Sunday, August 11, 2013

One Year In Publishing

I just realized I have an anniversary this week. Pierced, my first short story, was published this month last year. I was on vacation at the time and only had internet access in this one place by the front office of the B&B. I remember going to check it that morning (then 100 times that day) and seeing my book out there. It was very cool. 

It's funny, if I read my older work now, I'm kind of embarrassed! I think a lot of authors must feel that way. Pierced was a fun, sexy story; a total fantasy that was inspired by a tattoo parlor I passed daily on my way to Dutch lessons. The hero didn't really look like that in real life but I've got this fantastically vivid imagination, especially when it comes to anything erotic.

I've learned some lessons in the last year. I've made mistakes but I've also landed just where I was meant to be in some cases so I thought I'd share my top 5 learnings. 

1. Research for publishers in your niche market. This is key. Start by looking at books you like to read - most likely you write similar stories. Find out who publishes these books, talk to authors, see how positive (or negative) they are about their publishers and then do more research. There are a lot of publishing options out there and they take some time to learn. Take the time, you'll be glad you did later. 

2. Ask questions before signing the contract. Ask a lot of them and pay attention to how responsive the publisher is. This is just as important as the answers they give - maybe more so. Talk to other authors and don't be afraid to ask for time to consider before signing, especially if you're not 100%.

3. Find other authors who write what you write. This will develop over time and you'll find your core group, but interact and make friends. They can be an invaluable resource and your ultimate support during difficult times. I've made some really wonderful, generous, supportive friends on line - and it takes trust to earn trust, but I think this is one of the best parts.

4.  Find your niche market. Did I mention this already? Write an excellent book then put it in front of people who will be interested in buying and reading it. 

5.  Be patient. I know, this one is the most difficult and way easier to say than to do. After you've written your book, edited, found a publisher, edited some more and finally have it out there, leave it and get to the next book. Everything takes time so check your expectations and don't get down if you don't hit the bestseller list on your first try. It may come, it may not, but write because you love what writing does to you. All the rest of it is icing, not necessary but absolutely lovely.

6. Be generous and happy for the success of others. What you put out comes back to you twofold. 

That was six things but that last one is important. It's easy to get caught up. Things will go up and down again and again - everything changes, it's the nature of things. Remember what's important and remember who you are. 

Wishing you much success.