother, she went on to complete her college degree and to earn her nursing license. She attributes God’s faithfulness as the catalyst for her success in life. Now, having raised two children as a divorced mother, with a third fast approaching adulthood, she is sharing a long hidden talent and passion with the world. Using the lessons that life has so expertly taught her as a guideline (betrayal, abusive relationships, self-esteem issues, witnessing the deteriorating effects of drug abuse), she has created a novel that will both entertain and inspire the reader. Bluesday is a satisfying mixture of inspiration and drama that will not leave you disappointed.
For more information, visit http://adriennethompsonwrites.webs.com