Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Banishing the blues

Considering my latest release was pretty much DOA, my blog is currently quite aptly named.  I put more time and effort into that one than the previous three and believed it would do well.  I was wrong.  Anytime I've been faced with failure, I've tried to  learn from it.  While working my way through the five steps of grief, I tried to focus on my overall experience and not only the disappointment of Second Chances

So here are a few reflections on this journey in self-publishing to date, some good, some bad, some I'm still figuring out, like most things in life.

  • Formatting.  What's so scary?  You use a generic font like Times New Roamn 12  pt, set your margins at .5, line spacing at single, indent at .5, and insert page breaks.  Vertically center your title page, and unless you have tables or images, you're good to go.  Save your document as "web page filtered" and upload to Kindle or Nook.  Since I have only published at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, perhaps it's more difficult on other sites.
  • Develop a tough skin.  You may get poor or no reviews.  Your sales may be disappointing and your work may languish in the black pit of despair, otherwise known as rankings.
  • Obtain a copy and refer to Elements of Style.  
  • Editors are not joking when they complain about the excessive use of "that" and "just."  Every time you use one of those words, read the sentence again to make sure it's absolutely necessary.
  • Reviews are gold, be as thankful for them as you are for sales.
  • Be patient.  Overnight successes are rare.
  • Be aware that although you may follow every how-to guide, blog, and writer's resource guideline,your book may not sell.  There are thousands of books published every day and it darn near takes a miracle to stand out in the crowd.  Remember, lots of those authors are following the same process you are.
  • When you get depressed, and you will, turn to what makes you happy or try something new.  I am making my first attempt at editing for a writer who is even more of a novice than me and it is an eye opener as well as a distraction from my own writing woes.  It's harder than it looks my friends, and I have added respect for folks who do it for a living.
  • Be patient.
  • Don't count on perpetual and enthusiastic support from family and friends.  They will get tired of hearing about your characters, your snappy dialogue, and those clever plot twists.  If they don't, count yourself extremely fortunate or check them for earplugs.
  • Be optimistic but keep things in perspective.  
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for unique ways to promote your work.  If you've read of ten ways to do it online, so have thousands of other struggling writers. 
  • Be patient.
  • Hire a cover designer (I know a good one that only charges $20) and an editor.  Some reviewers will not touch your work unless it was professionally edited with a professionally designed cover.  
Did I say be patient?  That repetition was mostly meant for me because impatience has caused me problems and setbacks along the way.  One successful author advised me to not publish until I had multiple titles ready.  I have to second that advice, especially for those of you working on series.  It is so tempting to plow ahead and upload that first manuscript, and it is exciting to see your work appear in the Kindle store, but it is harder to be noticed or build a readership with only one book available.

I received a ton of advice yesterday from members of the Indie Author Group regarding how to stay upbeat and motivated.  That interaction helped pull me out of my funk.  If you get the Erotica Writer Blues too, reach out to your fellow authors.  They get it because they've probably had it.


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