An example of what NOT to do
With my first two books I simply sat down and wrote them.
There were no writing groups, or even reading groups, that I could join. I knew nothing about getting published.
The first one is pretty much the first draft and took 30 days to write. Now, during this time I did take care of an 11 year old child and a husband while holding down a full-time job, so it’s not like I sat down for hours and hours on end writing.
I asked a friend to read it and let me know what she thought. The Good, The bad, and The ugly.
I figured once I got her opinion, I would go to the library and use their computers to begin researching what I needed to do to get published.
Having a heart of gold, she wanted to help me out, so she researched and found a publisher.
One day, in the mail, there was a rather large package. This was very unusual, so I opened it first. It was a contract for publishing my book.
To this day, I have no idea what happened to the other mail.
One one should never ever, ever, ever read any legal documents while under the influence of excitement.Jen Christopherson
I was so excited, I read to the contract three times without understanding a single word it said. I’m blissfully running about the evening and the next day force myself to read through the contract with a focused and critical mind.
One should always, always, always consult an attorney when dealing with contracts.Jen Christopherson
This publisher was willing to publish my book without charging me for it.
*Pause here for happy dance*
As a matter of fact, they wanted to pay me $1 to own the rights to my story for 7 years.
*Pause here for happy dance*
I was responsible for everything except printing.
I knew nothing of what went into publishing a book. I had no clue what marketing was or that it was needed to sell things. I had no clue about book covers, or formatting, or beta readers, or editing, or, well, anything. All I knew was how to get from the beginning of a story to the end of a story.
*The saying “ignorance is bliss” only holds true until the person finds out the truth in all it’s painful Glory.*
A couple of days later, I received the nice package in the mail from my publisher showing all the services they offered. From a cover design to formatting to editing to marketing packages.
The publishing company offered to edit my book for a lot of money which I didn’t have. Since I wasn’t expecting to have to pay for anything, I had not saved anything.
I’m still trying to live down the humiliation of that first book.
The Second Book
The second one, I was taking care of my mom and had a live-in boyfriend. It took much longer. If I remember correctly, about six months. I edited it several times which took another six months.
I had a computer and internet, so I had a bit more knowledge.
I did pay for a cover and social media banners, but couldn’t afford professional editing.
Thinking I had done everything necessary, I self-published.
This was when I turned my attention to getting people to buy my book.
Oh! How I wish I had researched self publishing much more thoroughly than I did.
Technically, I wish I had researched all the stuff around self publishing. Stuff like marketing, packaging, and branding.
Stuff like interviewing, networking, and blogging.
Stuff like time management, scheduling, and key words.
Things like SEO, advertising, and creating ads.
Things like photography, videography, and graphics.
Stuff like visual requirements, lighting, and audio.
Things like audio recording, speakers, and microphones.
Things like influencer marketing, market influencers, and website needs.
There is so much more to being a writer than writing a book.
I have been seriously contemplating not writing anymore. I’ve been thinking of just being.
Until next time…