Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SELF-PUBLISH AUTHOR'S TRIAL BY FIRE

clack clack, creation of thoughts are in progress

Indie authors 
Be brave. 
Be bold. Be confident. 
Be an independent thinker!


I call my decision to become independent author trial by fire, hooping from one hot coal of errors, fears, and uncertainties. With good luck and some practical steps I arrived to the cool ground of reward –– happy readers and the sale of books.

Self-publishing has been a wondrous, challenging, and at times disappointing journey. One of my biggest joys for being an indie author is the myriad of people I've met book partying across the United States and also through social media. Many book lovers have kept in touch through emails asking for more! Now, that is supportive.

In reflection I’m not surprised at my decision to become an independent author and happy to know my decision joined me with other brave self publishing authors, writers who knew their writings would have an audience: James Joyce (Ulysses), Beatrix Potter (The Adventures of Peter Rabbit) and many other well-known writers I’ve enjoyed; Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Mark Twain to name but a few.

My adventurous and curious spirit of looking down the rabbit hole motivated me to give writing and publishing a try. I think of myself as a rather independent person. The last thing I want to hear is, “You can’t do that!” and “That won’t work.” My impatience was the guiding force to self-publish. I didn't bother looking for an agent until all my books were selling. The thought of delay with hopeful wishing for an agent and/or publisher to tell me my book was good enough to publish, interesting enough to sell, didn’t appeal to me.

I freely admit I’ve committed acts of wrong doings as an author according to those in the writing publishing world that know best.I could say mea culpa three times and vow not to err again, but no doubt I’d backslide and commit some other editing, formatting or whatever blunders acceptable to the publishing and writing world. 

My decision with my latest non-fiction was blasted by a reviewer as placing the Q&A as a first chapter. Not done! she her review screamed. No, it's done I thought, which was supported when I read Carol Burnett asks her audience what's most enjoyable and important to them BEFORE her show begins. She then gives it them. I knew what my audience would want because the questions came from many who were interested in that book.

Although, some decisions and errors have caused grueling angst. For instance when hiring editors and especially proofreaders don't be impatient. Ask for referrals, look at what they've worked on. I sure wish I had. The saying " the buck stops here" will ring true when reviewers find errors.

It wasn't my intention to entertain the masses, or become famous (the thought has lingered in my fantasy at times) when I wrote a book. In fact all four of my books were written upon a request and advice from another. My first, a non-fiction parapsychology consumer’s guide, self-published in 1990, was written to advance my profession and it did. It became a true group effort of supportive friends bumbling through the publishing process. The woman who suggested and encouraged it lent me an old clumsy PC, a friend went through my written notes and attempt at putting it on a computer so she could straighten the words into some sense. My mother helped me write it, and a professional proofreader client traded services. It was printed quite economically at a small San Francisco publishing business, stapled (yes big staples) after hours at a Kinko copy shop because the friend owed me a favor, and put together by a group of eager friends in my basement to the beat of Motown and salsa music accompanied by pizza and wine.  

Each book thereafter continued to be a group effort, although more professional, effort. I hired editors, proofreaders (not always do their job correctly by the way), graphic designers and a self-publishing company.

My advise to fellow writers is to not follow my crooked path, rather save yourself stress and money and keep at bay potentially bad reviews. Before publishing make sure your book is in shipshape order. You can do this by sharing the process with those more learned than yourself. But the bottom line will be decide what really is best for you, fellow writers, when it comes time to self publish or look for an agent.

About marketing - probably the hardest part of majority of authors - don't put your work out into the world if you're thinned skinned, don't think everyone will love it, and especially prepare to market your product if you hope to at least make your money back. One of the best marketing advice I heard is, books don't sell themselves, authors sell books. Get out there, talk it up when possible, ask for reviews. Good luck. Have fun.

#PoweredByIndie

read more about me and my books at june ahern dot com - my books are available at amazon.com

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