Self publishing #1 – The start is not what you think it is

I have been asked a couple of times how I went about my self publishing journey and I have tried to answer to the best of my ability. Despite having read hours and hours about self publishing, what to do and how it works, I have made many mistakes. So I decided to share my way, and not only tell you what I did, but also what I did wrong. Maybe the one or other will find this helpful. Because self publishing is such a long journey, I thought it might be more useful to split this in several parts and make it a series. So here is where we start.

If you are anything like me, you might think that the start is to write and finish the story. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After reading more and more after I have published my book, I have learned that the actual start of the process is to begin building your base, a community of people, followers, future readers etc.

But why should I do that when I don’t even have the book yet to show them? Well that was my question. But actually it makes a lot of sense. You need to get people interested in you. I have not done that when I started, so I am telling you about the things I should have done.

The start could be anything like this:

  • Start a blog (I personally love wordpress, but there are other platforms, depending if you want to host it on your website or not. Even if you have a static website, a blog is a fantastic addition, to allow people to subscribe and follow your new posts more easily.)
  • Create a twitter (unless you have one that you want to use for it already.)
  • Create a facebook page for your musings and book promotions
  • Syndicate your blog with twitter, facebook, google+ and other social media websites for maximum exposure of your blog. It helped me because it saved me the time to manually post every article over the net.
  • Check out online communities/forums about writing and get active (If you google for writing communities you will find a lot of sites with lists and such to help you find the right one for you. These are just 3 of the top results here, here and here.)
  • Read author’s websites and blogs, comment and connect. (Contrary to the whole rumour (and sometimes fact) about authors being solitary creatures, many of us actually love to interact with other writers and readers.)

You might not have a book to show yet, but you have your mind. Share your way, your ideas, interesting articles about writing, writing prompts, inspirations that make you write, quotes that you feel are worth sharing and so on and so forth. I am the first to admit that it takes getting used to. I keep thinking that I have nothing to say, nothing to share, but that is not true. I just keep telling myself that for some reason. So I’m still trying to get into the groove.

On twitter you can share these blogposts, interact with readers and writers or just anyone really. You might think that your stories are the most interesting part of you, but actually readers want to know you. They want to be part of your life so share something about you, don’t hide behind a wall of books. I know that many writers out there are more comfortable focussing on their writing, I am one of those. I really have a hard time to be active on social media, but I have my moments here and there. But mostly I think that my stories are more interesting than me. But I’m trying to get over that. 😉

But the more connected people feel with you, the more interested they become in you and what you are doing. That also means they might be more interested in hearing about your story, your book, your novel series, whatever you are writing, once you have something to share. It does makes sense. I mean would you be more interested in a book a friend publishes or in that of a stranger? Yes, the stranger can deliver a fantastic book that you want to buy – we do that all the time, right? – but if a friend tells me about their new book I’m all over that like I’d be over a meat only buffet.

So Step 1 is to start building your base, interact (even if it is hard for you it’s worth it), and show yourself.

 

SelfPublishing#1

 

Stay tuned for the next part soon. Until then feel free to share your beginnings. Did you start with building a base? Or did you write all the way through and started after? What are your experiences and what would you do different if you’d have to start again? The comment section below is hungry for your input!

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5 thoughts on “Self publishing #1 – The start is not what you think it is

  1. Your experience feels very similar to mine! While my first book was stuck in the editing process (which took a couple months), I used my nervous energy to build a website, set up a FB page and a twitter account, and poke around in various fora to see what felt right for me.

    I started using the accounts right away, sharing fun ‘writer moments’, historical trivia, and anything that felt it had appeal to my target demographic. When the book released, it was great to have pre-populated social media with an already building friends list to announce it on.

    What I would have done differently would have been to try to find more beta readers willing to write a short feedback on the book. IT may sound mercenary, buy you NEED some positive sound-bites to use in promoting the book. If you get a great one, you might even want to have it in quotes on your book cover!

    There’s always something that could have been done better. I feel we shouldn’t berate ourselves for trying our best, and constantly striving to improve. We’re helping clear a new trail here still, and many others are whacking away with their machetes, too.

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing how you started out!

      I completely agree on the beta readers. I had only 2 people knowing what I was writing – which was me and my partner who helped me with the editing. In hindsight I should have asked more people, not only for those snippets but also more feedback.

      I do agree that no matter how well you are doing, there is always something that could have been done better. So I take that experience with me and hope to improve on the process for the next time. 🙂

      For me sharing the experience and what I did wrong also helps me in that process of improving because it leads to me thinking about it more clearly and structured. So it’s a win win! 🙂

      Like

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