Being an author is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Whether you’re a self-published author just trying to get noticed or an elite author lucky enough to have been picked up by a publisher, there’s no shortage of work to be done. As a self-published author, I learned a lot of lessons along my journey and I’d like to share some of them with you. Whether you’re a writer or looking to break into a different hobby, these tips will help you ground yourself and challenge you to complete whatever it is you set out to do.
1. Back away from social media! I never was much for social media. While I had social accounts, I browsed them every once in a while and rarely posted. Now, I’m addicted. I post something, refresh the page fifteen times and pray someone clicks on it and follows me or buys my book. I could also get lost browsing social posts for hours, when in fact I should be focusing on my writing instead. I feel as though many of us, writers or not, do the same thing. We’re obsessed with how many people like or share our posts, and we use social media to distract ourselves from other things we could be doing. That’s why sometimes I have to tell myself to back away from social media, even if it’s just for a day. It’s a distraction from writing, and can be a major downer when you put in all that work only to realize no one cares what you’re eating for dinner.
2. It’s not about the sales. Okay, this one really depends on where you are in your writing career. Some full time writers need to make a living off their sales. However, for me and many self published authors, it’s about having fun and sharing your creativity with the world. When I uploaded my first book, I kept refreshing the sales dashboard waiting for those numbers to skyrocket! Well, they didn’t. I started doubting all that time I spent putting the book together and wondered if I should even bother writing more. I quickly realized, though, that I couldn’t let it bother me. I’m proud of myself for simply writing an entire novel and publishing it. If it only makes ten people happy, then so be it. Whatever task you set for yourself, you should be proud of yourself too just for having the courage to set out and accomplish it.
3. Rejection is a bitch. I didn’t even bother trying to query publishers and went straight for the self-publish route because I was terrified of rejection. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable and you have to toughen yourself up to get through it. As a writer, or with anything you do in life, you will always face rejection. For me, I had published my first book and I was all excited to start promoting only to get some terribly negative feedback on the cover, the title, the layout inside the book…basically everything. And they were all right, but I didn’t throw my hands up and quit. I went back to the drawing board to clean it up. My advice here is that sure, some of us are just naturals at certain things, but whenever you start out doing something new you’ll undoubtedly make mistakes at some point. You’ll get that one star review telling you your book sucks. You’ll get rejected by publishers. Just remember that your book isn’t for everyone. There are others out there who do enjoy it and you should focus on connecting with them instead.
4. It’s more work than you might think. As I mentioned before, most of us don’t have the luxury of hitting that publish button and just letting the sales roll in. You have to promote the book, and spend money to do it. It’s a delicate balance between marketing yourself and making sure you’re still continuing to write because very few authors have one book wonders. You have to keep your readers engaged in between book releases and don’t wait too long to publish your next book or they might lose interest. You also need to prepare to shell out some cash to get to where you might want to be. Whether it’s on a professional cover designer, editor, or book promotion spend you won’t be able to do it without help from others. And if you think you can, you can’t. Believe me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you may have to pay for a little work to be done, but there are many groups and forums out there to connect with others who share the same goals. Work together, encourage each other, and keep pushing forward!
On that note, if you’re an author trying to promote your book, I’d like to help out. Head on over to my Get Featured page, fill out the form, and I’ll take a look at your request. I will provide you with my honest Amazon and Goodreads review, and post about it here on my blog. I would prefer “new” authors (as in those who don’t have a ton of reviews or readers yet). If you’re an established author with thousands of sales and hundreds of reviews, then you’re doing just fine with out me.