My New Year’s Resolution was to write and publish a second book – and I did. I’ll allow myself a little bit of pride in that (but not too much because I’m a writer and I’m British). I’ve now published two books in two years – so what did I learn?
1. Decide why you want to publish and plan accordingly
I’d love to make a living purely by writing books, but even traditionally published, ‘successful’ writers have other jobs because this writing lark doesn’t pay well. If you self-publish it’s even harder. The e-book market is saturated, social media is packed out and advertising is costly. If you want to make a living from your books, you’ll need a good plan, good books (plural), a bit of money and other streams of income.
But if you just want to publish your book because you’ve done it, like I did, that’s valid too. I know I’m not likely to be the next Stephen King or JK Rowling, but I love writing and I want to share it with the world when I’m done – even if barely anyone reads it!
2. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain
‘Under this Skin‘ took me four years to write. I say ‘write’, there was a great deal of procrastination involved. I could have published it earlier, if I’d had a better writing plan, a bit more confidence and a bit less snobbishness about e-books. I thought I’d only be a writer if I was published traditionally. But self-publishing doesn’t make me any less of an author. Publishing an e-book is free (especially if you design your own cover) and relatively easy. And once you’ve done one, you usually get the bug to do the next!
3. Always give yourself the best chance to succeed
I knew if I wanted to get a book out a year after my first one, I needed to get going quickly. So I looked into my archives and found many short stories I’d written over the years. I noticed they were all based around the supernatural, and that gave me the idea to do a collection of these as my next book. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to work. All the stories needed editing and I even threw a new one into the mix. But I gave myself a ‘head start’ as it were.
4. Plan, plan and plan some more
I posted recently about using a schedule for your writing, and I’m banging on about it again but it honestly helped me to get ‘Tales from the Creeping Edges‘ done. My day job involves writing and staring at computer screens most of the day. I struggled to get motivated to do the same when I got home so giving myself just one task to do each day kept me going.
I’d also mention getting a marketing plan in place. Again I’m not focused on selling so I’ll admit this isn’t my forte. But there are plenty of people for whom it is. You’ll find loads of articles and blog posts online that will help you pull a plan together.
Those are the main things I learnt in my self-publishing journey so far. What words of wisdom would you impart to anyone new to the area?
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