Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Aspiring Self-Publishers, Start Here

Now is the greatest time in history to be a writer. Self Publishing has taken what before might have been an insurmountable task, and put it only a mouse click away. The chance to have your book published. No more do the agents and publishing houses have power over the "unmarketable". Our readers get to choose who they want to read, and what they want to read about.

Unfortunately they also get to wade through the sludge pile of unedited, poorly thought out and poorly executed work. Not long ago I was also in awe at the concept of getting my work out there for others to enjoy. Excited that I would not have to worry about the rejection letters that I was sure would rain down on my mail box. (If I'd ever had the guts to send out any queries.)

My first novella was written for Harlequin nocturne cravings, and was studiously ignored for what seemed like forever to me, but was more like three months. During my wait, I discovered that you could self publish. I did my homework and found that the benefits of Independent publishing far out weighed the stigma. I took my little novella and self published it for the first time in December 2011. And never looked at a publishing house again.

Unfortunately I was not ready for publishing. All of the wrongs I previously stated ran through every inch of my book. Sales went through the roof, but it sat uneasy with me the more I learned. I fixed everything but the cover and today it is still one of my best sellers. 

More and more on the forums I frequent I see newbies posting looking for feedback on a book they've already put up for sale. This is not the time to ask for help! That time is before you even upload. Writers groups are around for your benefit. Use them. This is the best place to ask some one for opinions on what you might be doing wrong. 

Your mother, brother, friend, co worker, do not qualify as editors. Even as proof readers they fall short. None of them will want to hurt your feelings, therefor, they will not tell you when your story isn't good enough. Grammar, spelling, syntax, flow and story progression, can only be remedied by an editor. No, your Microsoft Word spell checker does not count as an editor.

Self Publishing is the most rewarding thing I've ever done, but like any thing that's worth doing, it requires hard work, determination, and drive. Slow down, take a deep breath, and polish your work before you start selling it. You will be rewarded in the end. 

Til next time, may your Muse be at your side, and your writing the light that guides you.

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