I learned a lot of things about self-publishing on the fly while getting my first book finalized. Having a whole series ready before you start was not one of them.
I wish I had learned this before writing Pangaea. Instead, I’m at a point now where sometimes I feel overwhelmed with trying to get a bunch of things done marketing-wise and not having all the pieces in place. It’s much better to have three or so books to release back-to-back while working on the next one. That way, you have a cushion of work to rely on while you go through drafting, cancelling, and/or agonizing over your next book.
You may read this and think “It’s okay to release a book a year” because you’ve noticed some of your favorite authors do it. And that’s true on some level, but for someone like me who is self publishing with the hopes of turning this into something full time, it seems the general consensus is that you have to release work at a faster pace. I’m struggling with my pace.
I’m not going to list a ton of excuses as to why. This year has been a huge learning experience for me as to what it takes to not only publish, but build a platform for myself. I’ve learned about editing, proofreading, cover design, the cost of all three, as well as business stuff like intellectual property rights, and how to promote my work online. Content, attention, and growing an email list is important, but I don’t know if it would be nearly as hard if I had more books on the marketplace. So, I’m playing a bit of catch-up. There’s no use crying over it now, but if you’re an author looking to jump in, my advice would be to not make the same mistake. Get a few books done and edited within an inch of their life. Save your money and get the formatting and cover design to look as good or better than what’s on store shelves. Then come up with a strategy for release that will have you grow at a normal pace.
I may have learned this important lesson a little late, but I’m hopeful that I’ll rise above and make the changes necessary to be successful.