Recently, I was contacted by an aspiring writer who wanted more information about my experience with self-publishing. I’m still new and learning about it, too, but I tried to give them a few tips. And to be helpful to other writers out there, I thought I would share my answers to the questions.
Which avenue of publishing did you choose to use; self-publishing or traditional? Would you recommend this avenue?
I’m a self-published author, and I chose that path because I wanted creative control over my stories. Self-publishing is a lot of work because you have to do everything yourself, and writing the story is just the first part. You have to be willing to learn to wear many hats, or be able to hire someone to do the things you can’t do yourself (like an editor or a cover artist). But I do think it’s one good option available today, and now there’s a ton of info out there on how to do it from people who are very successful. I recommend looking for “self-publishing vs. traditional” lists to find more advice on what could be right for you.
What was the hardest part of publishing for you? What do you think would have made that easier?
The hardest part is actually marketing. Formatting ebooks, finding an editor, designing a book cover or webpage, etc. are all finite skill sets that take time, but at the end you can say “I did this well, and now I can move on.” But marketing is never-ending, and the strategies keep changing. I wish I knew how to make it easier but I just try to do a little bit on a regular basis and mostly concentrate on the other stuff.
In retrospect, with the knowledge you have now, what tips would you give a younger, less versed version of yourself?
To my earlier self, I would say don’t read reviews. While it’s nice to see when someone says nice things about my book, other reviews have really made me doubt my abilities as a writer. In particular certain people that I used to know chose to attack me personally in very harsh reviews. I should have ignored those instead of letting myself get upset.
Good luck on your writing journey! If you want to know more about self-publishing, I would recommend looking up the following authors with blogs that give great advice: Hugh Howey, Dean Wesley Smith, Catherine Ryan Howard, JA Konrath, Rachel Aaron (hybrid author: self/trad), Holly Lisle.