10 Things I’ve Learned about Publishing a Book!










In the past two years, I have self-published five books. Most of them are parenting/children’s books; however, I did release my first work of adult fiction this year. Each book that I released taught me a little more about the industry, my strengths and weaknesses as an author, and relationships with my friends and family. Here are a few things I have learned since becoming an indie author:

1. Writing the book, for most authors, is the easy part.

2. Some authors edit their own work, and do a great job. But I have learned that professional editing does pay off, and IT’S NOT THE SAME as general (or even college-level) editing. These guys know more about comma splices, fused sentences, correct tense, passive and active voice, and the use of single and double quotation marks than most authors. Most of them became editors because they enjoy the technical side of writing, whereas most authors simply enjoy the creative side. This is not to say that there aren’t some excellent author-editor superheroes out there. But chances are, they either received formal training on editing, or they took the time to research the process and became better with each book they published.

3. The cool thing about researching editing tips is, once you learn them, you tend to not forget them, which saves you time and money on future published books.

4. Most authors are too close to their own work, and too emotionally invested in it to be able to edit thoroughly. Many times it’s because they know their story inside and out, and tend to skip right past common errors – such as passive voice, proper tense, and omitted words.

5. Asking for reviews from friends and family is like asking them to help you move. They love you, and want to help, and even want to be able to come visit you in your new home from time to time (i.e. – read your book); but if it conflicts with their lives or schedule, it’s probably not going to happen.

6. Friends and family are not always going to tell you when your book needs work, again, because they love you.

7. Marketing is an everyday endeavor that most authors dread; however, the greater level of online presence and engagement you have, the higher your sales will be. And you will receive more reviews.

8. Success doesn’t usually happen overnight, but new connections that lead to success can!

9. Supporting others goes a long way in the industry. One hand washes another. Eventually, YOU will be the one with clean hands! Until then, you must keep digging in the trenches.

10. If writing is your dream, just keep at it. Passion tends to be an infectious thing…it eventually spreads to others. If you write what you are passionate about, eventually, you will find others who share your passion!


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  • Kathryn Chastain Treat

    Great insights Traci!

  • D. Ellis Phelps

    I have learned from agents and from experience that, in the abscence of an advance (& even then sometimes), Indie authors need a day job or a sugardaddy.

    I have learned that participating in a writer’s group (mine is all women who’ve been meeting for a decade) brings priceless support AND honest critique.

    I have learned that for an agent to ask for rewrites of your MS then keep it for more than six months, all the while remaining incommunicado, is neither fair practice nor ethical representation. But, it happens.

    I have learned that being with my audience, reading my book, watching their faces, their bodies respond to my story is absolutely worth having written every word!

    • Traci Sanders

      I agree with all of that, D! I’d like to learn more about your women’s wrting/critique group! Thanks for sharing your experiences:)

      • D. Ellis Phelps

        We are ten women of varying ages but all over sixty who are drawn together around mutual friendships and a love of writing. We meet monthly from 7-9:39 PM in each other’s homes. The hostess provides prompts and snacks! WE do timed writings from the prompts and read results aloud. Then those who have written and want to share read. We make no commentary except “thank you” or “I liked this or that phrase.”

        As one of us leaves the group (two have moved; two have died), one of us asks to invite someone we know into the group. We keep our “membership” at ten, honoring the intimacy that builds between us.

        First these women heard my book coming out in stages as I wrote, encouraging me to finish and submit. When the aforementioned agent asked for rewrites, four of these women read my MS, making comments & suggestions and correcting errors. I also hired a professional editor to do a line reading. That was pricey!

        These are the women who came to comfort me when George (the main character in my book based on real events) died. The came to my first reading of the book, bought books and asked for an autograph. What better love is there than this?

        As you might guess, their names are on the acknowlegements page of MAKING ROOM FOR GEORGE with the statement that the book would not have been born without them.

        • Traci Sanders

          Wow, sounds like an incredibly supportive group of women,D! You are blessed:) I’d love to find something like that in my area, but no luck yet.

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