Last week, I alluded to the idea that I was going to start talking about what I’ve learned from my first year of self-publishing my work.
I’m not going to pretend like I’m close to having this whole publishing and marketing game down, but I’m definitely out there giving it the old college try.
In just one short year, that has freakin’ flown by, I’ve learned so much. Like the fact that I should have started marketing and building an audience waaaaaay before I ever hit the publish button.
But you live and learn and (hopefully) don’t repeat your mistakes the second time around.
This week I’m going to focus on a little bit of background on how exactly we got here. I’ve been writing fiction since I was about 9 years-old and some part of me has always known that it was what I was meant to do.
I have no formal education when it comes to writing. I learned every bit of what I know and keep in my bag of tracks from reading fiction, watching movies/television, reading how-to’s, and most importantly – writing.
For over a decade, I wrote screenplays that I basically finished and put in the proverbial drawer (really just a folder on the desktop of my computer). When I finished Shady Place the screenplay, I had the crazy idea I would finance and produce the movie myself, because I’m kind of a go-getter like that. When I realized I’d have to go-get a few million dollars to make Shady Place the way I wanted to, I changed gears.
I hadn’t written narrative prose in a long time, but I decided Shady Place the novel was probably my best chance at getting a story I loved into the world. So, I set out to write the book and when I was about thirty pages in a competition arose for the first 50 pages of a novel with a possible publishing deal as a prize.
The problem was I only had about 4 days to add another 20 pages before the competition deadline. What to do? Get to work of course. I busted my hump and banged out the pages, but still needed to edit them and with literally 4 minutes to spare, submitted the first 50 pages of Shady Place.
I’m not going to lie, my first foray into writing a novel was languishing. I worked so hard to get that sample ready, but then I basically stopped writing. It wasn’t until they announced I was a finalist for the competition that a switch flipped inside me.
I always feared what I wrote wasn’t good enough, but now someone was telling me it was. I made it a few rounds further and was entered into a portion of the competition where pre-sales of the book would lead to a publishing deal. I was doing well in the competition when I decided I didn’t want someone else to publish my book.
I wanted to do it.
And that’s what I did. I pulled out of the competition and set to finishing Shady Place. I set a deadline of my birthday (March 26), ten months after I started writing, to release Shady Place.
I had never written a book, I didn’t know what it would take or how long, but I set a goal and through a lot of hard work and determination…
Over the next few months, I’ll be talking about the journey, my process, my experience with marketing, and creating and releasing my first book and comic, The Couch. Check back weekly for updates!