My First Year as an Author

Sheenah Archive, My Life, Writing Advice 0 Comments

It’s been a wild ride as an author. I started out as a  self-published author back in November 2010 and one year later, I’m with a small publisher and starting my own imprint to publish my paperback editions. I’ve learned a vast amount of knowledge and the publishing industry never slows down to breathe. It’s exhilarating and if you don’t learn fast, you’re liable to become dust in the wind.

The Chosen

Both editions

When I first started to self-publish, I wasn’t all that crazy about my cover. First off, the designers got my font wrong. I wanted something not so chunky looking and I’m a stickler for my typography. Secondly, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the hands. With mixed concerns about my cover and with me harboring ill feelings about me not getting my book edited, I felt The Chosen was doomed for disaster. Who would want to read my novel about some fourteen year old girl trying to make sense of a new world as she wanders around collecting treasures of some gods she had never heard of? It didn’t make any logical sense to me. Especially since  it was unedited.

But somehow my first review from a book blogger was a 3 star review. And Nikki was the sweetest blogger to work with because not only did she actually like it, she wanted to help promote it. And for that, I don’t think I could ever thank her enough for taking some time out to help me host a giveaway. That was probably back in January/February of 2011. I had no idea how to market anything and I wanted to just crawl away in a corner instead of throwing myself out there and telling people that I wrote a book. To be honest, I’d still rather crawl away in a a corner.

With all of my mixed feelings about my book, I ventured on to seek out publishers and editors. Editors demanded to be paid so much money for going through a page (it’s crazy, I know) and publishers weren’t accepting manuscripts. Except for one small publisher who was planning on making their debut in the summer. They sounded like a great fit for me, so I submitted my novel and lo and behold they actually accepted me! We had two months to get the self-published version off the shelves and I commissioned one of my favorite artists to give me a brand new cover. I wanted  new identity to be associated with my book so that people wouldn’t think that this was the same book that some reviewers were now complaining about. I remember my first one star review demanded that my book needed to be edited, but yet on the other hand, she was compelled to read it, so it gave me some hope.

Working with a publisher is different from being a self-published author. I was used to doing everything myself, but I no longer had to. The only thing I had to concentrate on was writing my second book and marketing my current novel. July arrived and I became a author backed by a small publisher. I felt it gave me some clout and that some people would take me seriously. Sales are better now than they were when I was self-published, though that might also be because I’m better at marketing. Despite me having an ebook available, I still wanted a paperback. Desperately. I had a nice list of people who have been waiting patiently on the new paperback edition and recently I was told that it just wasn’t coming. At least, not yet.

The Chosen 2

Mickey approves

So I took matters into my hands and started my own imprint. A couple of days of formatting later and I was able to submit my files and get them to print.  Yesterday, I got my copy in the mail and for the first time ever, I truly feel legit. There’s nothing better than holding a copy of a book you’ve written that you’re actually proud of. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy when I was picked up by my publisher, but I can’t hold an ebook. I can hold an ereader, but it’s not the same as turning the pages by hand and smelling that new book smell.

I went through my proof and made some minor changes (spacing for one). So now I’m waiting on my files to be approved, but it’s looking like the paperback edition should be available next week. It’s baffling to me that I’m also including an excerpt of the next book in the series, The Number. I started outlining the novel in January (I meant to start in December, but that was a crazy month I think) and now almost a year later, I’m almost finished with it. It’s almost not fair because The Chosen took five years, but I’m excited to see how much I’ve improved since my first novel.

Would I do everything over again? In a heartbeat. I’ve learned so much and made some real connections with fellow authors and bloggers and readers that I’d repeat everything. It’s stressful and some days you wonder if people are really listening to you, but nobody said that having a writing career was going to be easy.

And don’t forget that I’m holding a special swag giveaway to thank everyone for all of your continued support! Along with some unique swag, you’ll also get a signed copy of my book if you win. Remember: it ends December 10.

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