I was going to post some more about reviews. I decided not to. I’ve said everything I wanted to on that topic. Instead, I figured now is a good time to look back at things. It’s been two years since I self-published my first eBook. Prior to that, I spent a little over two years submitting my books to publishers and querying agents. During that time, I was also submitting short stories to electronic and print magazine with limited success.
When I was submitting manuscripts to publishers and querying agents, I spent a lot of money on postage and writing conferences. I don’t want to think about how many trees died to fuel this phase of my career. It was a bad time. There was no money coming in. The only thing I was getting were soul killing rejection letters. As I said elsewhere, no matter how hungry you are, a steady diet of rejection letters will ruin your appetite. My favorite rejection letter stated that I needed to attend a writing workshop. The same publisher called me a day later to see if another manuscript I had written was available. It was at that point I realized that there was something wrong with the way many publishers and agents did business. To be fair, it wasn’t all bad. A prominent agent really liked my work and gave me some advice. I finished writing a second novel and a number of short stories. Even though it felt like I was wasting time, the time was well spent improving my writing.
When I decided to self-publish my first book, I didn’t have much of a plan. I made a lot of mistakes. Being able to write is only half the battle. Self-publishing is like any other self owned business. You have to invest your time and money wisely to succeed. In the beginning, I spent too much time and money trying to market my books. Money that went into advertising should have gone into better cover art and editing for my books. Time spent marketing and promoting my books should have been used to do more writing and publishing. Even with the rough start, I had accomplished several things I had not been able to do while I was sending out manuscripts and query letters. I was making more money than I was spending. People were reading and enjoying my stories. I felt good about my writing and storytelling ability.
Looking back, I don’t have any regrets about self-publishing. I’m looking forward to the future. My plan is simple, keep writing and publishing.