One year ago I released my first novel, TYR. I made the decision to self-publish. Ideally I would have loved to have a publisher but also the idea of self publishing really appealed to me. I enjoyed the challenge, the adventure of it.
So far, it has been worth it.
I haven’t moved as many copies as a novel by a traditional publisher might have moved, but I learned how to promote myself, I managed to drag myself out of my shy little bubble and I’ve learned what a wonderful community I live in.
Offline the support has been fantastic. The local newspaper conducted an interview, the local radio station has asked for an interview, local libraries have taken the book, local stores have stocked it on their shelves, and everyone has been so very kind.
Online, too, I found a community of writers, authors and readers who were eager to offer advice, help and support. For the first month after the release of my first book I would receive almost daily messages from helpful friends or readers who wanted to suggest editorial changes (bless them). I didn’t mind, it was clear they were just trying to help.
Going forward, I would like to pursue a publisher as I’ve now experienced self-publishing and I would very much like to see what traditional publishing is like. If possible I’d love to be able to pursue both paths at the same time as I find a great deal of enjoyment in self publishing.
At the end of this summer I hope to release my first audiobook. This will be the next big step in my self publishing adventure and I very much look forward to it.
If I could give any advice to any author hoping to self publish it’s as follows:
- Surround yourself with people who will be honest. You NEED to know if certain aspects of the story don’t work, or if your editing is flawed.
- Get a good editor. Even if it means saving money before you can publish the book. Don’t ruin your writing reputation with a poorly edited book. Admittedly my novel has struggled with some editorial errors but too many of those and readers will get frustrated.
- Get off your couch. Marketing takes place outside your home. Talk to friends, talk to strangers, go out there and market yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to take chances and try things. Was it scary for me to approach stores to see if they’d carry my book? Absolutely, I did it anyway. And having my book on a store shelf gave it some added credibility which in turn helped me find some more readers.
- Your first book is really about finding an audience so don’t hesitate to give it away for free in promotions and the like.
One year ago I decided to chase my dream. And I’m so glad I did.
Don’t forget to chase yours!!!