Things I’ve Learned In My First Year as an Author

I totally intended to write this post at the beginning of the year, but after the new year I was on deadline, and then I was waiting to get the final clean copy of my book from my editor, and then I just got really busy formatting and doing ARCs. It’s been a little busy, so now that I’m a days away from the release of my second book, I wanted to put together a little “things I’ve learned since I started this process.”

  • Find Your Squad
    • Writing can be such a lonely process and even though you shouldn’t, you compare yourself to everyone else. Finding a group of authors that you can complain in the group chat to or even finding a CP group is amazing. I definitely would have quit writing if it wasn’t for one of my author groups. Like seriously, I don’t think they would let me quit at this point. This is actually really hard for me, because I’m really bad at maintaining relationships with people. This is definitely because of my own insecurities. I didn’t seek out my group, I was invited to an existing group, so I don’t have a lot of advice on how to find one.
  • Don’t read your reviews!
    • Seriously, don’t! They aren’t for you. Nothing you will find in a review will help you with your craft. That’s what beta, CPs, and editors are for. Also people will hate your books for the same reason that other people love your books. IF you do read them (because I guess you hate yourself???) DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT publicly comment on them. Complain to your best friend, in your author friend’s DMs, but getting on social media to complain about a one star review will make you look bad. Bloggers will be cautious about reviewing your work because of it. DO NOT DO IT!
  • Don’t spend all your money on advertising
    • This is a mistake I made. I spent a lot of money testing ads and trying to figure out what works that my expenses to royalties are not even. Not even close. I don’t recommend doing this at all. My day job is in media buying so I kinda of knew what I was doing, but I still spent too much money!
  • Wait to do the Audio
    • This is another mistake I think I made too soon in my career. Some people might even recommend to not do paperback until you’ve made enough. I don’t really agree with that, because I’m self publishing my book, I want to be able to have the paperback copies. Also great for giveaways, etc.
    • Audiobooks are a HUGE expense. The reason I did it was because as an author my thing was that I wanted to be accessible. Which is why I’m not in KU (they demand exclusivity and i don’t like that.) My ebooks, paperbacks AND my audiobooks are available across platforms because that was important to me, but I don’t recommend doing that. I would wait until you have saved up or made enough money to justify the cost for an audiobook production. I really want to do it for my second book, but I cannot afford it at all right now. So it’s either never coming or it’s gonna be a while until I can do it. It’s just the nature of the business, it’s do the audiobook now and the third book gets delayed even more because I can’t afford to publish it.
  • Start a Street Team and/or build relationships with readers and bloggers
    • One of the harder things to do when you are a new writer is to get reviews. I recommend having a street team or trying to build one up. I don’t have a lot of people on mine and I’m constantly trying to build it up, but the people who are on it have been great about trying to get the word out for me. This is definitely important as you continue to produce books. Some authors use marketing firms to do this, sorry I can’t afford that, so right now all the marketing is on me. I’d also recommend doing a blog tour, it can be great for visibility for a new writer.
  • Hire an Editor
    • Seriously you have to hire an editor. Even if you think you can do it yourself you can’t. Now there are a lot of different types of editors. So I would recommend to AT LEAST hire a copy editor. You can do a lot of developmental edits with your CPs or betas, but at the very least have a copy editor look through it before you hit publish.

These are just my own advice based on my own experience, so YMMV. Do what you think works for you!

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