Monday, February 23, 2015

How to get it wrong

            After my car accident in 2003 I had to re-invent myself. I no longer had the desire to become a resourceful social worker and I could hardly walk ten feet without being in excruciating pain. Knowing all of this, I decided to go back to my roots of writing. I wrote a book and thought I had the biggest best seller out there. You could not tell me anything nor was I ready to stop my steam train towards success.
            With my novel in hand I started querying for agents and publishers. What I didn’t expect was all of the “no” responses I received. I got tired of hearing "no" and decided to use some of the money that I won in my settlement to get my book published. I didn’t care anymore, I wanted to see my book in print and it was worth more to me to see it in print than to have a quality entity that people would really enjoy.
            I decided to self-publish with Xlibris publishing. I thought they had the best offer for me at the time and even though it was a little expensive it was a means to an end. I edited the book myself and in December 2010 I published Dimes, Profiles and Wives. I paid to have it reviewed and actually got a 4 out of 5 stars much to my surprise. Of course my family and friends were the first to purchase the book but other than them I only sold about 100 copies.
            Now I wasn’t too upset about it, at first, until I realized something. My name was on that novel of minimalism and I had to own that above all other things. I really started to realize that I may have published too soon. That fact was solidified when I sent my book to another reviewer and they politely asked me if it was an ARC. I had no idea what she was talking about until I did some research. Let’s just say I learned the hard way on how to get it wrong.
            Sometimes self-publishing is a viable avenue for authors who really want to just have their material in print. However, if you really want to have a good entity out there that you are thoroughly proud of make sure you take the time to get it totally right the first time. The first thing I suggest is to get your work professionally edited (and not just by your best friend). Secondly, have your marketing strategy prepared months ahead of the launch. Third, don’t be afraid of the word “no” and still try to shop the book around to agents and publishers. And by all means even before step one write a quality product.
            Even though my first effort at self-publishing was a complete failure it has not deterred me in my writing career goals. Now I am more focused and understand the industry and its ins and outs. I will probably self-publish again but this time I know what I need to do in order for it to be more successful. Still though, I would love to have my work picked up by a traditional house and that is something I will always work towards.

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