The Wise Old Words of a New Author
I want to thank the Rebel Authors for letting me pop in here and write little bit about well anything I want to. ^.^ I decided to chat about a mix of a few things, but mostly it revolves around my biggest piece of advice for new authors: Do NOT rush.
Do you know what I think of when I think back to a year ago, when I finished writing the first book I knew I wanted to release to the public eye?
I know everything.
Trust me on this one.
(If only!!! *she says longingly*) About the doctor thing...anyways....before I get side-tracked.
So little backstory for ya. I had my heart set on publishing my first book —Damaged — in December of 2013. I finished writing Damaged in August of 2013. I had betas set up to read it, my friend who was an English/Writing/Rhetoric (because they are different things - at least at my university) major was going to review it. I had it all planned out. My cover was done, I had started up a Facebook page at the beginning of the month and I was trying to put myself out there. I thought I was just steamrolling my way through. Nothing could touch me....
Much like the Black Knight, I was about to get knocked down a couple pegs. My betas did their best with helping where they could, but I had told them over and over that it would be okay because my friend was going to edit it. Sadly, that friend fell through on her promise. I was left with an unedited book, a panic attack and friendship in need of mending.
So December rolls around and I still have an unedited book, and a release day that is IMPOSSIBLE. So I push it back.
Toooo January. (For the record, this was still a really, really bad decision.)
I thought I was safer now...maybe not quite as unstoppable as I thought I was before. So I got another friend (#palmtoforehead) to do it. I pushed and pushed and pushed her to finish by the new release date because otherwise I would — I don't know — fall apart?
At this point, I am sighing at myself. I was so determined to do this under an impossible budget, and an impossible timeline that I royally screwed myself over. I was thinking what every first author might think, “Oh it doesn't matter, it will be fine, I won't be THAT author.” But I was.
There are things you can't rush. There are things you need to invest in. And above all, while you might want to please the masses and you are certain you want your book right this moment, there is one thing that has to be done first. You need to make sure your book is ready for the world. If it's not, then do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, pretend you are ready and do it anyway. They always say you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Don’t waste it.
Do you know how many authors I have seen in the past do surprise releases two weeks before their actual release date? I was thinking i could be like them. They finished writing a book in a month and a half, why can't I?
Because you aren’t those authors. Not yet, at least.
I know it isn't fair Ella Enchanted - why can't I remember her name?!?! I will come back to this....
So those are seasoned authors who know their way around the business. I can guarantee you they have editors — yes, probably editorS plural, and they certainly didn’t publish so frequently right out of the gate.
I wish I could say that learned from my mistakes but my second book released with a few hiccups as well. I’m still learning and growing, but it was better than the first release.
Book three is going to be entirely different. Given what I’ve learned, I’ve got some advice for the budding authors out there:
First: Find an editor, not friend.
An affordable —because they are out there, you might have to really search —editor. Trust me when I say this. It is and always will be needed. If you want someone to take your work seriously, you need to take your work seriously. If your best friend is actually an editor (and that is what they do for a living) great, offer to pay them. Seriously, I don't care if its 5 dollars every 10 pages. But make sure someone who has never read your book before, reads over it. Why? Because I know your best friend has probably read your stuff beforeand knows your style. This means they might miss something. You need fresh eyes.
Second: Don't go cheapies on your cover because covers really do matter. People lie when they say they don't judge a book by its cover, because they do. They sooo do. I know I had the hardest time with my first cover because I didn't know what I was doing, and I had no ideas in mind for what it needed to be.
Third: Don't be afraid to reach out for help. I am not saying go to an author you don't know and say, “Hey, help me with this,” but I am guessing most people who are in this business know or admire another indie author. Start talking to them on a personal level. Most are real sweethearts. After getting to know one another, ask for their help. I had to ask so many people so many things and I am so grateful for them. I really am, and it’s part of why I admire the Rebel Writer's group so much. They aren't just using each other for promos, or anything like that. They are friends. They (if I understand them correctly) help each other as much as they can.
Fourth: So now you are published, you’re rolling in the awesome reviews. When you are stalking – yes, because even if you tell yourself you won’t be that author, you will be stalking Amazon like a wild person.
So, while you are stalking you will eventually come across your first harsh review. You’d be surprised but one, two, or even three-star ratings can be harsh. Know that you have to let yourself mourn. Do what you need to do. For me it was Cinnibon ice cream with a Red's Apple Ale, and a bit of crying...
*ahem* maybe I am exaggerating the bit of crying part. But truly, let yourself mourn in any way you need to. The thing that you should stay away from is responding to the reviewer in any way. You may even want to avoid telling friends about your bad reviews because they may respond, and things just start to get out of hand. It seems like common sense, but your book is your baby and that can complicate things. Try to remember that you haven’t loved every book you’ve ever read and not everyone will love yours. It’s a sad but true fact. As the author, you have an image to maintain and you need to take the high road.
Mourn. Build yourself up again. And keep on rolling.
My fifth piece of all-knowing advice (she says sarcastically) is this: Your readers are your life-lines. Treat them well. Adore them and shower them with gifts when you can. But don't let them rule you. As much as they want book two out from your series, you have to take your time. Your editor needs to take their time. Your cover designer needs to take their time. If you decide to get a formatter, they need to take their time. So much goes into just publishing a book that one doesn't realize unless they do it themselves. Writing it is the easy part. Everything after...well
I sincerely hope my tale of woe has helped in some aspect. Even if it’s just simply that you could relate to my story, or it is advice you are going to take to heart and seriously consider.
Thank you again Rebel Writers for having me.
Thank you, readers, for reading.
Thank you google for your abundance of GIFs because without you this article would have been a rambling annoying girl ;)
I don't think I used enough GIFS so here is one more
Becca Vincenza lives in wonderful Michigan. She has a love for Skittles, puppies, Star Wars, and reading about hot men. When she’s not wearing her author hat, she’s working to pay off her student loans for her recently acquired English degree. She recently released her first book this year, and plans for many in the future.
Stalk Her if you Dare: