Ten Things I've Learned About Publishing a Book

Thursday, October 19, 2023
1. Everything takes longer than planned. (You would assume by now that I’d just plan on an hour to get something done, but no, that would be learning from past experience. Apparently, I continue to cling to the hope that whatever it is, I can finish in twenty minutes.) 

2. A Technology Glitch will occur at the worst moment. (Which may or may not have some bearing on anything taking at least an hour to complete.) 

3. It is possible to find any answer to any problem. (The trick is figuring out exactly how to phrase the problem. Specificity is the key! And um… perhaps swallowing pride and checking before wasting that hour in the first place.) 

4. Comparison is good, up to a point. (Comparing book covers to determine likes and dislikes in cover design turned out to be a smart move. But constantly comparing rankings, sales, followers or any statistic in which one might compare unfavorably, is not so smart, and steals all the good vibes. As a smart Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”) 

5. Investing in the product is money well spent. (Using professionals for the book cover and editing, plus buying a pro formatting program, definitely paid off in a superior product. The self-publishing market is jam-packed, especially with AI now pushing out books in a matter of hours, but it’s obvious, even to the casual eye, the books that have been thoughtfully and professionally designed and produced.) 

6. Marketing is harder than it looks. (Harder in a gosh-there’s-a-LOT-to-do kind of way and just when one thinks one might have covered all the marketing bases, oops! Something else pokes its head up, like those moles in Whack-a-Mole. Which brings us back to #1 on the list.) 

7. Friends and family can be surprisingly supportive. (It’s remarkably humbling when people support you so much that they’ll buy your book even if they have no idea what a cozy mystery is. Or if they’re not really readers. Or if they haven’t seen you in years or honestly, didn’t even know you’d been writing for years.) 

8. Never underestimate old-fashioned word-of-mouth. (It only takes one or two friends talking about the book in a group to start the ball rolling, so to speak. Before long, everyone in the group wants to be part of the excitement. It’s the FOMO--Fear of Missing Out—phenomenon at work. And it’s something to see! 

9. Reviews are a tough sell. (All kinds of folks will buy and actually read a book and rave about it—but find it intimidating to write a review. No matter how much you explain that giving stars is enough or writing a few sentences is fine, some folks just will not write a review. And then one must remember why one published the book in the first place.) 

10. Publishing a book is amazing! (And fingers crossed, you’ll remember everything you learned before you publish the next book!)


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Am so enjoying this book and your post. Although I would add . . .

11. No matter how well you plan, you will forget (something, fill in blank) and thus be rushed to get at least one thing done.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Thanks, Sue! And yep, #11, too. *sigh*

Renee Roberson said...

Am loving the book, Cathy! You know you've got a review coming from me in a few days. And yes, I can relate to your list, which I why I technically haven't published a book yet. I feel like I'm testing the waters with my podcast, though, and it's been a learning experience.

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