Ok. Maybe that is a little dramatic, but I did want to share some of what I’ve learned being a self-published author. It is not an easy thing to do, and no, it doesn’t matter how good you think you are, or how good you think your story is! We all think we have a great story, and that there is no one better to write it.
First, a little about me. I’ve always loved books and good stories. I grew up wanting to live in The Shire and walk the hallways of Hogwarts. I wanted to chase bad guys with Sherlock Holmes, and uncover mysteries with the Hardy Boys. That led me to try and write a story of my own. Well, to be honest, I always wanted to try writing a novel but it wasn’t until the first time I heard, The Story of My Life, by One Direction that I knew I had to do it. Every single time I heard that song I would envision a character I called Kindel, who would have everything, lose it all, and wrongly blame his best friend, because Kindel was trapped in a more serious and evil plot then he could ever imagine. From the song, “Written on these walls are the stories that I can’t explain.”
It all started from there. Characters came to life and kingdoms were created, but the original premise and events of the story never changed much from my original idea. They got better, and I connected dots I never knew existed until I was in there, living and walking in the Three Kingdoms, if only in my mind.
After spending a couple years on the book I hired an editor to give me his thoughts. I saved up and sent off my manuscript to be dissected by someone I did not know. Scary! I did a lot of research though, and knew I had hired one of the best. That’s why I didn’t think he would take on my project, but not only did he take the job, he loved the book! I was on cloud 9. I had done it. Hollywood, here I come!
Not really. After making all the changes he suggested, I started sending it off to agents. And I waited, and waited, and waited, only to hear nothing. Wow! What a roller coaster ride. I went from cloud 9 to somewhere near Mordor is the best I can describe it. Dark and eerie. Was it my lack of experience and a following? The query letter? The story? My writing? Well, I am convinced now that it was a little of all of those.
That sent me on the journey of being my own publisher and agent. I tweeted, posted pictures on Instagram, created a Facebook page, set up my book on Goodreads and much more. It has been a little over 6 months since I’ve done that, and I have had some success, but if you take the hours and divide them by the results, it is obvious you will spend a lot of time feeling like your efforts are wasted. You will feel like giving up, but if you’re like me, that’s when I really get mad and try even harder. One final note on that. Do not think that following a bunch of authors means something. 99.9% of them are out there doing the same thing you are, and will never read your book. I thought the expose I would get from their readers would be all I needed. Steal off them so to speak, but look at their followers. They are all authors too. It is a waste. If it isn’t a reader who follows you, don’t get excited. It is just a follow, not a sale.
That leads me to why I decided to write this blog post. At the end of the day I have learned one lesson I will never fail to live by again. Write because you love it. Write because it’s an escape from reality. Write because you are a dreamer, but never write for others. Never write for the purpose of making money. You will be the most miserable person on the planet. Write what you love and if others like it, even better! I know that sounds simple, but you wouldn’t believe how many writers I’ve come across that still don’t get that simple fact. I didn’t get it for a long time. Writing a book is the best thing I have ever done. My kids tell all their friends that there daddy wrote a book. That is all the recognition I will ever need. Writing went from a habit to a full blown addiction for me, and I will never stop. Never! Kindel 2 is well on its way to completion. So don’t let rejection or bad reviews get to you. That is all part of the experience. Just remember. You wrote what you enjoy and you like it. Does anything else matter? You’ve accomplished what only 10% of those who try ever finish. You are a superstar!
Thanks for all of your support on this journey! And if you like medieval fantasy stories full of friendships, betrayals, swords, and kings, check out my debut novel, Kindel: The Crowning Of Our King! It is available on Amazon, and free on Kindle Unlimited! I would love to hear your feedback!