Sunday, April 24, 2016

Self-publishing can be exhausting

When I started out, I thought there was nothing to writing a bunch of words and then uploading them somewhere for people to find - and it seemed everyone was doing it. I'm savvy with technology, so formatting a Word document and putting together a cover seemed simple enough to do. But I'll tell you, in about four years I've learned there's a lot more to it than just slapping things together and uploading to Amazon or Smashwords or Barnes and Noble or any of the many different places you can upload.

My first books were only read by one other person (a friend) and I hadn't gotten to the point where I was audio proofing my stories. That usually meant my homophone issues, my anti-contraction writing and other general grammar mistakes were my best friends. I think I've grown a lot in my writing to the point where my initial draft is at least ten times better than the final draft of some of those early books. I've also learned to seek out critique partners and beta readers to help me become a better writer.

I'm not even going to get into the marketing and advertising part of self-publishing, because that's something I'm still trying to figure out, and probably the most exhausting part. I sadly don't have money to do an all-out assault, but I do what I can on social networks to try to get my books in front of people.

Yesterday I published my thirty-second book that was at least 50K words, and I'm over halfway through writing the thirty-third. There was a time I'd write a book a month and read quickly through it a couple of times before publishing. Now, I try to take a little more time. I can still easily write 60K+ words in two weeks and call it a story, but I try to ship it off to a few other people to read after my first edit and wait about a month to gather feedback and read it again so it isn't fresh in my mind.

I guess what I've really learned over the years is that the "self" in self-publishing isn't really a solo effort. I try to do as much as I can by myself, but if I didn't have my critique partners, beta readers, the people I come in contact with on a daily basis who give me inspiration and the few fans I have, I would've probably given up as a failure years ago. I don't have crazy dreams of making best-sellers lists with every book I publish, but I know what I write has entertained people, and I think as a writer that's all you can really hope for.