(Or Things I’ve learned As An Indie Author – Part One).
I dedicate this post to my Mother, whom I miss dearly. And Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day to all moms out there.
As a reporter, my mother had a major influence on my life, even when I didn’t realize it. However, growing up in the 70’s, there were things she never could have predicted or taught me, especially about today’s technology. So when I published my first novel, Stella’s Plea (2012) as an eBook, there were many thing I didn’t know. And there’s still a lot for me to learn.
Last week, I receive an email from a dear writer-friend I’d met at the Write to Publish Christian Writers Conference in 2012. Rebecca wanted to feature me on her blog. I never turn down these opportunities. And when people help me, I like to pay it forward. I prepared to write about what I’ve learned since I published my novel. But there’s so much to tell, I split the post in two. This is part 1. Wednesday, May 14, make sure you read Rebecca’s blog for part two, to find out the other amazing things I’ve learned.
Self-publishing has been quite a journey. Last week I signed up for two major (and free) challenges. One is a fifteen-day writing challenge where we receive a daily prompt, and must write between 50 – 300 words about it. As its name suggests, some of the prompts are challenging, but it keeps the brain constantly active and thinking. The second challenge is a 30-day “course” on book marketing, something that can be hard and quite demanding for those who don’t know what they’re doing (like ME when I started). Perhaps that’s why many go through a traditional publisher who will do most of the leg work for them. I wish I’d had this course two years ago because I totally lacked marketing savvy so the road was twice as difficult for me. But I made it. Why am I telling you about these two challenges?
Because I met many writers in the process who took an interest in my writing. Why is this so important? One of the MOST most valuable lesson I’ve learned on my writing journey is the importance of connecting with other writers.
Write to Publish, at Wheaton College, IL was my first major writers conference. Pictured above, top row, Pamela (L), Connie (C) and Susan (R), next row, Penny and Pam (L) and Doris and Domeniek (R) are some of the many fantastic writers I made strong connections with at this conference. I have many more pictures of that conference on my Facebook page. Most of us have kept in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and/or via email ever since. This year, I attended Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in Felton California, and again met wonderful and amazing writers and teachers. It’s an experience one simply cannot forget! While a famous author once told me writing is of necessity a solitary profession, I can’t help but ask myself: Does it have to be? I may write the book on my own, but I’ve had a lot of people ‘walk’ with me on my journey. These people have taken on several roles, a people with many hats, you might say. They became:
- Encouragers while I worked on my novel,
- Prayer warriors when I hit a few bumps in the road (writing and/or otherwise),
- Supporters when I neared publication,
- Promotional agents who spread the word around and helped me sell my novel.
Two years later, I’m still in touch with most of them and it’s my turn to encourage, pray, support, and share their new books on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Word of mouth goes a long way, and friendship is a two-way street. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain at a writers’ conference. I believe it’s where you acquire the most valuable tools as a writer. But don’t just take my word for it, go ahead, attend one of them. Your writing journey will never be the same. Now I remind you – again – to circle your calendar and visit Rebecca’s blog on Wednesday May 14, for part two of the things I’ve learned as an indie author. Until then, blessings. Renee-Ann <><