I took a substantial break from blogging in October to work on finishing up the rewrite of Myth, the second book of my series, the Guardians of the Word. I rewrote the first book of the series, Chosen, and published it over the course of a year after having finished the entire 7 book series in 2010. Yes, there are 6 more books to come…or maybe 7 more, depending on how they get broken up to work in both ebook and print formats. I like the size of Chosen in print and most people who’ve read it, feel it’s the right length, both story-wise and the physical size of it. Myth was going to be over 120K. That’s a substantially larger book than the first. I didn’t like the feel of it, and when I took a hard look at what I had, decided to cut it about halfway, added some, subtracted some and after a solid month of steady working on it, I have another book to publish. It’s ready. It feels right, and I can’t wait to get it back from my beta readers who are kindly giving it a once over to see if they feel the same way I do.
The first time publishing on my own, and I mean really on my own, without the advice of anyone other than KDP, Createspace, and Smashwords, the learning curve was much steeper. I made a lot of mistakes, struggling with the cover, getting the cover completely wrong, and then finally settling on the one I have now –
except I’m about to change it too if I can ever get the damn program to work. (curse you GIMP, curse you!) I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, what the process was or how much effort it would take. The difference, of course, is now I do. I understand how to format the book for different outlets. I understand how long it takes for Smashwords to upload the document file, the cover, the bio and get my book out into the world! I’ve worked with KDP and Createspace now, so I’m more familiar with their requirements. It has been all around much easier this time to get to this place in time with Book 2. So if you’re on the fence about publishing, my advice? Go for it, but don’t go it alone.
Most importantly, I’ve found since publishing Chosen, the most amazing group of supportive authors in Indie Writers Unite on Facebook. Got a question? About anything? Just ask. Someone there will know and tell you. Generally, several members will have the answer you’re looking for, and several more will chime in with some from of encouragement or other. Just the other day, an Indie author came in feeling a bit down about crappy sales, not sure what to do, feeling blah about the whole experience. Some fifty or sixty posts later, she had a new blurb if she wanted, new mockup covers to choose from and the advice and encouragement of a huge number of people who’d all experienced the same thing at one point or the other.
It is critical to the Indie writer to find such a group. A place to go when feelings of defeat rear up. A place to commiserate how tough it is to do this Indie thing some days. A place where you won’t feel like you are the only person in the world experiencing this wild ride, the ups and downs, completely by yourself. No one knows everything there is to know about this business, from the technical aspects of it to marketing. Having a support group to ask questions of will make the publishing journey much easier, which is the main point. Being Indie doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.