East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

10 things I learned self-publishing 101 ebooks

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Buscafusco: Fun & Games is my 70th self-published ebook under my name, my 101st self-published ebook in total. It’s been a long run, and I do not see an end of the track: I’m striving to get more of my material published traditionally, but I will always be an author/publisher, for a number of reasons we’ll maybe discuss another time.

Right now, I thought I’d like to do one of those bullet-list posts that my personal gurus say are great to attract people on the blog.

1 . Writing is a lonely business.

It’s you, sitting in a room, making up imaginary people and writing down what they do. Most of the people you know will not understand or care for what you are doing. A lot will not understand why you do it. Can’t you just get a regular job like anybody else? So it gets lonely. Maybe it’s because of this loneliness that authors like so much presentations, lectures and meet-ups with the readers. But these are just a momentary relief, at best.

2 . Small things will come that will save your life.

Personal messages from readers that want to say thank you, requests, sometimes even small gifts. They are the sign that your made-up people and their stories have reached someone out there. This is good.

3 . You are your only competitor.

If writing is a challenge, it’s you against yourself. The story you are writing now must be better than the one you wrote yesterday. It’s OK to envy more successful colleagues, but they are doing their run, you are doing yours, and you will never meet.

4 . They will tell you you will fail.

Often. Repeatedly. You are not doing it right. You are writing the wrong stories, in the wrong way. You are marketing them in the wrong way. You are talking to the wrong audience, using the wrong platform, failing at communication. You have the wrong friends, the wrong publisher, you are not in the right team. You can’t be a team player. It will be a disaster. You’ll never make it. Nobody can pay their bills by writing.
They will tell you that.
Talk is cheap.
But you are a writer.

5 . Never tell them how fast you are.

A fair share of the reading audience can’t tell quality. But they can get their knickers in a real twist when they find out you can write a short novel in a week. They have been told the good ones don’t do it. They have been told that quality equals suffering. So if you’re fast, you can’t be good. Even if they like what you write.

6 . Your aliases will always sell more than your real name.

There will be people that will praise your work when published under a pen name, and laugh at the work you publish in your name.

7 . You’ll find out people love your hack work.

That story you wrote in two nights and sent out to pay the power bill, the one you were seriously ashamed of. The one with the glaring holes that haunt you to this day? That one is your all-time best seller. Bummer, uh?
So maybe it was not that bad after all.

8 . Don’t be afraid to try.

Try new genres, new styles, new characters. Use aliases if you are afraid. Diversify. Quantity and diversity are a good thing.

9 . It’s all right to bribe yourself.

Nobody is ever going to give you a prize, so you can as well award yourself a piece of chocolate when you finish a chapter.

10 . Always use the best tools for the job.

It’s not a matter of how cool you look while you do the work, it’s a mater of how easily and comfortably you do it. It’s a job, not some kind of cosplay.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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