My Self-Publishing Journey – Lesson #1: Finish the Damned Book Before Setting a Go-Live Date

Adventures of Lauren, a self-published author - Lesson 1: Finish the damned book before setting a go-live date

Today’s guest blog comes from the incredibly talented L.L. McNeil, author of the Linaria epic fantasy series. She released her first novel Moroda, and the sequel, Palom, is available soon. This is the first of five blogs she published at llmcneil.com

I’m a published author. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Self-publishing has always been a lifetime goal and now I’ve actually done it! (Getting published was always the dream, but doing it myself was quite the experience!)

I guess my next goal is to get the remaining books in the series published – so only another five novels to go!

I’m also a self-published author, which had never been my intention, but actually made more sense for me when I did my homework (you’ll see I didn’t do as much as perhaps I should have…) given my background in marketing.

“Self-published author” still carries a stigma. Mostly due to the fact publishing an eBook is super easy, so Amazon is saturated with crappy, unedited, unprofessional books. It muddies the water for those who put a lot of effort into polishing their valued gems before putting them to the masses.

In this blog series, I’m going to talk about five things I learned (and mistakes I made) on my journey. Not to mention I’ll do differently for book two!

Procrastination Demons

Look at all these projects and papers I haven't started

Like 99% of writers, I suffer from procrastination demons. Best way I can slay said demon is using the weapon of pressure. When I’ve got a deadline, I’ll scramble to get it finished. In a mildly panicked state, of course, but it’ll be done.

Originally, I’d set X date to get the book published, but when when the date rolled round, typically I’d not done a single thing.

So I gave myself another deadline of a month or two. Again, the date would appear and I’d be no closer to finishing the book, much less completing edits, proofing etc. The problems with self-publishing!

Deadlines, A Double-Edged Sword

I'm not a procrastinator, I just prefer doing all my work in a deadline-induced panic

So I pulled my socks up, set up a profile on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) site, and entered the book’s details. I uploaded my draft manuscript knowing I could update it before the go-live date, and selected a release date of 1 April.

It seemed a reasonable deadline.

By that point, three editors had been over the first half of the book. I just needed to finish the second half and thought I had plenty of time. Self-publishing was working for me!

It turns out the demon evolved and bore down on me; I put off editing the last few chapters because of… well… reasons. Amazon emailed me to remind me I had to update the manuscript no less than three days before the go live date (which was almost on top of me), and I went into “do ALL the things in a deadline-induced panic” mode.

I raced through the final chapters, adding in character development and trying to sew up gaping plot holes where I could. I worked with my final editor, sending a chapter a day and receiving amends the next morning.

It was brutal.

It would take me anything from four to six hours to edit each chapter (giving it multiple passes), and I kissed sleep goodbye for those final, hurried weeks. Editing for six hours after being at work nine hours all day is not fun. Remind me again why I chose to go for self-publishing?!

Result: I’m not as happy with the final product as I would have been otherwise. Rookie error.

Lesson: Finish the book and final edits before setting a release date. Block dedicated time to write and edit WITHOUT FAIL so the procrastination demon does not arise.

If you want to read the rest of the blog series and discover more about Lauren’s journey, view L.L. Mcneil’s blog on her website.

 

P.S. I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to get in touch: lauren@llmcneil.com.

P. P. S. If you’re interested in grabbing yourself a copy of my novel (adventure fantasy!) then you’re in luck!

You can buy Moroda in paperback directly through my website.

You can buy Moroda as an eBook through Amazon.

Read the book? Please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!

You can catch Lauren at Gamesfest 2017 in Tring on 21 October as a guest author! She will have plenty of copies of her novel, #Moroda as well as an assortment of book swag! If you’re in Hertfordshire, come down and enjoy!

 

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