MY SELF-PUBLISHING LESSONS
24 AUGUST, 2022
I’ve sat down and attempted to write something like this multiple times now, and I thought my August 2022 update for As We Write would make an appropriate venue for my thoughtful musings and general reminiscing over the events of the past few years.
For those of you who aren’t aware, back in 2020, an important global event brought a lot of people inside for an extended period of time. Around that same time, I came up with the idea for a story where a witch accidentally summons a demon. This book would eventually become Demonic Deals.
I worked tirelessly during 2020 to fill the void of boredom and anxiety with words and wonder. This isn’t me trying to brag, because it happened out of pure stress and irrational worry, but I wrote over a million words that year. Then 2021 came, and I didn’t necessarily write myself out. But after encouragement from close friends and trusted relatives, I chose to take the leap and self-publish my first novel.
I researched what I needed to do and my options for months. I made a ton of mistakes, and a little over a year later, I feel like I am the better for it. But, me hearties, I’ve been working in education for almost a decade. Everything is a learning experience, and I wanted to share the things I learned with you.
Is a monthly update the right place to do it? Aren’t I supposed to tell you that I’m in the throes of editing The Veiled War and want to yeet my computer across the room on a regular basis because of it? Didn’t I mention that my attempts to work on my author bod have left me with more anxieties and less time to write?
Shouldn’t I plug my YouTube channel and tell you to go watch this goober of a human being go play with sock puppets on a regular basis? Well, there you go. I did the thing. Follow me on twitter for my full stream of consciousness most days.
Anywho… Here are a few things I would like to share with you about my experiences over the past year as of publishing on July 1, 2021.
1, YOU'RE THE BOSS, BOSS
When you’re indie, everything is on you. You have to make all of the choices. You have to do all of the leg work. It isn’t easy. It’s busy and hectic, and if you want to keep a self-imposed deadline, you must be the driving force, because nobody will come save you and tell you to do it.
Now, you might be saying, “Well, that’s just lovely. How do I keep up with all of this? I barely have time to do the things I love as it is. How am I going to add more to my plate?” And my answer to you is, you can only do what you can do. Do your best. Set yourself realistic expectations. Don’t go overboard, and when you fail, forgive yourself.
Have an accountability partner. Cheer each other on. You already did something people cannot do. You finished a book. Now you need to do the work to make it live and breathe on the page or on the internet. Baby steps will get you there, and I promise it will be worth it.
2, NEWSLETTERS, MAILING LIST, READER MAGNETS
In the constant stream and algorithms of social media, only a portion of your followers see your messaging. Not only that, but you are likely followed by people who just won’t purchase or care about your product.
In your newsletter, these are the people who know you and your work and want updates on what you’re doing.
Offering a reader magnet is a great way to get subscribers, and it can be fun too! There’s nothing quite like writing a holiday-themed short story and sharing it with the world.
3, FOLLOWERS, SOCIALS, ONLINE PRESENCE
Pick 1 or 2 socials to focus on. Leave the rest of them as a landing page with updates for when you have something big happening. If you overextend yourself, you’re going to feel it.
Don’t go chasing vanity metrics. If you shoot to have thousands of followers, that’s excellent, but are your followers readers? Focus on pulling in the audience you want, not necessarily just having an audience.
Show them your passions, and you’ll find followers on socials who will have genuine interactions with you and actually take an interest in you and then your books/products.
One thing I feel like I should’ve done while starting out is to have a Goodreads page and review books beforehand. You don’t have to be an author to have followers on Goodreads, so when you publish, people who follow your reading interests will now get notifications of your book release!
I think a lot of my advice kind of boils down to be yourself and have a good time, but I hope there’s a nugget or two people can take away from my random musings.
Until next time, stay weird, my friends.
M.W. “Marie” McLeod is an American multi-genre author, forged in the fiery pits of Hell. Aka Phoenix, Arizona. She is an educator by occupation and nature, always trying to learn and experience new things.
As a fantasy author dabbling in different subgenres, Marie draws inspiration from different places, people, and hobbies. From knitting to painting, movies to podcasts, and reading to D’n’D, she will try anything as long as it keeps her cup full of inspiration and coffee.