Self-Publishing Tip #1 - Write the Book

Welcome to the first in a series of tips that every self-publishing Author should heed and / or do in order to have a successful book launch.

Today’s tip might read a little obvious but as we explore the topic in more detail you’ll see why writing the book is the first thing you should always focus on.

…there’s a story in here somewhere

After writing and self-publishing two of my own fiction titles (which you can learn about here) it occurred to me that I ran through most of the process blinder than a T-Rex in Jurassic Park.

I knew I was chasing something but I couldn’t catch the moving target that came along with writing a book and bringing it to market. I couldn’t see the most important part. Because I focused on the wrong parts of the process. That is until I learned to go to the end to find the beginning. At that moment it all became clear.

There was this idea in my head for great characters and a fun, sweet story of their lives. So my first instinct was to focus on who would want to read that book. I wondered and researched if there was a market for my idea.

I’m here today to tell you that was the complete and utter wrong way to go about writing fiction. Especially your first book.

Market, shmarket

When you spend hours on QueryTracker trying to find an Agent who works with what you hope to write…someday…in the future…you miss the bigger picture.

The bigger picture being that someday is now.

It doesn't matter how big the market is or how many agents you can score. If you don't have a finished book to sell you aren't marketable. In fact, in a lot of instances these days agents and publishers want you to be an established author before they give you a chance.

Write first. Always write first.

Self-publishing is a viable alternative for 2014

Because when it all comes right down to it there’s a market for every kind of book you could ever imagine writing. Readers come in all shapes and sizes and they’ll read what they want to read.

Let me repeat that really quick because it’s a crucial part of the self-publishing puzzle – readers read what they want to read.

What a reader enjoys has little to do with a changing market. Plot lines that are hot today could be fizzling away tomorrow but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still people who enjoy that particular genre.

It means there’s going to be some sort of market for your book no matter what you write.

Get back to the thing you wanted to do - write books that you believe in - and you'll find the market.

I put my attention on scene, plot, character depth, structure and story. I made my book the best it could be.

I wrote like a mad woman, the story I wanted to tell, and I didn’t give a flying fig if any agent would pick me up. I knew I would enjoy the story so I finished writing it.

For me.

That first draft which allowed me to type 'The End' on my first novel was all for me.

…don’t hold back now!

You finished writing it, congratulations! So, now what?

Well, now it's time to edit. However, editing now could be a mistake.

We’re all afraid our writing might not resonate, and since those characters we created are our new best friends, we don’t want to hear anyone talking shit about them.

Meanwhile, we secretly hate our characters and want them all to pound sand. Or die in fiery page burning crashes.

In reality your finished manuscript is probably just as awesome as you. The trouble isn’t with the characters, the real issue is that you’re too close to the story right after writing it to edit properly.

In tip #2 I’m going to show you how to step away from your first draft for a while so you can come back to edit with a fresh perspective.

For even more self-publishing tips sign up for my monthly newsletter here and get a copy of Does My Book Suck? - a self-publisher’s guide to finishing your book - free just for signing up!