There is a perception that people have when you first tell them you're a published author.
I tend to find that a handful of the feelings that fall within that perception are... amazement, inspiration, envy, intrigue, and desire. And over the years, I've understood why that is. There is a false perception of what "being a published author" can at some times actually mean.
Since I don't publish & write full-time, I end up in these conversations pretty frequently with people and honestly, I love telling the real, nitty-gritty truth about my experience publishing, because I don't share through rose-tinted glasses and I haven't taken the smoothest route.
So what are things I wish someone had told me, before I started publishing:
1. You need to learn marketing, like you never thought you'd need to!
I was talking with a friend just this week about all the ins and outs of what goes into marketing for Dreambuilt Books. It's a lot. I've had to learn how to market on various social media platforms, to various types of consumers, with different media, and how to launch a product. I have mastered... none of them.
So here is the advice I have: Start early, Study often, and Schedule the Time.
You will have to market your work, so don't procrastinate on doing the work, learn the craft of it and be intentional about making the time to do it, or it will never happen!
2. Everyone has an opinion about the right way to publish.
And that is so true about everything in life. That's why mom-shaming is even a thing. No one can seem to wrap their minds around the idea that there is no cookie cutter route for any one thing we, as humans, do. And that is because, each of us are different. It's that simple.
So here is the advice I have: Research to find what you want and just simply, do that.
You will want different things from your publishing experience and someone out there will be able to support you, so research what you want and advocate for your own experience. And that may mean you do what I did and create your own publishing company. That's fine. But be educated in the path you choose. Don't let someone tell you the route to go.
3. You'll need to develop a network of connections virtually.
Of course you need to have a network of supporters. That's super obvious, but you need a support network of authors, across the states, genres, and styles. These are like-minded people and they can be your best researchers, advertisers, supporters, and resources when you need someone in your corner.
So here is the advice I have: Find Author Groups on Facebook. Pay for an Author's Membership. And invest in other people.
You would know, if you follow any of my stuff, that I believe in a people-first approach to just about everything. That's not without reason. People are the most important resource to everything you do in life, but especially in books. They are your readers, your freelancers, and your team. Build reciprocal relationships and your books with prosper for it!
4. There is quite a bit of money involved.
Now you're thinking I'm talking about profits, but I'm absolutely not. There can be and that's a chunk of the goal, but there is just a lot of money moving around it the process of publishing. Things of quality and credibility cost money and you need to understand that to make money you need to spend money. Even if you get paid to publish, you should spend money to have take away items at your events. You'll need to spend on marketing at some point in time. And you'll need to buy copies to sell.
So here is the advice I have: Make a plan for what you can spend and don't go over that.
It cost money to make money and books aren't cost-free, but that shouldn't and don't have to run you dry. You will not enjoy what you are doing and you'll be a terrible salesperson if you allow it to. Be smart and frugal.
5.You will have setbacks.
Swallow your pride and just know, you will not be a best-seller without a lot of hard work and likely not on your first try. You will have setbacks and you will do things wrong. You are not unique. Anything worth doing takes sweat, tears, and hope.
So here is the advice I have: Get over your own ego. Get over your hurt. Ask for help.
And when it happens, not if, you will need to ask someone for help. Do it. Don't wait and assume you'll turn it all around alone. If you manage to, just realize, one of the times you will run out of the willpower to turn the ship and you'll need to call in reinforcements. And that is okay. We've all done it.
So I'm positive the list could go on and on, but should it? No. No, it should not. So, today I stopped at 5 things I wish I'd known. And yet, I would not be the author and publisher I am today, if I had known those things. While the journey hasn't been as planned, the view has been incredible and worthwhile.
And even though you think you're five steps ahead of me, you'll end up having your own things you wish you would have known, which I think is a gift.
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