Wednesday, November 25, 2015

7 Lessons from My First Year as a Published Author

I'm celebrating the one year anniversary of my first book, Enslavement, going out into the world. It's been a huge learning experience. I didn't have pie in the sky dreams. I'd done enough research to know that this is a tough business, however, knowing what's ahead and experiencing it are two different things. Despite all my research and effort to build my platform, there was still a steep learning curve. Here's a few things I learned:

  1. Perseverance is key. In the same way that I had to persevere to bring my book to publication, I have to do the same as I market my book. The marketplace isn't necessarily welcoming to first time authors. There is no formula for getting your book noticed.Very few authors experience instant success, so success is achieved over the long term, by working daily at getting your book in front of readers.  
  2. Importance of personal connections. Having your book on bookstore shelves seems like a key to success, but those shelves are packed with books. As a new author, I found the best way to get noticed is to make personal connections--networking, arranging signings, interacting directly with readers whenever I get the chance.
  3. Recognition of small victories. It's too easy to check Amazon rankings and get discouraged. Instead, I learned to focus on the positive. A great review. A friend who recommended my book to a co-worker. A reader contacting me on Facebook to tell me she enjoyed the book. My son, who isn't a big reader, diving into my story. 
  4. A perfect book does not exist. I found a typo and then I found another. Despite my publisher's and my best efforts a few mistakes made it into the final version. I had to let it go.
  5. Someone's else's book is always going to be better than mine. Other books win awards. Other books got better reviews. Other books racked up sales. It was easy to become jealous or to think my book didn't measure up. I learned not to go there. Competition is fierce and book love is highly subjective.
  6. Some people won't "get it." Every reader is going to process differently. That's okay. Some will see the depth of the story. Some won't. I like to think about all the books I've disliked over the years, that others have loved. Again, it's all subjective.
  7. The need to get more books out there. So, people liked my book and want more. I better get on that.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and hard-earned wisdom, Melinda!

  2. Well stated on all of the above. It's a marathon, not sprint. Keeping kicking! - AP Fuchs

  3. Hi there.. I had recently released my debut kid's book as well. It's been a month but I totally agree on the fact that new authors aren't welcomed so easily. I have yet to create à strong audience for myself. I will love to know marketing strategies you had employed for your book. Do share with us!!

  4. You clearly have a great attitude about writing that will help you go the distance in your chosen career! Best of luck to you in the future!


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