Ten Tips for New Authors: #1

I’m going to be writing ten tips for people wanting to break into publishing their own works. While I went the self-publishing route, I believe these tips are universal, and I hope that people find them useful.

#1 Don’t expect to get rich quick.

This is my number one rule because, I think, with the advent of Kindle, nook and other e-readers, there’s a myth going around that if you publish a book you will instantly have thousands of sales and can quit your day job. While I would love to say that is true, it is not.

Most of the published authors I know, self-published and traditionally-published alike, have a day job. Why? Because writing doesn’t generally make much money. There are some exceptions, and they are making enough to survive. But unless you are one of the 1% that strike a chord with the world readers, or are incredibly prolific and can produce four or five high-quality works each year, or get lucky and somehow end up on Oprah’s reading list, then get a day job and write for the fun of it, not for profit. At least for now.

If you are considering self-publishing your works, it is true is that sites like Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble make becoming an independent author much easier. Yes, you can now self-publish your books and have as much exposure to the public as Stephen King. But you still have to do the marketing, and you still have to write a quality book. And don’t forget about fans. It takes years to develop and cultivate a fan base; the wonderful folks that actually shell out hard-earned cash to read about the worlds in our heads.

There are a few exceptions to this rule; Amanda Hocking and Victorine Leiske, for example. I’ve read their works and they deserve the fans and praise. They are not only great writers, but incredibly wonderful people. I’ve talked at length with them both and I loved every second of it because they were genuinely interesting. But their rise to stardom took countless hours of self-promotion and they hit a great trend while it was hot. They are the exception, not the norm.

When you set your expectations right at the start, everything else flows so much better.


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One thought on “Ten Tips for New Authors: #1”

  1. What? This isn’t the road to instant riches and world wide notoriety? (Mopes) I need to find a new gig!

    In all seriousness, it does seem that the people who were singing the praises of house flipping five years ago are now talking about self publishing as a way to bolster the check book.

    Eventually they’ll wander off in search of greener pastures and the real writers will still be churning out more books.

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