It has been a week since my novel, The Descendant of Destiny, has been published. I have learned a few things in my freshman season as a published novelist. I thought I would share some of these lessons and hopefully they will help the next writer who is ready to get their work published.
Lesson #1: You will see more errors in your work as it gets closer to your launch date. I thought I had caught all of my errors after getting a couple of print galleys and making corrections to them. Even though, I have gotten the novel edited and looked at several times. It still amazed me to see how a word was missed in a sentence. Or the verb tense missed in that sentence. Or a misspelled word in this sentence. My advice to others who are getting ready to publish: please go over your print galleys multiple times before you give the publisher the clearance to publish your book. It will benefit you in the long run.
Lesson #2: If you planning to self or indie publish, please make sure you take the time to learn about the publisher you wanting to work with. I spent a year and half reading about numerous POD (print-on-demand) publishers before choosing Booklocker as the publisher for The Descendant of Destiny. Read their contact, ask questions, do extensive searches to find out the good and bad about the publisher, purchase a book of that potential publisher to see how the cover and interior looks, learn how much it will cost to get your investment back in getting your book published, all of these factors will make a big difference on choosing a publisher. Don’t just sign with a publisher because you want to book to be published so badly. Take a step back and learn everything you need to know before committing to a publisher.
Lesson #3: Publishing is a business. A lot of writers (self, indie, or traditional published) still have this romantic notion that you can just write good books and do nothing else and the readers will discover your great novel. Unfortunately, for most writers that’s just not true. While the self/indie publishing movement has open the door for more writers to get published (yours truly), I have learned you will have to learn the business of publishing. Learn copyright. Learn branding. Learn marketing and website design. And try to balance that with writing. It can seem overwhelming. But it is absolutely essential if you really want to give your work a chance in this wide-open marketplace. Learn others who are further down the road than you are and ask questions about the business of publishing. Here are a couple of authors I have learned a lot of from in the past couple of years:
Both Kristine Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith (husband and wife) are experienced, veteran authors who have shared their many years of experience of writing and publishing through these series of posts. They have become my business of publishing textbooks. You may not agree with everything they written about the publishing business, but I will guarantee you will learn something from it.
Those are the lessons I have learned so far. If someone who has other lessons to share about their publishing experiences, feel free to share.