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Random Thoughts on Self-publishing My First Book

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ON SELF-PUBLISHING MY FIRST BOOK – SOMEDAY ALWAYS COMES

So, I self-published a book. Who gives a rat’s ass! So what? Now what?

I knew how to go about self-publishing. But I did not promote my book very much before it hit the presses. Why? Because up until that very minute I hit the “publish” button on Createspace, I still wasn’t for sure if I really wanted to publish Someday Always Comes.  Even after I conspired with Melissa Stevens (The Illustrated Author) regarding the cover design. Even after I paid her for her time and effort. Nope, still wasn’t sure.

I wanted to publish it though – for people who like to read. It’s the reason, back around April 2012, I first said to some poor victim who didn’t give a crap, “Hey So-and-So, my book will be published soon.” Someday Always Comes bothered me for years and years. Drove me to the brink of depression; insanity even. And surely, why that sounds dramatic, it’s true. I even cried over the hunk-a paper! But, I am the type of person that when I say to you that I will do something; that I will embark on a mission; write something; go somewhere, I do it. I can’t back down once I promise this to someone. Even when said person doesn’t give two hoots and a holler about it. Once I say it out loud to someone other than myself it has to get done, or an earnest attempt must be made. It’s the way I am.

So for Someday Always Comes, there was no book release party. I revealed very little of the chapters with Facebookers and Twitter birds. Most was shared on writer websites in the distant past. Long before I announced I wanted to publish. I did no blog tours, and asked no bloggers or reviewers to read my book before I pressed that magic Createspace button.

She fought me for a decade then went silently to the presses.

For years I wanted to publish, but I hated even the thought of querying agents and editors. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel honored if one reads my query letter then tosses my work aside because they didn’t like a simple letter that has little to do with my work.

Yes, these letters are important, and redundant, especially if the agent, etc., is asking for a synopsis. My idea of a query letter is, “Hi…my name is. Here’s my shit. Read it or don’t,” because query letters are stupid. I can see the query as an introduction to me, and include a small blurb about my book. But I don’t want to be associated with anyone who reads my required 30 pages, or what have you, simply because they liked my query letter. What? And what agent/editor would want to do that is beyond me. I mean, just ‘cause a query letter sucks big ones doesn’t mean the manuscript does. Geeze!

I can only imagine how much time’s been wasted by agents/editors who read the sample pages or started a book hell bent on reading the entire manuscript simply because of a well-written query letter, then sat back somewhere in the middle of the book and chugged down a fifth of vodka just to wash the taste of that bad book right out of their mouths.

Oh, I don’t care if any agents or editors, or mainstream publishers see this blog. Oh, probably one day one, two…or twenty of them will again see a badly written query letter penned by me. And once again, they’ll throw my manuscript to the side because I didn’t get the order of the query paragraphs correct.

I want the readers to tell me if my book is okay or not. I don’t want a rejection letter from an agent or editor telling me my book isn’t their thing when they didn’t even read page one.

I’ll tell you who’s important to an author…self pubbed or not… or should be important: Bloggers/reviewers and, of course, the fans, the readers, clients and customers who spend time and/or money on our book for the penning of a blog review, print review, or for their own reading pleasure.

The readers, my fans, are the ones I write for.

Incidentally, I am only currently searching for reviewers for Someday Always Comes. The book’s been out nearly two months and I only queried for my first review a few days ago. Perhaps there will be blogs about this experience as well.

I don’t mind querying the book reviewer. Even if they don’t want to read the book and offer a review, I still don’t feel like things were a lost cause. I actually look forward to hearing back after a reviewer query. Even though the answer may be that they aren’t interested in my book, genre or story.

When I query the agent, I feel like I’m mailing or emailing my packet off to outer space. I don’t feel this way when asking the blogger/reviewer to read my stuff.

One thing I would like to hit on is the “paid-for review.” Oh, I’ve seen this so much on the self-publishing forums, and many self-pubbed authors go for this. I don’t think they’re totally a bad thing. I do feel that one should really investigate such ideas seriously and consider the negative implications. I know there are popular paid-for review businesses, but for me, even as a self-publisher, I will strive to stay away from paid reviews until the day they might become a necessary evil. I hope that doesn’t happen. Not that they cannot be honest reviews, but I don’t want to pay for a review, get a negative one, then decide I won’t make it public, even after I spent $300+. Yes, I’ve seen the prices of these popular review opportunities. No thanks.

I have better things to do with my money, such as invest in a press release or flyers and bookmarks; purchase gift cards for raffles; even pay for a print ad in my old college newspaper. I’d rather pay for ways to rustle up free reviews, than pay for an actual review. I want to work for it. We all should. I mean, we’ve been busting our boots since the beginning. Why give up now? Besides, I need a little dough to get the next book cover design or two rolling.

That reminds me. Perhaps in another blog, I shall write about book covers. Out of all the people who’ve seen the book cover for Someday Always Comes, I had one bad review of the cover. The person said he couldn’t figure out by looking at the thumbnail on Amazon, what was on the cover. He derisively asked if it was “a planet on fire,” then proceeded to say that the cover has nothing to do with the story. Really? I laughed. (Reminds me of an agent and queries!)

If anyone reads the back cover, one can see the cover might have something to do with the story. I think one should gain some inkling, between back cover blurb and front cover design, what the story might be about. Or they should be inclined to assume the cover elements are in the story. My cover elements are metaphors regarding things in the story. Indeed, if one reads Someday Always Comes, then examines the details of the cover, front and back, one will see the book cover has everything to do with the story.

So, let’s see…what’s important?

Not querying agents.

Not paying for book reviews.

Making sure your book cover design and story are connected…or your planet might catch fire.

That’s my .02 and I’m sticking with it.

Thanks for reading!

~Wanda

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