Happy New Year, readers. My first novel releases on January 25. Here are some things I have learned on the way to indie publication.
1. In the old days you pounded the pavement with your manuscript, looking for an agent to represent you. Now you pound the virtual pavement with your manuscript, looking for influential bloggers to review you.
2. It’s totally possible to write, revise, polish, and publish a manuscript. It’s not easy, but it’s something that mortal humans can accomplish. So, difficulty isn’t the reason so many people keep their novel in their head, or in a desk drawer. I think the reason is that once you publish, not only can people see what’s inside your head, but they can reject what’s inside your head.
3. Once you decide you don’t care what people think, it’s a lot easier to move forward with the publishing endeavor. Another acceptable method is to care what they think but decide not to let it rule you.
4. Many people believe they are good editors. Very few are.
5. Proofreading and editing are very different skills. Someone who possesses one of these skills in abundance may have absolutely none of the other. Beware of anyone who says they have equal skill in both. They might be telling the truth, but it’s not likely, because number 4.
6. They say you can indie publish a book at zero cost to yourself. Sure you can. And then you can watch it get buried under the avalanche of poorly written self-published works on Amazon.
7. The corollary to this is that once you start spending, it’s hard to know where to stop. For the love of books, I wish everyone would hire at least an editor, proofreader, and cover designer (although see number 4 and beware the crappy editor).
8. I decided to indie publish because it’s a viable option in the world I live in today. Traditional publishers are doing less and less to market their authors, but they’re still taking the same share of the proceeds as they always did (if not more). Since I am going to have to do my own marketing anyway, I may as well publish myself. That said, sometimes I get nostalgic for the old days, wishing that I had been a writer back when, if you were able to get a book deal, you had a good chance of making some money. Higher bar to entry, but entry meant something and, since there were fewer books, it was more likely yours would get noticed.
9. Even though writing a book is achievable by humans, it can be very painful and lonely. Hours home alone, at a computer, cut off from the internet, dredging all manner of horrors up from the subconscious. What’s not to like?
10. I will never, ever, ever, ever (ever) again vomit out a book, stream of consciousness style, and then go back and edit it. It was a mess and it took me hundreds of hours to untangle it. From here on, I’m a plotter. Or, more accurately, a recovering pantser.