I am an author. Of course, you already knew that because of my blog title, and it’s going to be one of the two main themes here. I haven’t published yet, but . . . on April 23rd, 2018 (two days ago), I finished my very first novel! This novel took me SIX YEARS to write. Granted, only the last year was actual dedicated writing time, but still. I know of other people with jobs, school, kids, or other important things who have written books in less time. Regardless, I still finished, which is something I really didn’t think I could do. I mean, I’ve never finished anything for myself in my life! I got a degree, but that was mostly because I felt I had to, and I ended up hating it.
I am an introvert. You already knew that, too. It’s the other big theme on this blog. Why? Because I’m hoping to help others like myself navigate their way through publishing and self-promotion by sharing what happens to me along the way. Writing a novel is hard in and of itself, but the hardest part for me is what will come next.
When the glorious day comes that you finally get your manuscript finished, edited, and ready for publishing, it’s a whole other ball game. Now, I haven’t edited yet, but once it’s ready for publishing . . . it’s not just you and the page anymore.
If you go the traditional route, it involves finding an agent and publisher, potentially being turned down many times before getting picked up. Then, it’s the readers and critics. If you self-publish, you skip the process with agents and publishers (depending on how you do it), and go straight to the readers and critics (if you’re lucky enough to accumulate a significant amount of either).
I was originally very pro-traditional route, because I thought they’d help with the thing I feel I will be worst at: marketing. However, after reading up on it, I’ve realized that no matter which way you go, you’re going to have to market yourself. If you get a good contract, you might get lucky and have a little included, but unless you’re already fairly well known, don’t bet on it.
So, now I’m leaning towards publishing my novel myself, because without the marketing included, there are quite a few cons to the traditional route. I’m sure I’ll end up going over what I’ve learned about both in another post, but today is just an introduction to me.
I am new to this. By “this” I mean the publishing world and social media for self-promotion. Sure, I have had a Facebook off and on for personal use, and I use Snapchat to see the latest pics from my friends and family, but that’s different. From what I’ve read, agents and publishers want someone who has a decent platform, even before they’ve written anything, and promoting yourself in self-pub is a given. Articles on this stuff all say I should have had a Twitter, Facebook, blog, website, Instagram, and email at least a year or more ago. I just created them last week (minus a website and Instagram).
It sounds absolutely exhausting. The social media alone feels like it’s going to be a full time job! It’s not just the time spent on these sites that has me nervous, it’s the pushing myself out there part that I don’t like. I wanted to be 100% anonymous, hidden safely behind an agent, and now I can’t be. I like people, but I am not good at “selling myself” or anything else. At one of my sales jobs, I would immediately offer the lowest discount price, even before they asked for a discount. Why? Because the original price seemed way too high, and I knew we were still making plenty of money. How can the worst salesperson in the world do well at selling the most important product (themselves)?
Honestly? I don’t know yet. I might very well fail at this whole platform thing, but I have to try. I want to write novels for a living more than I can express, so I have to shove my fear down and just do it. I’m sure I’ll stumble a lot along the way, but that’s ok. Maybe you’ll get a laugh out of it.
I created a pen name (K. Leigh Boulanger) to make it easier to distance myself from my work, and created a Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and this blog. They don’t have much to them yet, but I’m determined not to let my fear get the best of me.