Self-publishing… (Or in other words… learning as I go!)

When I decided to write a book series, about a year and a half ago, I didn’t realize exactly how deep into self-publishing that I would get. I also didn’t think, even for a second, that I would receive as much positive response as I have. From the beginning to now, the self-publishing process has been a roller coaster. But I can hardly complain, because if this were 20 years ago, I might not have been able to publish my series, at all!

Here are a few things I’ve discovered along the way (so far!). Forgive me, but I’m in the mood for gifs, tonight. 🙂

~ Mistakes will happen! 

As with any new adventure, you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road. When you are doing most everything yourself, there isn’t someone there to point out the mistakes. However, the digital age makes it much easier to correct my mistakes. For example: I recently discovered that the paperback cover of Wildfire had a spelling error on the back. Thankfully, only a small number of copies had gone out at that point, mostly for giveaways, so there are only a few floating around. If you have one, consider yourself the lucky owner of a special edition! 🙂 But fixing it was super easy. I just corrected the image file and re-uploaded it. From here out, the paperback covers are error free (I hope!)

~ Waiting for feedback is excruciating!

You know people are reading your books. You can see the downloads and the “currently reading” statuses, but you never know if/when someone will post a review. The worst situation is when someone finishes the book and puts “Review to come” without a star rating. It makes me crazy anxious wondering if they liked the story or not. I find myself constantly checking to see if the review is posted yet. I love when readers update their progress (and thoughts) on Goodreads or Twitter as they read along! I can usually gauge if they are/aren’t enjoying it, thus far. Either way, waiting to get feedback is torture! I know I’m not alone with this. In my best Tom Petty voice, “Oh, the waiting is the hardest part…”

~ Editing matters!

No, I don’t use a professional editor. However, I have great proofreaders who find a vast majority of my errors. I also use Grammarly, which reminds me to stop using loooooooong sentences, which is one of my bad habits, along with too many commas. Oops! I’ve picked up a terribly edited ebook (or one that wasn’t edited, at all!) and couldn’t even get past the first few pages. If I have to spend the entire time correcting errors in my mind, I can’t pay attention to the story. So I do understand the importance of proofreading.

~ Competition is greater than ever (but fellow authors are really supportive)!

~ Connecting with readers is a lot of fun! 

I didn’t realize just how much fun I would have connecting with readers on Goodreads, Twitter, this blog, other blogs, etc. I also love seeing readers connecting with each other. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this endeavor and it inspires me to write. Authors who sit back and watch, rather than participating in discussions with their readers are really missing out.

~ Goodreads is an author’s BEST friend! 

I had never even heard of Goodreads.com until I decided to publish Everealm. I’m not even sure how I found it but I’m glad I did! If you are an author, I highly encourage you to create and maintain an author profile on Goodreads. I see many authors who have a page but do not use it which is wasting a great opportunity to connect with readers. Besides the fact that you can see when people are reading your book and their feedback, you can host giveaways (for paperbacks), post status updates, videos, etc. Personally, my favorite part of using Goodreads is the fact that I can, and have, received private messages from readers. They can ask me questions or give me feedback. It’s more casual that way.

~ Formatting is the devil in disguise!

Uploading a manuscript anywhere on the internet requires proper formatting. Each website (Amazon, Smashwords, Createspace, etc.) has their own guidelines and requirements for uploading. This means you have to format your book differently for each site if you want it to be accepted. Smashwords has the most irritating “rules” of the sites I’ve used, but all of them cause a headache. After uploading and re-uploading, over and over, you begin to understand why authors pay someone to do it for them.

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll do a “Part 2” later on. 🙂

~J.D.

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