The journey of publishing your first book, or your first self-published book, is like getting on a train that doesn’t announce its stops. You have to stay awake, alert and astute to make sure that you get off at the right stop, otherwise you end up getting off too soon and having to wait for the next train to come around, or you miss your stop altogether and have miles to trudge backwards.
The self-publishing train will take you through a huge multitude of stops including paralysing self-doubt, writer’s block, editing frustration and marketing nightmares, but if you get off the train at any of these stops then you’ll fail at getting to your end point, and you will get stuck in the bureaucracy or self-criticism that so many authors fall at.
As you pass through the periods of self-doubt and writer’s block you’ll need to take advice from other self-published authors about procrastination, motivation and how to keep going. Clear your head, clear your desk, bargain with yourself and find the space, the sound and the view that motivates you. You’ll pass through editing choices, from friends and trusted family members to professionals, and as you speed through the station you’ll have to make that decision, the one that is best for your situation, your book, and your budget.
You’ll also slow down at the marketing station, where you’ll have to decide whether to self-market your book through word of mouth, social media, your own website or blog, or whether to pay somebody else to market for you. This could include hiring a professional company, or paying other businesses to simply advertise your new book on their websites and in their stores. The marketing station is one of the most important pauses you will make, because how else will your book make its sales, but you need to be careful not to disembark here because the train might keep going without you.
Don’t forget, that the publishing train will also pass through traditional publishing before it reaches self-publishing, and this is where you have a big decision to make. Do you want to pass your book onto big named publishers who might change some of the meaning behind your book in order to ensure that it attracts a bigger audience? Perhaps you want the security of having marketing, editing and royalties sorted out for you, but make sure you take some time to work out exactly what that will mean for your end product before you get off the train.
If you stayed until the last stop, then self-publishing is your goal. Your book is written and edited with a marketing plan and a confident writer behind it. Get off the train, quickly, because if you dither and stay on too long, worrying about your finished product, the train will whisk you off and it will all be too late.