Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You've got to have friends!!

Hei hei, y'all. It's ST. And I'm here to talk about friends -- specifically, why they are absolutely, hands down, my favorite thing about the writing community.

My path to indie publishing wasn't the most conventional. Two of my books had a brief publication in 2013 with a now defunct small press. When I took back my rights, I had no idea how to go about publishing the books on my own. I was every single possible kind of terrified. So I turned to my writer-friends -- the ones here at Indie Ignites; the ones I met on the interwebs; the ones who were hiding in the foxhole with me, trying to figure out our next steps; and the ones who had successfully navigated the indie arena, and had scores of helpful nuggets to share. (Thank you Kristie Cook, for your amazing blog post that finally convinced me to give this a go!) Those friends were beyond generous with me. I truly had zero idea what I was doing (I still don't, really), and they gave me great advice. Some of the most useful tidbits I gleaned were:

(1) Don't attempt to make your own covers if you're not great at all things computer. (I'm not. It took me a year to figure out The Twitter. Facebook still confuses me.) I scored big time when I met Rebecca K. Sterling, and right here on Indie Ignites we've got Adrianne James and Jaycee Delorenzo.
Those ladies do what I never could!!

(2) Don't attempt to edit your own book if you're not great at all things big-picture, small-picture, and/or grammar. (Again, I'm not. Thankfully, my beyond generous, immeasurably loyal, spectacularly brilliant, once-and-future-editor Eden Plantz kindly agreed to re-edit my books after I re-wrote them for indie publication. God bless her from here to Asgard for everything she's done for me. She's not only one of the most honorable people I've met in this industry, she's one of the most brilliant editors around. At this point, I just nod and write what she says. I adore her.) II has editors in house too -- Rachel Bateman, Nicole Zoltack and Angi Black!

(3) Use super-simple-even-ST-could-figure-it-out sites like Picmonkey when trying to make promotional images. Work up to the harder stuff someday. (In my case there probably won't be a someday, but look -- I made this!!! Little ole technophobic me!!!) Then just try to walk away from Picmonkey and go back to writing, because that site is ridiculously addictive, and some days it's much more fun to play with images of cute boys than it is to try and hit your word count. Sorry, word count. I made another Ull.

(4) Read THIS book. The Indie Author Survival Guide. It hasn't answered all of my questions, but it's tackled a good number of 'em.

My friends have helped me more than I'll ever be able to tell them. They gave me the guts to take the leap into self publishing. They showed me the steps I'd need to follow to bring a book through production. They answered my rudimentary questions over and over . . . and over. And they devoted countless hours from their own personal time to make my books shine (thank you Eden!!), teach me about marketing (tackle hugs, Nazarea!!), explain that excessively addictive Picmonkey (that one's on all y'all), and lift my spirits on the days it all seemed overwhelming (the absolutely incomparable Stacey Nash and our fearless Team Elsker FTW!). The writing community is one of the most generous, thoughtful, supportive communities I've had the opportunity to be a part of. I only hope that someday I'll have the kind of knowledge that can help my fellow newbies out.

Now it's your turn -- what's the best piece of advice you've received about publishing?


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