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?