If the process of writing DREAM WEAVER was a journey, the path to recognition has been the Yellow Brick Road. There is nothing easy about this trip some of us choose to embark on, especially when we decide to do it all on our own. I've said in the past that this has been a learning journey for me. Here's some of stuff I've learned:
If you don't know it, find out!
Or find someone who does. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, plot development, editing. Whatever it is that keeps your story from being as perfect as it can be, learn it! Don't be willing to release your baby into the world with a stinky diaper.
While friends and family are GREAT! Don't use them as your editor.
A lot of people, family-type people, are too kind to tell you when something sucks; or too mean to tell you that you're great. Even former English teachers are not necessarily your best bet to review your manuscript. And editors can be extremely expensive. But there are some out there that will review your story for fees that are much more reasonable. (But more on that another time)
Never stop learning
Whether it's research to make your story more believable or attending a writer's conference to learn how to build your social platform or blog, take advantage of everything you possibly can. I had a beta reader ask me the other day if the first draft of my next novel she just reviewed was really a first draft. Wow! If she had read the first draft of Dream Weaver, she would have definitely known it was a first draft. Take every opportunity to learn something new from what ever source it may come from.
Grow a thick skin
I guess this one depends on what your goal is in publishing your work. If you just want to write stories for others to read, great. But if you're wanting to make some level of career out of writing, you've got to willing to submit yourself to another, and willing to accept criticism that might not feel too good. My friend, Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo, who wrote Pie: An Old Brown Horse...also just read my second book, Rock Star. She worried a bit that the things she was telling me about the story would make me mad, but truthfully, that's exactly what I wanted. Show me what I missed, where my plot line fails, where I'm redundant, or my first person POV character uses 'I' too much. I adore Kandy Kay; and that she was willing to put herself out there for me makes me appreciate her all the more. And Rock Star will benefit from her honesty and my willingness to hear what she has to say.
Pay for art
Another one of those things that are vitally important, and other successful authors will tell you, 'Pay for cover art.' Think about when you go to the library or book store. The cover is what grabs your attention and tells you a little about what is inside the book. And, the spine is even more important. Make sure the title and background contrast...a lot. That is the one thing I would change about Dream Weaver is the spine. That's all some people see. If they have to squint to see the title because it's small or fanciful script, they probably aren't going to choose it. By the way...Dream Weaver's artwork by the masterful Shawn Foote, has moved into the semi finals of the AUTHORSdB cover art contest. (More on that soon, also)
I was a complete novice when I started this. No clue how to write a book; and absolutely no idea how to do all the computer stuff that comes with promotion. I was fortunate enough to connect with a few people that taught me what to do. Many of the Facebook groups for authors are great place to glean anything you don't know from other who've already done it. Build your own little author's universe with people write the same quality of work as yourself, not necessarily the same style as you. Find a community of people you can get behind and you know you can count on for support. Several of the authors that I've interviewed have become friends who know a lot that I don't. And I discover, there are things I know that they don't.
All in a blog post?
There's no way I could put everything I've learned over the last several years into one blog post. It would be forever long. But there's a few things I've learned. And I'm always available to help other indie authors, if I can.
Well I did it!
When Dream Weaver was first published, I refused to put it on KDP Select. I didn't like the idea that Kindle was the only place I could sell my ebook. The book did alright on it's own at first, but sales dropped off and I got discouraged. So even with the novel on 3 sites for sale, I was getting no where. I recently went back to my KDP bookshelf and discovered I had the book in the wrong categories. No wonder it wasn't getting any attention. Then, with the help of another one of those interviewees, we reworked the book details and managed to get it in the #1 slot in several search categories. And then I did it. I enrolled in KDP Select. And my first 2 free days are Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16. I've tweeted it with various hashtags on Twitter and posted it on all the Facebook author promo pages....to the tune of 60 pages plus, and will continue throughout the promotion.
I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity and download a copy for yourself or a friend.