This month marks the anniversary of when I first published Hound Dog Confidential. Oh my, how time zooms by and how things have changed.
Here are a few things I’ve learned thus far:
1. Every step in the publishing process will take longer than expected. As early visitors of my website can attest, I originally thought I Hound Dog Confidential would be published in 2016.
2. Enjoy the moments. You only publish your first book once, which is a huge accomplishment. In the hustle and bustle of marketing, don’t forget to feel good about what you’ve achieved.
3. Set realistic goals—for writing and marketing—and take steps to achieve them or else nothing will get done.
4. Small achievements are still victories.
5. Comparisons are a waste of time.
6. Everyone’s path to success isn’t the same
7. Beta reader feedback is important, don’t skip it.
8. Editing will make your story better.
9. Create an outline to help stay organized, even if it isn’t detailed.
10. Marketing, advertising, author platforms, and cockles aren’t dirty words. All of these help to make books successful. Have an advertising budget.
11. Write, especially when you don’t feel like it.
12. After the one hundredth time revising your manuscript, you will get ill at the very sight of it.
13. Rejection, criticism, and assholes are part of the business of writing. Don’t let negativity get you down or cause you to stop writing.
14. Back up your work!!
15. Keep expectations realistic. Most writers are NOT best sellers with their first book—or the second, and sometimes not even the tenth.
16. Build a mailing list early; you can use MailerLite or Mail Chimp. (You can sign up for my mailing list here!)
17. Worry about editing after writing the first draft.
18. With self-publishing, expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to costs. This can include anything from printing out your manuscript at Kinkos to needing an additional proofreader.
19. Write books in a series. They are easier to market and to build a fan base.
20. Take naps. Lots of naps.
21. Start your second book while waiting for the edits to come back from your first book.
22. Study the blurbs of books in your genre. It’ll help you write your own.
23. The book cover isn’t about what you want. Its purpose is to attract readers and covey the book’s genre.
24. Read extensively in the genre you are writing in.
25. Keep character profiles, setting profiles, a series bible, and timeline handy so you aren’t hunting to find out where your main character worked in book one so it matches in book three. Trust me on this one.
What have you learned from writing your first novel?
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