Carrie Butler, who writes at “HOW I FOUND THE WRITE PATH” is sponsoring a wonderful, pay-it-forward blog-fest campaign for an upcoming FREE e-book on self-publishing. Her method is to ask authors to write a letter to their pre-published self (you know, time travel and all that cool stuff) and will use those letters to create the advice book. I’ve accepted the challenge (since I’m always talking to my prior and future selves anyway.) Be sure to check her site (Clickety-Click here if you missed the link above) to follow the action and read the several other “advice-to-prior-self letters. She’s working with author P.K. Hrezo (found HERE) on this project. (And they can use this piece for their free e-book should they choose!)
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Dear I wanna be, didn’t believe I could be, now self-published author Dean:
First off, let me congratulate you on getting our first (hint, hint…there’s more, right?) book published. Even now when I hold our book, it seems surreal. We did this, together. Pretty cool, huh? But since I can look back at our journey, I want to share a couple of things so when you do this, it will be even more fun than we had…I mean more fun than you think it will be.
Now, let’s talk shop. It was amazing that the essays and poetry fell into place like they did. After a bit of feedback, you were smart to let the critique simmer before acting irrationally. In the end, you made the best choice by following the advice, with your own minor adjustments. Just prior to that time, do you remember that moment of impatience and sending the manuscript to the editor? I mean awesomeness that you found and paid for editing, but it was too early in the process. Better utilization of the editing software would have saved you a lot of time and effort in reformatting, fact checking, etc. as well. Think efficiency, not speed. Come on, you’ve got 26 years of government service. You know things take time. Publishing is often the same, whether necessary or not. Rushing won’t get you a better product. Remember, breathe every now and then.
And then the books arrived! (I know totally cool, right?) Think about this: how much money did you spend mailing out free copies, gifts, promos, etc.? I believe for cost considerations and efficiency, you should have done an e-book first. Sure, you couldn’t get the books on the New York or London subway systems right away, but they would have gotten there. You might have loosened the belt on our tight budget doing the e-book first. Let’s really consider that next time.
Boy, did you ever hit it out of the park with your early promotions! Nice job there, partner. Your plan was pretty solid and you stuck to the important parts and let other pieces go. Do you see how much there is to gain by asking the right person the right question? Doors flew open to places you thought improbable. Now look at your book: Placed in 7 different countries, on International shipping waters and more than 20 states. Trust me; I’m working hard to continue our book’s journey to new places.
Before we get too carried away with our congratulatory backslapping, let’s not forget this important note: Even with self-publishing, there will be many who say “yes” and for whatever reason, not follow through. Not everybody wants to help and they aren’t sure how to say no. Don’t take this personally. You can’t control what others say they will do. So stay focused on those things you can control, like learning more about self-publishing, generating more reviews, software capabilities, pricing strategies and such.
Having said that, always find one person you can trust. You need that extra set of eyes looking at your work from the outside without emotional attachment. He/she can provide feedback on your choices and bounce ideas back and forth. Two people would be even better. In the end, the final product is your work. Writing is a team effort. We still have too much to learn to go it alone (and we probably shouldn’t try that anyway.)
So let’s look ahead to books two and three. We can’t change our timing on those now, but if they were ready to go, their release could really generate a buzz for our work. Of course, they have to be top notch, which is why I’m still working on them. I believe (and we can talk about this more) it would be best to have them both ready to roll and plan their release within a month or two of each other. Say, sometime mid-August maybe, to coincide with our scheduled guest blog post.
Well, that’s it for now. For you, good job and again, congrats. You should be proud. For me, I’m back to the keyboard for re-writes and edits. August will get here before we know it.
Your biggest fan,
Dean K Miller
Author: And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete
Note: I give full permission for this post to be used in the ebook compilation without royalties and/or separate compensation.