One Step at a Time: Part 1

 I have to admit I had no idea what I was getting into when I self published my first book.

I finished my book and read through it to make sure there weren’t many mistakes. I sent it to a few beta readers to read. My beta readers did pick up a few:) I contacted a few editors to edit my book, but, the big but, yes they said they would, then didn’t:( 

My frustration was mounting!

I spent days researching literary agents and trying to digest every bit of knowledge I could. I picked the best names of literary agents for my genre, to send my query letters to, and I spent tons of time reading about “How to write a successful query letter”. I thought to myself  “I’m going to query a ton of literary agents and when I get one they are supposed to edit my book for me,” right? Wrong. 

I revised, and revised query letters, had other people read them and sent them out. Most of the agents I sent my query letters to did not respond back to me. And their were a lot. I did more research on what literary agents want and found out that they are sticklers for well edited books. Ha, ha, I reread my book again and couldn’t find any mistakes. I knew there were some in there, especially commas, yuck, but I thought I had done very well with everything else.

I continued to read best selling authors books to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. So, some of these best selling authors had some not so good first books, which made me feel a little better. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to have a phenomenal first book, but I also knew that I would have room for improvement. If these authors could get their first books published why couldn’t I?

Okay, I bought myself some editing software–my critical brain wasn’t working back then! The editing software I bought showed me repetitive words, ands, buts, that’s, weak words, weak phrases and so on… I sat down and went through every page, one by one, again.  At the time I was still querying literary agents. Months had passed. Would one of them want to take on my book? No! Fine! I started my book cover and went into Amazon.

I read everything in Amazon. It took me days to reformat my book, and, of course more research, because I couldn’t get Mobi to do what I wanted it to do and the software kept crashing on me. (Mobi is Amazons free download software for reviewing and uploading your book.) I joined their forum and found great directions on how to manually format my book. That took a considerable amount of time.

Whew, I published my book, anxiety attacks out of the way! I had read somewhere in Amazon that they DO help authors promote their books. Yay, I could sit back and relax! Wrong again. 

I still haven’t figured out how they really help an author promote their books, besides, tags, likes, and KDP Select, which Amazon didn’t have back then. More research…

The first thing I felt I needed to do was get some reviews. I put my book into Mobi and PDF formats, found a few links in Amazon’s forum and posted review trades. Wow, I had a few hits! But that was it. Now what? More research… Facebook? Twitter? Blog?

Lynn Thompson

3 Replies to “One Step at a Time: Part 1”

  1. Lynn, I think a lot of people are probably familiar with your situation. I'm hoping this is the first of a two-part series of posts where you reveal the miraculous secret to successful promotion in the second post! 🙂

    This post that I wrote recently gives an overview of the social media venues you should look at (although you may already be on top of most of them) – – I should have some more info on “best promotion methods” coming in future posts, and have also started a “discussion doc” on the Author Karma FB page to get some other people's input as to what works best (and what doesn't).

    Looking forward to seeing where your literary journey takes you!


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