Publishing anniversary that is. Three years ago (on April 9th, to be exact), I hit that publish button on the Amazon Kindle direct page. It started me on this roller-coaster journey that is self-publishing. I've looked back and forward and back again, but still, mostly forward. It's been a ride.
I wanted to share a few things that I've learned in three years, not necessarily in any particular order. Things that are important, and if it helps another author, even better.
1 -- You're good, even when you think you suck eggs, you're good. Your ideas mean something to you, so they will mean something to others. Don't let yourself be dragged into that downward spiral of self-doubt. That's a killer.
2 -- There's always room for improvement. Along with that, Always keep learning. In the writing, in the marketing, in everything. There's always something new to learn, something that you as a self-publisher can do better. Don't think you have it all figured out, because (and your bank account can attest to this) you really don't.
3 -- It's not always about the money. Yes, it IS about money, for cryin' out loud, but it's not ALL about money. Sometimes you just need to be creative, and that's worth more than gold. Give yourself the time and the push to just create. The rest will follow.
4 -- You don't have to figure it all out now. This is a total writing thing -- I have a tendency to be impatient, so yeah, this is a big one for me. I want to have all my plot holes and other stuff figured out before I sit down and type, and that just doesn't always happen. It takes time for your imagination to work things out, so let it percolate. Write something else, then come back to it. Trust me on this.
5 -- STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER AUTHORS! This is a big one. I see authors killing it out there, or seeming like they're killing it. I'm not yet. I'm not even a blip on the radar yet. That's okay. I'll get there. My favorite quote for this one is: it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Just keep plugging along. There's another quote that I like that I see on Facebook all the time: Someday you will be someone's favorite author. I like that too. Here's the hard truth -- everyone's experience is going to be different. Some authors are supporting themselves with their writing, and that's awesome, so they have more time to devote to their passion. I still have a full-time job, so my path will take longer, but I'll still get there. Let me repeat that: I. Will. Still. Get. There.
6 -- Chill. Don't be so uptight that you don't get a sale every day. Hell, if I get a sale a week, I'm ecstatic! Kidding, it's hella depressing. That being said, there are things I can do different to get the exposure -- and that goes back to points 2 and 4 -- there's always room for improvement and let's face it, I don't have to figure it all out right at this moment. So there. Chill. Have a beer (or three) and go write something cool.
There are more things I could come up with, but I'll stop at 6, because it's an even number, if for nothing else.
So I have learned a lot in three years -- and I will learn even more in the coming years. I'd love to look into a crystal ball and see where I'll be in three more, but the fun isn't always the destination, the fun is also in the journey.
I'm having fun writing, creating, and bringing my stories to my readers (those two or three of you out there). It's fun! Reading those reviews where people love what I write ... well, that's a little bit of gold there too.
So I'll keep writing ... and maybe I'll learn something else I can share with you next year ...