5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Started Publishing

While I’ve been writing all my life, I got into self-publishing in the last decade and followed it with traditional publishing through a small press a few years later. Kind of like how you wish your older self could tell your high school self some tips (like don’t bother with that guy), there are things I wish someone had told me when I got started in self-publishing. Here are the top 5!

5. Sales Don’t Magically Happen
Many authors expect that as soon as they hit that “publish” button on Amazon or wherever they are posting their fabulous work, that the sales will start rolling in. Nope! While that may happen to a lucky few, it is not the norm. Be prepared to have to work to find new readers in lots of different ways.

Best Advice: Don’t get discouraged, and have fun with whatever you try! You’re a published author, and that’s fantastic!

4. Marketing that Works for One Person Won’t Necessarily Work for You
Over years of meeting other authors–and making some great friends!–I’ve kept my ears open for marketing tips which have proved successful for others. Any time I hear about something new, I try it out. What I’ve found is any given marketing method that works great for one author, doesn’t necessarily work for me or other authors. Reasons abound. Could be different life experience or different skills or interests. As far as I can tell, most is straight up luck.

Best Advice: Still try out those recommended marketing methods. You might get lucky and find something that works for you or that you enjoy doing. Just don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t work. Chalk that one up to experience and move on.

3. The Type of Publishing Doesn’t Guarantee Success
I am a hybrid author–both indie and traditionally published. There are pros and cons to both sides. What I’ve learned in the last few years is that regardless of the way you get published, sales aren’t guaranteed. I’m not saying don’t try various avenues to become a published author, because all avenues have their merits. I’m saying, be prepared to still work for those sales.

Best Advice: Try the types of publishing which appeal most to your style and method, and stick with what works for you!

2. Never Stop Learning & Growing
The best way to become a “successful” author is to produce quality books. I know you think you have quality writing already, and you probably do. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve, even in small ways. I’ve been taking writing workshops and classes for 20 years. (More if you count school classes.) I try to take a workshop a month. What I find is I always have more to learn. I have yet to leave a workshop–even ones I didn’t connect with–without at least one new trick to incorporate into my writing.

Best Advice: If you truly love to write, you’ll always be thirsty to learn more, to grow as a writer. Keep looking for ways to improve and grow! (And don’t look back on previous material wishing you could turn back time and rewrite it with what you’ve learned! Lol.)

1. Don’t Ever Give Up On Your Dreams
No matter how many rejections you get from agents or editors, no matter how many bad or lackluster reviews, no matter how infrequent your sales…you got into writing because you LOVE it. Don’t let others make you give up on your dream.

Best Advice: A statistic came out recently showing the authors who didn’t quit writing after their first or second book eventually found moderate success. That’s the law of averages working for you! As long as you still have stories inside you to tell, tell them. Don’t quit.

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