Sunday, 16 July 2017

Confessions of a self-published author - Part 2

Since becoming a self-published author, I've published three young adult novels (two were published by a small-press publisher but dropped with their entire YA catalogue), two sci-fi books in a series, one horror novella, a short story collection, and two short stories. Planned for release are books three and four in the sci-fi series, and up to twenty more of the horror novellas. These titles have already formed part of the catalogue of my self-publishing career.

But I'm not going to give up trying to secure a traditional publisher. Books that I plan to write and pitch to agents/publishers include a dystopian series, three romance novels I wrote years ago, and a thriller. Even though I'm self-published, picking up a publisher will broaden my audience and provide me with the support of a professional team that'll improve my writing, books sales, and overall career.

So why am I telling you this? Because I have a plan. And because as much as perception plays a large part in a character's story, it plays a large part in a writer's career. What we want and what we get are often two very different things.

Cue Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need."


We authors write the Want versus Need scenario into a character's story arc. So why not our own?
  • What does this writer Want? To write every day and have someone else take care of the promotion.
  •  What does this writer Need? To know the ins and outs of their business.
When I began, I had no idea about author platform, or social media, or website design, or the power of a good cover and blurb. I didn't know that ads can be a huge waste of money nor that they are only one part of a marketing campaign. I didn't know about advanced readers or beta readers or street teams. All I knew what that I loved reading and writing and that's all I wanted to do twenty-four-seven.

Along the way I realized that I'm a control freak. I don't like being a passenger in my career. I need to know what's happening. I need a plan, a backup plan, an outcome, backup outcome. I need to make the decisions. And guess what, a self-published author gets to make ALL THE DECISIONS. And this isn't by choice. It's your circus, your monkeys.


That's perhaps one of the toughest things about self-publishing. YOU have to make all the decisions. If the cover is wrong, it's YOUR fault. If the blurb isn't working, it's YOUR fault. If you chose a matte cover instead of a glossy cover, it's YOUR fault.

You get the picture. When you're a self-published author, you make all the decisions about the book. That includes whether you self-edit, pay an editors, use beta readers, use a writers, group. YOU choose the cover (quite often you get no say in cover design with a publishing house). YOU write the blurb. YOU create the tagline. And the promo...yep, that's all yours, too. Budgeting, writing a plan, creating a Facebook page, Twitter page, yep, they're all yours to decide. The theme for your website. Do you even have a website? You got it. These are all your decisions to make.

The point of this post is to highlight that the decisions are all yours to make, and decision making isn't everyone's strongest skill. But it can be achieved. It used to take me ages to settle on a lampshade in a house. Imagine how hard it is to be the one who chooses the book cover.

Of course, some people are born to make decisions and they'll adapt easily to self-publishing. In fact, they thrive in this environment.

Are you a natural decision maker, or is it something you struggle with? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and I'll offer some tips that I've learned over the years.

I'll write some further posts on books covers, editing, and promotion, so stick around.

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