Friday, November 18, 2011

My First Birthday Published

It was around the time this picture was taken I wrote my first story. It was published in the school paper, The Castlewood Times. It wasn’t very long, a few sentences strung together but I was quite proud of my accomplishment.

The little girl in that picture looked at the world with fresh eyes, wanting to know everything about everything, anxious to discover and bursting at the seams with anticipation. She believed there would come a day when she would know everything there was to know. There would be nothing left to learn. She would be that wise. No one told her that wasn’t going to happen. And even if they had, she wouldn’t have believed them.  

There are times in our lives when we stagnate, as though we have reached the pinnacle my little girl self thought she would attain. Then we try something new, stretch out of our comfort zone and we are in awe of how young and alive we feel again. And though we may look in the mirror and not see our younger self, that aura surrounds our being.

That about sums up how I feel on my first birthday as a published author.

My learning curve has been steeper than steep these last months as I dove head first into the world of self-publishing. Every day has served up something new.

So far I have learned:

  • A review or personal note from someone who liked your story, loved your characters and thinks you are a talented writer can set one floating on air for the rest of the day. 
  • Readers discover aspects of your storytelling that will surprise you.
  • People find it very inspiring when you actually do what you have said you were going to do.
  • Some people want you to fail and will continue to point out all the ways success, as an independent author is more difficult than if you were published by a legacy house.
  • More people want you to succeed.
  • Walking the walk of creating change instead of just talking about it makes me a better coach for my clients.
  • I really like being interviewed on the radio!
  • Traditional publishing is trying desperately to hold on to its “elitist” attitude. It trickles down to unexpected places like non-corporate blogs that won’t review your book because it is “too hard to vet self-published books.”
  • Everyone is quick to point out all the not great indie stuff being put out into the world, but not so quick to point out all the not great traditional stuff sitting next to it.
  • People on the “inside” of the traditional world know very little about what is happening in the world of self-publishing. I attended one event where a panelist from inside this bubble announced with 100% certainty that if you published on Kindle you gave them your rights and couldn’t publish anywhere else. (Note: This is SO NOT true.)
  • People adore their Kindles but they are still buying print copies too.
  • Having a sales and marketing background makes this much easier to navigate.
  • Staring at my revenue data trying to wish a higher number reminds me of my ad sales day. (Note: this practice does not sell more books)
  • Amazon and Barnes and Noble reviews, Tweets, Facebook recommendations, PR pitches, and connections do.
  • That just about everyone says they always wanted to write a book and want to know how I did it. (Hint: First thing is you have to write, every day.)
  • That help and support comes from unexpected places.

Do I feel differently, on this, my first birthday officially published?

Yes. Remarkably younger, yet as accomplished as I did that day The Castlewood Times published my story. Maybe even a tad more.

And please, no gifts...okay if you must, then buy a book, or two or three. They make great holiday gifts for your friends and co-workers. Reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble are good too, as are Facebook posts and Tweets to your tribe! 

The Secrets They Kept is now available for sale on AmazonBarnes and Noble, iTunes and other on-line booksellers.


Ted Kelly said...

Really, Really well said Joanne, You really captured the essence and energy of continued growth, learning and doing! Great writing, Great book and wishes for a Great Birthday.!

Queen Anne said...

I had so much fun reading your birthday blog. I learn something every time and in the most pleasurable way. Happy Birthday and Congratulations on the many accomplishments of this year!

Unknown said...

Thanks Ted and Anne for reading my blog and for your wonderful birthday wishes!!

heliotrope said...

Very true about the snobbism of traditional publishing. What they miss out on is what you're talking about here: an author's passion. And author's dedication and responsibility about getting her book out. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

Suzi Banks Baum said...

Happy Birthday dear Joanne, I love your posts and your thinking. Congratulations on writing a wonderful book that stays with me, there are scenes that just come in to my mind during the day like favorite moments now. I really enjoy living them in my mind over and over again. Love and hugs, S

Myne said...

I am self-published too and I couldn't have said this any better. Happy birthday to you and I wish you more books to write and more sold.

Unknown said...

Thank you Myne!