10. There will be people who love your work and people who hate it. Try not to take it too personally. It’s a crazy hard thing to put your work in front of people, whether its friends and family or complete strangers. Why? Because putting your work out there for the world to read and critique is really, really tough. These are your thoughts and words laid bare on the page. The important thing to remember is that you wrote a book and put it out there! So congratulations you're ahead of the game!!
9. Build an email list. I’m not going to lie, this is a super hard thing to do for most people, including me. But if I can do it then you can too. (I have a post about this on my blog). This is super important because it helps you to connect with all of those people that love you and your writing. It allows you a space to tell them about all the great things you’re doing and what’s coming up. It also helps them to know if you are promoting things like a blog, podcast or anything else you have going on.
8. Take writing classes or workshops. These are a great way to improve your craft and to network with like-minded people who are also passionate about writing. This will likely end up being a big part of your support system because they understand the struggles you are/will be facing. You can find these all over the place with a quick internet search and some classes are free. One I recommend trying is the Storymakers conference that takes place every May in Utah.
7. Join writing/critique groups. This is another good way to network, build your craft and find support, for free! You can find some great groups on Facebook and twitter in basically every genre. There are also varying degrees of involvement depending on the type of group you join, and/or set up.
6. Take everything your beta readers and critique partners say with a grain of salt. No two writers write the same, that’s why we have so many unique stories using the same tropes. Look for patterns, if 8 out of 10 people who read your work say the same thing then maybe it’s something to look into, but if 2 out of 10 say you should change something then trust your gut and the majority.
5. Research the different paths to publishing. These include Self publishing, Indie publishing and Traditional publishing. This is something that I really didn’t know anything about and am still learning now. However it’s good to know your options because there are benefits and drawbacks to all of them.
4. Ask yourself if you are a plotter or a pantser? Do you need a plan in order to write a full, successful, manuscript? Or do you just let the ideas flow? At first I thought I was a pantser, someone who just let the ideas flow out of my fingers onto the screen. I had to learn the hard way that if I make an outline (and just an FYI my outlines are pretty basic) then I can write the story faster and it has a much better plot, character arc and finished storyline. It’s amazing! And it only took one failed attempt at a manuscript to figure it out (note the sarcasm in that last line.)
3. No one tells you before you set out on your journey that writing is actually the easy part of the whole thing. It’s all the stuff that comes after that complicates it all. Things like a synopsis, a blurb, a query letter, a pitch, marketing, email lists, etc. will be much, much, harder. I have discussed some of these topics in my blog at authorjaymephelps.com if you want to know more ;)
2. Market YOURSELF not your book. Why? Because you want people to connect with you on a personal level. You are a person first and foremost, you are a writer second, and people want to know the “real” you. It’s great if they love your book, but most importantly you want them to love you as your brand.
1.WRITE THE BOOK! Do not get so caught up in all of the little details like world building, language creation, character sketches and everything else that goes along with creating a story only to get stuck there. The most important thing for publishing a book is to have a completed manuscript. So dig in and write that story!