Note: This advice is directed to authors who’ve finished editing their manuscript into something ready for release. How to know when that is would take another blog post, which I’m considering writing! I urge you to make sure your book has been edited—and possibly rewritten!—before you publish.
With the choice to self-publish, an author faces many challenging decisions. While some people approach it as the “easy” way to sell your work, nothing worthwhile is easy. Though no self-publisher’s journey will be predictable, there are guidelines authors should follow to make the process smooth.
As a first time self-publisher, I don’t claim myself an expert; however, if probed for one piece of advice by someone considering the route, I would say don’t get carried away in setting a release date. Let me explain.
Dissonance is my first published book. Researching the process taught me how publication works behind-the-scenes. Most things I learned are common sense—get an editor, have a good cover, figure out a marketing plan. There won’t be a magic button to press for sales and pageviews, so you’ll spend a lot of time on social media spreading the word. These were things that, though challenging, I tried to follow faithfully.
There are plenty of posts that give advice about book covers and marketing plans. If you’ve taken seriously the decision to self-publish, you’ve read a few of them; in my opinion, there aren’t enough posts telling us to be patient.
I made the mistake of losing perspective in my excitement to be published. Nothing is set in stone, and it is better not to give yourself a release date, especially if you’re a writer undergoing this process for the first time.
I can only recall being warned about the release date dilemma in Catherine Ryan Howard’s book, Self-Printed. It’s an excellent source of advice if you don’t know where to start! However, despite her warning, I wanted to claim the book birthday of 12/13/14.
12/13/14—not only was it fun to put on announcements, my birthday was the day after! Convinced I could get things together in a year, I told everyone Dissonance would be available then—and complications arose.
Though I’d chosen 12/13/14 with a year in advance, there wasn’t time to get everything sorted. As a friend of mine once said, nothing is finished until it’s published. I missed the release date and published five months later.
As a first-timer, I am proud of my book and glad I chose this path, but learned a lesson: I can’t control everything. I won’t be setting a release date again unless everything is sorted, because life has ways to throw you off-course. Soon I’ll be working on the second book of my series, and this time when I publish, I’ll know what not to do—which things I have power over and what I should leave to others.
I’m not ashamed of this incident because it gave me insight. However, I’d like to give you this word of advice if you want to self-publish a manuscript: Your book may not be ready when you are.
It’s worth the wait—good things always are.
About the Author:
Mariella Hunt writes faery tales from her bedroom/library in Boise, Idaho. She enjoys reading the classics and hopes to one day write like Charles Dickens (hey, a girl can dream.) Her first novel, Dissonance, was published in June of 2015. Check out her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on her writing life.
How do you know when your book is ready to be released?
In a revealing guest post for @brianawrites, @mariellahunt shares some wisdom about book releases. (Click to tweet)
I’ve been planning to do this cover reveal for a while now. One of my writing tweeps is releasing a book! The lovely Mariella Hunt is publishing her novel Dissonance soon, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Here’s what the book is about:
Fifteen-year-old Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.
When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met.
Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her. The cure she needs is rare, requiring of him a difficult sacrifice. Allie soon suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll turn her world around.
But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the truth…like the finishing chord of a song.
Ooooooh, intriguing! This novel sounds great for anyone who loves YA with a magical/urban fantasy twist. I can’t wait to give it a read and review it on the blog!
About the author:
Mariella Hunt is a writer with a strong love for coffee and guinea pigs. She likes using big words in everyday speech, and keeps journals of quotes from the greats. Most days you’ll find her on a well-loved armchair, reading–or working on one of her many projects. As she cannot stick to an outline, she rewrites way too much.
How do you think this novel sounds? Are you planning to check it out once it goes live?
.@brianawrites wants you to read DISSONANCE, a YA urban fantasy novel by @mariellahunt. #IndieBooksBeSeen (Click to tweet)