Things I Learned from Publishing a Book


It’s hard to believe that is has been a little over a month since I self published, The Dallas Divorcee which by the way readers, please leave me some love on Amazon if you haven’t already!  I thought I would share some things I’ve learned from this adventure thus far although I am sure there will be many more things as I move forward with marketing and attempting to create more buzz around the story for Book Two.

However, if you have ever considered writing a book or are just curious about the process and subsequent fallout of self publishing-Read on.

People Won’t Like the Book Or You

Some people will genuinely not like your book, and honestly, it’s OK.  You aren’t writing for everyone or you haven’t been true to your story.   Some people will assume it is a book about you and your life and either hate the story based on that or ridicule a total fiction beach read as representative of your actual life.  I will go on record saying, “I WISH I had the money these ladies have” in The Dallas Divorcee! Is that saying I don’t know ladies who can afford this lifestyle-not at all, but the idea that a person can’t write a book about things they know and fictionalize the story is small and silly.

As for the people who don’t like you, do you really have to care as a writer or human? You shouldn’t.  People hate others because they can’t understand them or they want to be them.  I frankly don’t care which category the hostile haters fall into and until they have the balls to write a book, self publish and promote it, well, they can sit the fuck down. No one finds them that interesting anyway.

As a writer, you shouldn’t care about the haters either unless their behavior might make for good writing, and you can write about the commonalities in human nature in an honorable way and not as a way to hurt or put someone down.  If you aren’t good enough to write about the motivations of others without separating their deeds and the person, eh-you’re a jerk too.  Don’t be a jerk.  Sit on the situation and gain perspective.

Own your story-the good and the bad.  It is the best you had to work with and guess what, your writing and abilities will improve.  I tell people all the time–I hope to hit my stride by Book Three.

People don’t write and publish because they think they are the best thing ever.  I AM GOING TO REPEAT–PEOPLE DON’T WRITE AND PUBLISH BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY ARE THE BEST THING EVER.  People write and publish to connect with other people who might say, “Me too” either to the story, the writer’s sense of humor or the writer’s lens.  If someone doesn’t say, “Me too,” it doesn’t devalue you as a writer.  If someone is nasty about your story, well see above. Not everyone can do everything.  Let them go with peace and light-they were never on your journey anyway.

I Wish I Used an Editor

So yeah, I did all of this myself, and I learned several things.  Editing your own book is hard, very hard, regardless of your English Lit and teaching background-you need readers and eyes.  With enough support could you make it without an editor, yes.  Would your book be better with one?  YES!  Save the money and hire an editor.

I didn’t use an editor for a couple of reasons.  The main one-I didn’t want to spend the money.  Was it a mistake? Yeah-not because of my skills as much as what happened after the publish button was pushed (more on that later).  Was it the worst mistake ever?  No.  A worse mistake would be not publishing at all.  Not putting myself out there and taking the chance on a story bouncing around in my head long before many of these other divorce books, shows and movies ever saw the light of day.   I love all of them by the way.  They all offer perspective and help me be a better story teller.  I will be highlighting and reviewing some of my favorites in subsequent posts.

So my advice to you, dear readers, is yes, use an editor.  My second book which is due out this fall will be professionally edited.  I am looking forward to the process.

Be Careful How You Publish

So, I made the mistake of using the Kindle Self Publish for my paperback as well as my kindle version.  Why was this a mistake?  One word–BETA.  Traditionally, Kindle allowed self publishing for only digital and the paper back version was published through Create Space.  Amazon in an attempt to streamline their services has started offering paperback services through Kindle.  However, this option is still very much in Beta mode-as in beginning mode as in not quite seamless.

Here is where I found issues, and why I will use CreateSpace for Book 2.  One, Create Space sends a hard copy proof of the book for your approval.  This would have been very helpful in editing even my self editing.  Holding the book or mock up makes it much easier to edit, and it presents the book in a way that doesn’t translate from a printout.

Second, you can order books at cost through Create Space.  With Amazon paperback publishing, I have to order all my books at full price.  Yes-the author pays full price for the books that he or she can then turn around and sell, but it is a little silly and cumbersome not to be able to order your own title at cost particularly when you can’t gauge how many might show at a signing or how many you might need for an event.

Last, the printing integrity including words, etc. is much better with fewer mistakes on CreateSpace.  I found incorrect words that were a result of a computer scanning glitch with Amazon because they were not on my manuscript.  CreateSpace seems to have those kinks worked out.  So pay attention to how you publish and have your editor close at hand in those final steps as well.

Don’t Stop Writing

The only way to improve is to keep writing!  Find some writing friends to share pages with or don’t.  Keep your pages close and share with your editor only.  Either way, you are only as good as your last story, and if you are like me, you have plenty of stories to tell.

After your book is published, it is normal to hit a little slump and have a “now what” feeling or even a self confidence crisis as you might see a nasty review from someone who obviously didn’t even read the book (yes there are review trolls so do yourself a favor-DON’T READ REVIEWS).

Take a break, refresh and get back into the process!  Stick to your schedule and write EVERY day.  It doesn’t have to be your next book, and it isn’t a race to get to the next book.  The reason I have Book 2 coming out so soon is that I have been collecting ideas for years while I sat on Book 1 and even wobbled on whether or not to publish at all.  You may have poured everything you had into Book 1 and need more of a break.  Honor that!  I blog to keep my writing juices flowing, and it has been a lesson in discipline just to get back to regular blogging and engaging with readers.  I had forgotten what is felt like.  Give yourself time, but DON’T STOP WRITING!

So in sum, I’ve learned a lot since publishing The Dallas Divorcee. It hasn’t been easy nor has it been perfect, but it has been worth it!

Whether you are reading because you enjoyed my book, hated my book or are considering writing your own book, I wish you well on your journey and may you stay as true to your path as I hope to stay to mine!



About Jen Cross

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, I enjoy writing books about life in Dallas and relationships and their many ups and downs.
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