What I Wish I Knew Before I Published

I decided that I am going to make this week all about writing and publishing on the blog! I hope you enjoy these few featured, themed posts to help you along in your writing or publishing career! I am excited to share my thoughts on this process! So, without further ado, let’s get into today’s post!

What I wish I knew

Whew! Honestly, I found this post hard to categorize because there isn’t much that I regret when it comes to my publishing career. Because, let’s be real here, it was a learning process and a I am really proud of the way that I went about learning everything I did and how I taught myself all the publishing ropes. Am I perfect and do I have it all together? Psh! Gurl, of course not. But looking back at where I was, knowing absolutely nothing about this process or the ins and outs of it, I’ve come a long way and learned a lot.

That being said, I am here to encourage you with a few things that I wish I knew before I published.

Put in the Work. . .

This is something that I feel very strongly about and have noticed a huge difference in my career. I don’t fault myself too much because it was my first go around and I know that it will only get better from here as I learn. This is something that I encourage every first time author with, and that is put in the time and the work. Make your book as perfect as possible before it hits the streets. London in the Dark’s publishing date was pushed back so many times I lost count. The processes that I had to go through before publishing all the steps of beta reading, editing, proofreading. . .they all took way longer than I had anticipated, but I am so glad that I stuck it out and polished my book as much as I could. If you plan on making a career out of this, or even if you are just putting out one book and calling it quits, it will go way farther than you could ever expect if you polish that book to perfection. Take your time with it. Don’t pushing things too fast. There is nothing worse than putting out a half-baked project.  You won’t regret taking your time and polishing you book and making it the best that it can possibly be.

And maybe even some money.

This brings me to the second part of things. While self-publishing and indie publishing can be a huge money saver from the standpoint that there aren’t a lot of up-front costs, there is still something to be said for hiring others to do things you might not be great at. I am a fantastic creative writer (if I do say so myself) however, I have little aptitude (or desire) to edit or have perfect grammar and punctuation when I write. I don’t like the copy-editing process and I don’t know enough about it to do a good enough job, so therefore, I hire someone to do that part for me. I have two people that I use as my copy-editors and you have no idea how much hiring out that one part of the process has freed up my heart. It felt like such a burden and I knew I was doing a bad job just from the standpoint that I didn’t know what I was doing. It made everything so much better and I would highly recommend finding the areas where you have a weakness and seeking out others to provide that service for you. I am the epitome of a do-it-all-yourself-er and it was hard for me to reach out, but it is the best decision I ever made. Whether it be cover design, interior formatting, copy editing etc. if it isn’t your forte or something you can do well enough to put out with a fantastically professional look, then seriously consider hiring a professional.

Don’t compare.

I swear I say this till I’m blue in the face and do I listen to myself, NOPE! So, I’ll just keep saying it. Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s. Everyone has a journey that is different and as unique as they are and that is what makes it beautiful. But you are literally going to kill your joy if you keep looking around at everyone else and wishing you had their life. “She is publishing 6 books this year! Holy cow! I’m so behind!” “She is so successful writing YA fantasy, I should try that” “How does she publish so fast?! I need to crank these out!” “Her instagram marketing is on point! I should work harder at that.” Gurl, do you. That’s what is the most important. It’s been hard for me to sit back this year (for what feels like forever) and feel like I’m not writing anything or publishing anything (which is a lie because I published When Beauty Blooms last summer, duh, brain, get with the program) It just feels so slow when I see everyone publishing their beautiful babies. But you know what? I’m walking out my journey and that is perfectly perfect.

Don’t be motivated by sales.

It’s normal. Honestly it is to want to make money and that isn’t a bad thing. And I know that this is a personal choice for me, so I don’t want to impress this on anyone if it isn’t your thing. But it was something that was incredibly important to my peace of mind and my heart and my writing. It couldn’t be about the sales for me. It still can’t. If I focus on what will sell, what people will buy etc, my story and voice is going to get lost in my effort to meet everyone’s expectations. And I am not okay with that. God has a purpose and a calling for me and my writing and it is very easy to lose sight of that when all I am focused on is where the money is. It’s a hard thing, I’m not saying it’s easy. But for me, the best choice has been to trust God that if He wants me to be a full time writer, He will make it happen. I do what I can and the best that I can in the way of marketing, writing and publishing, but at the end of the day, it has to be His move, not mine. And I can’t live my life jerked around on the end of a string called money. Being motivated and having my emotions tied to the ups and downs of my Amazon paycheck is not where my focus will be and will do more harm than good. Write your heart and let that be enough.

Well, that is enough for today. Do you like this post? Do you want to hear some more things I wish I had known before I started publishing? What are some things you have learned or want to know about publishing?

By God’s Grace,

Victoria

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