#5 Things I've learned this year about writing!

It's hard to believe the year 2021 is drawing to a close. It's been a hard but ultimately rewarding year for me as a writer. In April, my third book was published by Black Rose Writing and I signed a contract to publish my forth book with them. I'm editing my fifth book which I'm getting really excited about. I've learned a lot about myself as a writer, the writing community and the world of publishing. Here's a few tips I'd like to pass along.

1. You can do it alone, but it will be easier to do it with your community.  I self-published my first two books. When I published Weave a Web of Witchcraft in 2018, I wasn't even on Twitter. Well, I had an account but didn't use it. When book two came along, I realized I needed help; with everything. Beta-reading, marketing, editing, book cover design, you name it. And you know where I found the help, the writing community itself. What a generous bunch of people. If you are a new writer or a writer looking for your people, head to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Yes, there are bad characters out there but there are even more great people, willing to help, just ask. I can't count the number of writers who have offered help, DM'd with answers, spoken to me over the phone or zoom calls. These are people I don't know, who made time in their busy lives to help me. Wow! 

#2 You can't edit your own book. Yes, there are some great editing software programs out there, heck I use ProWritingAid and love it. But it is just a program and doesn't catch everything. I recommend you do as much as you can to clean up your manuscript and then start sending it out to readers who know their grammar. Then, get an editor to polish your baby. Can't afford one? Try bargaining. Do you have skill you can trade. I helped my editor with book reviews and promotions for his book and he gave me a great rate. Again, it's all about getting involved with your fellow writers. 

#3. Getting a publishing contract isn't a guarantee of success.  This was a painful and disappointing lesson for me. I had high hopes for all that money that would roll in when I signed my contract. I'm not sure 'dribbled in' even cuts it. Most publishers place the burden of marketing directly on the author. Making money at writing is tough. It takes hard work and a lot of luck to make it in this business. Heck, getting an agent doesn't guarantee anything. If your agent can't sell your book to a publisher, you book is dead in the water. 

#4 Self-Publishing isn't a dirty word. Tons of authors are self-publishing. Tired of the endless game of querying agents and publishers, writers are taking control of their work. Before you decide to self-publish, do your homework. Watch YouTube videos, read help books, ask questions on social media, educate yourself about the process. Beware of vanity presses, they'll take your money and run. Set realistic goals and expectations. Realize that the chance of getting rich is slim and finding yourself on the NYT Best Seller list is probably not going to happen.

#5 Be okay with just being published. Learn to be happy with just being a published author. It doesn't matter what route you took, the big payoff is getting there, seeing your book for sale on Amazon. Wow, what a feeling. Holding your baby in your hands. Congratulate yourself on your success, you did it. If you make a few bucks in the bargain, good on ya! 

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