Top 10 tips: What I learned from publishing my first book

I started a discussion (on Goodreads) in May about things I’ve learned from publishing my first book. It’s turned into a nice lively discussion with over 57 posts and 108 views, and I thought it might be worth sharing some of the most notable tips I’ve collected from various individuals posting to the discussion so far.

  1. Whether you’re under contract with a publisher or self-publishing, getting your manuscript, cover art, etc. prepped and out to market is a LONG process. In fact, getting laid off, like I was, can actually be beneficial to you getting all those big and little-but-necessary things done.
  2. A good publicist is worth having and paying for. Absolutely. I am thankful every day that I have one in my corner.
  3. No matter how many people do a spelling/grammar review on your work, they will never catch ALL of the typos. – Sorry to anyone who reads my book and finds those typos that were inevitably still left after several revisions.
  4. Be true to yourself and your writing, because once your first book is out there, it’s there forever. If you don’t love it when you release it, you may find you hate it a few years after its release. Save yourself the frustration.
  5. Networking and marketing is a hard and continuous process, but no matter which level of author you are, it is a critical process for the success of your books.
  6. Cover art can boost or kill your work, because let’s face it, EVERYONE judges a book by its cover. 
  7. All reviews are good, even when they’re bad. See my previous post. But, be careful that you don’t get in the habit of constantly offering free books in exchange for reviews. After all, why pay for a copy of the book, when the author is always offering free ones, if you promise to post an Amazon review?

    The next two are specific to indie authors.

  8. Be careful who you choose as your print-on-demand (POD) provider. Some are great, and some can cost you more money than you make in sales.
  9. Getting your books into bookstores is a necessary thing, but don’t forget to contact your local libraries to see if they are willing to purchase or even take donated copies of your book to add to their collection. Once your book is added to the collection, it is often displayed as a New Title, adding to your book’s exposure.

    And, this last one is for everyone…

  10. New indie author or longtime, bestselling A-list author, your work will never be done. Whether you’re writing, editing, blogging, tweeting, reading, networking, or meeting/greeting fans, there will ALWAYS be something for you to do. Be sure you’re up for that.

Mind you, I’m not complaining about the work that goes into being an author, because I love what I do, but as it was said in the Cypress Hill song “Rock Superstar”, “It’s a fun job, but it’s still a JOB.” And, job means work.

I’m reminded of this every day, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other thing.