I’ve always had a crazy imagination. I’ve run dungeons and dragons games, I day dream, I fantasize, and I devour fantasy books and movies. When someone initially tells me about something, I normally imagine in ten times cooler than it is in real life.
Example: I play World of Warcraft, last expansion guild levels were announced and a guild mount was announced. I learned that for horde side, your guild earns a scorpion mount. Now my initial thoughts where that this would be a colossal scorpion, capable of carrying 10+ people on its back. My guild and myself would crest mountain tops on our scorpion, its chitter of terror and death echoing through the valleys below while we threw fireballs and lightning bolts at anyone foolish enough to venture near.
Reality? It’s a “horse” sized scorpion. Large enough for a single player to ride. No fireballs, no lightning bolts, no chitter of terror and death.
My brain does that with almost everything. I want to share the wild and imaginative stories that I come up with. I had never pursued doing this in book form before because it just seemed like too much. First I have to write the book, then convince a publisher its good enough, then they do this and that, or request I make this change and that change, they make decisions I’m potentially not happy with, not to mention a bunch of other hoops and red tape my inexperience is allowing me to overlook.
Then self publishing came along, your book always gets out there and the readers decide if it’s worth reading or not. You cut out the middle man, allowing the creators of the content to deliver to the consumers of the content. I would be in control of everything. Not to mention the royalties on e-books generally look a great deal more inviting. In general self publishing just seems to make a lot more sense to me, I have more control over my product, and I let the consumer decide if it is worth consuming. Additionally, my ebooks stay on the market forever. They never go out of print and will always be available to purchase.
So with the decision to self publish I’ve begun reading a great deal, and here are some of the things I’ve learned. Please keep in mind I’m in no way a self publishing expert, I don’t even have my first shorter story out yet, I just wanted to share some of what I’ve repeatedly read.
Things I have learned about being a successful self published author.
1 . Write lots. This seemed to be one of the most consistently reoccurring tips I see, and it makes sense. The more you write, the more practice you have, the more books you have out there, the more credibility as an author you’ve built. As one of the blogs I’ve read on the subject said “You can’t sell anything if the shelves are bare.”
2. Try and write shorter stories. This ties back into the previous tip a bit. Writing shorter stories allows you to get more content out more quickly and it allows you to a great deal more flexible. I could write a single 100,000 word long story, or I could write four 25,000 word long stories. Writing the four smaller ones allows me to explore different areas of content more quickly, allowing you to gauge what readers want to read more easily.
3. Read lots! And not just Self Publishing help books (although those can be quite helpful) I know this one has been incredibly obvious for me. The more I’ve read the better I’ve become at pin pointing specific things that I like (or don’t like) and then emulate them in my writing. I’m far better at dissecting characters and figuring out what makes them believable or relatable, or what makes them seem fake and plastic.
4. Finish. It’s rather easy to start writing something with every intention of turning it into a master piece. You believe you’re going to polish it until it’s brilliance will make the sun envious. But then something else interests you, maybe another story or maybe another craft. Who knows? Either way, your story is now laying unfinished. It will never shine like the sun if you don’t finish it.
5. This one is more of a reminder rather than something I’ve learned. Self publishing isn’t a road to instant success or riches. Readers are fickle mistress, and very difficult to predict in most situations. The best you can do is write a book that you love, something that you are proud of and want to share. If you do that, and mix in a healthy share of patience, you should be able to achieve victory.