- Part 1 -
If you are a newbie to self-publishing I offer you here a collection of random thoughts from which you may find some useful advice and encouragement.
I knew absolutely nothing about publishing a book when I started making the attempt 12 years ago. Now, 11 self-published books later, I have the basics down...but not much success. This leads to
the first tip: be humble, Have no delusions of grandeur. Most self-publishers are like wannabe rock stars. Few become one.
Okay, so I am self-taught. But experience--good and bad--is reality and sometimes that's the best teacher. But experience has its shortcomings; you cannot learn entirely on your own. You will need help and it shan't come from a friend or relative. That's tip #2: if you really really want to succeed as a professional writer, get professional help. First and foremost should be an editor. I never could afford one, but if you can, get yourself a real pro editor and your self-publishing career will have one less regret. So start filling your editor piggy bank today.
Most of my background in writing evolved out of my career in radio--things like news copy, feature reports, commercials and promotional campaigns. My first book was "just for grins," something to keep me active during my first year of retirement. What did I know about children's picture books? I have six grandchildren--that's it! Not much to go on, but I went for it anyway.
One highlight: I searched for an illustrator on Craig's List and was referred to a young mother in the U.K. (I live in the USA). She won the job instantly and the two of us spent the next eight months marrying text to picture--entirely via e-mail. We never met, never spoke on the phone or text-messaged each other...just e-mails! The book is titled NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE. What a great experience. And, if you don't like the rhymes I wrote, you should at least appreciate her crafty contributions.
So, in the end, I did experience lots of grins and I enjoyed the self-publishing experience. However, and it's a big HOWEVER, if you self-publish and you truly want to sell your book, and maybe even experience some success as a writer, you will need to be an incredible marketer with exceptional reach and an impressive list of worthy contacts. And, oh yeah, a supply of marketing cash helps too. That's tip #3.
Next time (watch this space!) we will talk more about money and why you don't need a dime getting self-published.