Things I Learned AFTER I Published My First Book
1.) If you are going to send people chapters to read- send it FAR in advanced to the publishing date. They will give feed back. They will give it to you as soon as they have time to read it. Even if that is 12 hours before you publish. It will make you sick to your stomach.
2.) Tell people the deadline for feedback. “This is when I need feedback by, if you cannot get it to me by that date, forever hold your peace.”
3.) Hire a good editor. Get recommendations from other authors. Do not use someone that you found randomly. If the person is a friend, still ask for a sample edit. Its business, not friendship.
4.) Take the week off of work. If you have a 9-5, take the entire week of publication off. I took the day of publication off and felt incredibly overwhelmed when emails and FB messages were coming in with questions and comments and trying to carry on with my job and everyday life.
5.) Start promoting months before! I started a few weeks before and have found that this is not enough. I needed to get people excited about my character and a few weeks were not enough time to do that.
6.) People say “Oh you have a book? I will totally buy it.” That does not mean today, tomorrow or even ever. They are trying to be supportive but your book is not a top priority, nor should it be.
7.) People are going to trash your book. If it’s good, if it’s bad, someone is not going to like it. Don’t take it personally. I didn’t like Old Yeller and that is a classic.
8.) Cover Art is the most important part of your book along with the title. People will not pick up a book with a boring title and boring cover. Hire professionals to do the work (or have great friends that will do it for free like me!) but make sure they know what they are doing.
9.) Appreciate your customers! They believed enough in the title, cover and description to BUY your work! Send thank yous and if you don’t know who they are just post thanks to Twitter for your recent sale.
10.) And lastly, don’t give up. The first book is not for sales or landing an agent. The first book is for exposure. This is hard to take. You may have spent years working on this piece just to have low sales and little positive recognition but is that why you write? That’s not why I write. I write because I love it. Its fun and I feel good when I do it.
I hope this helped any other aspiring authors. I wish I had known all this before self-publishing. It would have made my expectations a little more realistic.