This is the first in a new series of blog posts documenting how to succeed with self-publishing. They will follow along as I do them and also be my story of how I did it. I hope they will help others succeed too, as well as providing me with a record of what I’ve done.
At the moment I have completed first drafts of two novels and have started outlining the third. One of those completed drafts I have hidden away and the second I am leaving for a few months before editing it. That will be my task for early 2019. I plan to self-publish my first novel in 2019 and then hope to publish a book every three months. For now that is my plan, though it may alter as I see how it works in real life.
I want to self-publish first because it gets my work out there quicker – there’s no delay with agents and publishers. Also because it means I retain creative control of my story and everything surrounding it.
Step One: Writing
Of course, the first thing you need to do in order to self-publish is to have something to publish. So you need to write. How you do this depends on what else you’re doing. Have a good look at your schedule and find time to fit in writing. Ideally every day, but certainly regularly. Then you can gain momentum and forward motion in what you do. This doesn’t have to be lots of time, though the more the better. There’s a great book on “Write a novel in ten minutes a day” (available from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and bol.com) that shows you how even small bits of time add up when you’re consistent in doing it.
Now, writing a novel is hard, and a huge task. So finding a way to hold yourself accountable – group, online, friend, writing partners, buddy, etc – can really help. For me the 365 Challenge run through the 10 minute novelists group has been instrumental in supporting me to write as much as I have. And the 365 Challenge for 2019 is currently open. So if you’re interested sign up before the end of November. NB You do need to be a member of the 10 minute novelists facebook group in order to join.
To start with I found it helped not to worry about what I was writing. Everyone talks about developing a voice when you write, and the best way to do that is to write lots. Learn how to put words together, and what works for you. And don’t forget to reward yourself for achieving sub goals. A novel is a large project, so celebrate every step on the way.
One thing I struggle with is having a place to write. Most of my writing is done on the dining room table when I’m the only one in the house, or when the children are asleep. This means that I am always tidying all my papers away and getting them out again. I am really looking forward to having a desk to myself, where I can leave everything out for when I come back to it. So if you can find a corner that’s dedicated as your writing space.
Many people have their own rituals around writing. What do you do to get into the mood? I make sure I have a drink and something to eat within reach, and often light a candle. When I am struggling with what to write next I will stare into the flame to relax my mind. After a few seconds I can normally come back to the screen with new ideas.
And if you don’t want to write then try some of the ideas in my post on what to do when you don’t want to write.
Good luck! I am excited to share this journey with you!
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