I’m a proud member of the Women Writers Women’s books on Facebook and a recent post on why one particular member just wouldn’t consider self publishing under any circumstances got me thinking about my own journey. Six months ago I was in the same frame of mind but I still pressed that self publish button, something I’d sworn I’d never do – Why?
Tracing back this was down to self worth and esteem, or should I say lack of?
So who was little old me to think I was clever enough to ever write anything someone would want to read? Yes, I’m well educated, I even have one of those flash pieces of paper to declare I’ve a degree but still… I’ve never attended a writing course or even a conference. I don’t have a degree in a subject that’s relevant to writing, I’m not part of the RWA or any other swanky writers clubs, I don’t even belong to a book club. All I had was a head full of unwritten stories and a determination to prove myself. ‘If he/she can do it why can’t I’ soon became my mantra.
Then something happened in my life, or to be more specific in the life of one of my children to change that – it made me go mad for a while, just long enough for my market ready book to have that 99th final edit before pressing the Amazon KDP accept T&C button.
There was no book launch, there was no party – I didn’t even tell my nearest and dearest what i’d done. In truth I pressed the button in desperation, closed my laptop and went off to play in the garden with the weeds for a while.
Six months on I don’t regret even one second of my journey. My rise isn’t meteoric, I’m not top of the charts or anything like it but I seem to have found a niche and am starting to get emails from my readers – who’d have thought it! The one thing a writer (I don’t have the confidence to call myself an author just yet) needs to survive is readers and they are starting to find me.
Lessons I’ve learnt.
- As a writer the only one who’s bothered about your books is you. There’s nothing more boring than a workmate banging on about their holiday, their new car, their kid just like there’s nothing more boring than a writer constantly talking books – no one’s bothered and friends are more important than book sales.
- To make sales in writing relies on three things, all of which you can do for free, but it does take a massive time investment.
- A well written book. It may sound easy but it’s not. For me it’s taken a lifetime of reading many thousands of books and different writers to learn just how it’s done. Then it took six years and hundreds of stories to find what I was good at, and more importantly what I enjoy writing. I don’t want writing to be just another job – it’s now a way of life.
- A well edited book. There is no room for sloppy word processing, non existent grammar and typos – a quick spell check and running it by a couple of friend beta readers won’t get you very far.
- A professional cover. It doesn’t have to cost you anything but it needs to compare and surpass what’s out there in the same genre as the one you’re targeting.
- Writers help other writers so be nice to and about them. A reader at most can only read a couple of hundred books a year, a writer can only manage to write 3-4, some only managing to produce a book each decade. So writers need other writers to produce books so that their fans are kept happy while they’re awaiting the next book.
- Finally the worst part – there is a worst part to everything and for me this is a real bummer! I’m a reader first. I love books and I have thousands. I don’t differentiate between paper and electronic, for me it’s all about the words but… But in writing I’ve spoilt my enjoyment of others books. It’s a rare book now I can pick up for the story alone. My brain has been fine tuned to reject anything poorly written or with plot flaws. If it’s not brilliant or different it’s not for me.