5 tips I wish I knew before publishing
Updated: Dec 20, 2019
I'm using this as my first blog topic because it's still very fresh in my mind. I wish someone gave me these three pointers before I began my arduous journey of self publishing Well of Bones. Just to be clear, this is a casual guide to self publishing. Not for writing in general. I'll have another section for writing related blogs. Before I get started with what I didn't know, I'll start with what I did know.
The author keeps complete control of the rights to his/her writing when self publishing, professional editors are a must, beta reader criticism is priceless, and deadlines are completely up to the author. Not much to start with. I know now. These are the things I have found helpful through the long process of trial and error.
1. Google and Youtube. We live in a wonderful time. If you don't know how to do something, look it up and learn. Want to learn how to change an alternator? Want to know how to properly prune a tree? Do you need to know how a manuscript should be formatted before uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing? Just search for what you are trying to do and try to be as specific as possible. Chances are, someone has asked the same question and found the answers online.
2.Get as many eyes on your work as you can but do not make a major change just because one of those people didn't like something. Writing is subjective. People have different tastes. You can't please everyone. The more eyes, the less likely a mistake will slip through. I have read through my manuscript so many times I've lost count. My editor read through it at least four times. Since we have become so familiar with the manuscript, we have probably been looking over the same errors over and over again. Beta readers before a professional edit. Modifications. Professional developmental edit. Modifications. Professional copy/line edit. Modifications. Proofreader. Don't be lazy and put too much trust in your editors and proofreaders. Check their work. Also remember, just because one of your beta readers or editors doesn't like something, doesn't mean it doesn't work. If more than one of those people are disliking the same thing, I would change it.
3. Stick to a budget and keep a journal. Publishing your own work could be inexpensive or quite costly. If you are willing to do most of the work yourself, it can be done for little more than the cost of a professional editor and a cover designer. Some authors even handle the cover themselves but I don't recommend that. No matter what services you feel are necessary to get your work out there and making sales, come up with a budget. I spent $1,500 to hire my editor, $370 for my cover design, $200 for a proofreader, $55 for a copyright, and hounded family and friends for beta readers. I handled formatting myself, which brings me to the next point.
4: Formatting isn't hard if you have a basic knowledge of Microsoft word. I am not good with computers so I let this step frighten me. Don't. It's easy. It just takes time and patience. Just look up how the manuscript should be formatted (eBook and paperback are different) to upload to the publisher you are using. Follow the steps and BOOM. Formatted and ready to upload.
5: Do this because you love it. Publishing is a long process that required a lot of work. I don't find it nearly as fun as writing. I published because I love writing and wanted to share my passion with my readers but its hard to get over the delusions of making it big or landing a movie deal. I don't mean to crush anyone's dreams, but that happens to very few writers. Sure, writing novels can be a lucrative side hustle, but striking it rich hardly happens. Less often than a writer would hope. It does still happen, but its better to approach this career path with realistic expectations. It's much more fun if you expect little and write because you love writing.