The agony and ecstasy of self-publishing a book!

Let’s discuss the ecstasy first. You publish a book. Yay! Family and friends read it right away. Then a few acquaintances read it. Finally, a few friends of friends or acquaintances of acquaintances discover it. You receive glowing reviews. People tell you they love the book. Your writing is a success!

Thank God for those early readers, but family, friends, and acquaintances are a limited number. For many of us, that’s a very small number. Naturally, we want more readers. And more. And more. Think potato chips … or Junior Mints.

I confess my impatience. I want everyone to read The Brevity of Roses now … today … right this minute! Of course, that’s not going to happen. I don’t remember any of the self-publishing advice naming Patience as a required virtue. If it was mentioned, I must have glossed over it in my … um … impatience.

Now, we’ve reached the agony. You have a book you love and want to share, but have to wait for readers to find it. In my ignorance, I imagined that word of mouth would spark a firestorm of readers burning through the pages—and I imagined that chain-reaction would start immediately. Didn’t happen that way. Still, there’s hope because I know that people intend to read it. How do I know this?

A few people have directly told me they intend to read my book. I believe they will. Last month I gave away a copy of Brevity on Goodreads. Hundreds of people entered the giveaway, but I would be naïve to think all those people actually intended to read the novel. However, over eighty of those people also added Brevity to their To-Read lists on Goodreads. Will they all read it? I doubt it, though a percentage of them probably will.

Then I got a boost from Women on the Verge. Each month they select members’ books to highlight on their front page, and currently The Brevity of Roses is one of those. Every day since WOTV highlighted it, more Goodreads members have added it to their lists. Some of them will surely read it.

There’s no way to know how many people might have added my novel to their “want lists” at Amazon or any other online bookstore,  or even jotted it down on a to-read list at home, but I’m sure some have. On a good day, I imagine hundreds have done so … and untold thousands may do so from future promotional efforts.

These people are my eventual readers. These people keep my hopes up. These people—potential bearers of ecstasy—make the agony of having a published book easier to bear.

Patience.

13 thoughts on “The agony and ecstasy of self-publishing a book!

  1. Love it! I just found you on Cathy Yardley’s Rock Your Writing. I self-pubbed my first novel and, ironically, it got far more attention than my next novel, which was published with a publisher. I keep thinking it’s just too new, it hasn’t been out long enough, people have yet to discover it. I so understand your impatience… and am enjoying the discussion about the right reader.

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  2. Sort of two-in-one comment, this post and your last post …

    Patience isn’t my long suit. That’s mostly why I haven’t published any of my creative works. And, who would read it beyond family and good friends, that’s the other concern (a big one).

    Writing in my profession (analytical chemistry), that’s a completely different animal – it’ll be read by others but only if it strikes a professional interest with them. In terms of getting a paper published in a journal, it’s understood there is a formal process and it’s not always easy. It’s also a process I’m pretty comfortable with.

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    1. You know, fivecats, I always thought I was a patient person until now. I have no experience publishing non-fiction, other than these blog posts … and it was a surprise to me that anyone wanted to read them. Maybe you should take a chance with your fiction. 🙂

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  3. Your reviews are SO glowing and you really seem to be getting attention. I think it’s fantastic and I would not be surprised if it continues to snowball. Then one day I’ll be able to say, I knew her when… 🙂

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  4. Linda, I know EXACTLY how you feel, and let me tell you…it doesn’t change with traditional publishing, either. It has been a similar experience for both Cinders and Monarch so far – that patience thing and wanting more and more people to read my work. It’s hard to understand that reading can sometimes take a long, long time for people to do or get around to. For instance, I fully intend to read your book, but I haven’t even purchased it yet. There have been lots of reasons why, but I will get to it. People were like me with Cinders…they told me over and over they would read it, and now almost 11 months later, many of them have. Some still haven’t gotten to it.

    Patience.

    It’s a requirement.

    First and foremost, though, be happy and proud of what you’ve accomplishment and the rest will come in time. I truly believe the next best thing to do is write another novel and put it out there as soon as you feel ready.

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    1. Boy you are impatient, Michelle! Monarch hasn’t even been released yet. 🙂 I have a feeling it’s going to be read widely and word of mouth will spread rapidly. And yes, I should complain. I have a stack of books waiting to be read. There just never seems to be enough time.

      I am working on the next book now. In fact, I’ve been offline all day, so I wouldn’t be distracted from writing. 😉

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  5. Well done Linda for publishing your novel. It’s on order from Amazon as we speak.

    I self published a non fiction book – Suddenly Single. I followed all the guidelines, took it into the local bookstores (a few sold), gave copies to each of the local libraries, put copies in the branches of The Women’s Center (where I run seminars etc) and sold some through the self publishers book store. But not to rain on your parade, it was a long and harrowing experience. Not the writing but trying to get it sold. I eventually gave away copies to clients and now concentrate mainly on my blog.
    I of course, have other books started but the thought of that long, tiring journey to get them out there just seems daunting.

    I am looking forward to reading The Brevity of Roses.

    Judith

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    1. Thank you for giving my book a try, Judith.

      As much as I don’t want it to be, I believe the “long and harrowing experience” is fact. Or at least, I have to convince myself of that in order to work on the next book.:?

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    1. You’re welcome, Kimberly. I figure since you all suffer through me talking about myself so much, the least I can do is be honest about my publishing journey. 🙂 And thank you for letting me know I have another eventual reader.

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