Ok, so I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for about a year now, and I figured I’d share my wealth of knowledge. Here is everything I’ve learned, in no particular order:
Yep, that’s it, guys. Thanks for reading, see ya back here in two weeks.
But seriously, some of the things I have learned:
You should always put your click-able Table of Contents at the beginning of your book, of course. Duh!
And, you should never put your Table of Contents at the beginning of your book, because when readers hit “Look Inside,” they should be able to jump right into the story, getting hooked, so they buy. Besides, if anyone wants to use your Table of Contents, they can always just click on it on their device.
(But in reality, once they are done looking at your book, they don’t really give a fuck.)
You should always have reviews and an excerpt in your blurb. How else is anyone going to know how good you are at first glance?
And you should never have reviews or an excerpt in your blurb, cause that irritates the hell out of people.
(Really? The placement of reviews is going to determine my entire career? Umm, nope. No one really gives a fuck.)
You should always have a small summary at the beginning of your book, so people who downloaded you months ago can be reminded very quickly of what your story is about when they get around to actually reading it.
And you should never do that, cause again, it irritates the hell out of people.
(Say it with me guys, who gives a fuck?)
You should definitely put your book in Kindle Select, because that is where the money is. And you should never put your book in Kindle Select, because you are leaving money on the table by not having your book available at B&N, Kobo, etc.
You should totally write pseudo-incest, because that genre is swimming in cash. But you should never write pseudo-incest, because it creeps people out, and no one will carry your book.
(You know the drill.)
I’ll stop, although I could go on FOREVER. The whole thing reminds me of that guy who finally wrote the manual on understanding women- it was blank. Here’s the thing- everyone is different, and you can’t please everyone.
I frequent a writer’s forum that is a wonderful mix of authors, in many different genres, all helping, learning from and fighting with each other. It’s awesome 99% of the time, although people do get testy. But even that is fun to watch.
Anyway, the other day someone asked one of those, ‘how do you get out of a slump when nothing is going right, and you can’t even give your book away for free because life sucks?’ kind of questions. I tried to help, by giving her my way of looking at things, but I think it just made her day worse. She responded to everyone else’s answer except mine. Oops. 🙂
I knew it was a risk to answer her the way I did, and I struggled with hitting ‘post,’ cause I am a people-pleaser at heart. But I truly wanted to help.
So here it is: (the word fuck wasn’t in the original post, because of their censors, but this version is how I really felt)
“Just know you are in good company. Everyone gets that way. And, this is either going to be very freeing or very harsh, but NOBODY GIVES A FUCK.
Telling myself those words breaks me out of my slumps.
I mean it in the very freeing way, not the harsh way. I don’t do harsh, I am the least harsh person on the planet. So, if there are two ways to take anything I say, take it the well-meaning way. I learned this early, thank God. I’m trying to teach it to my teen as well. NOBODY GIVES A FUCK.
That huge zit you fixate on when you look in the mirror, not seeing how awesome the rest of you is? No one else cares. They are just grateful they don’t have one. They probably don’t even see it. They see you, not the zit. Or they think, wow, sucky zit, and then they move the fuck on. You are not the center of anyone’s universe.
When your hair does that weird thing? Pull it back, no one else gives a shit, honest.
My favorite author waited five years, FIVE YEARS, to release a new book. Guess what? I don’t care. I’ll read it.
If this is my last post ever, and ya’ll never hear from me again, guess what? You won’t even notice. Nope, not suicidal. Nothing scary here, I promise. Just odd 🙂 Just a ‘we are all ants on this tiny little planet’ observation.
What the writer next to you does, doesn’t effect you! Their 250,000th sale, doesn’t effect you. Wait, is that effect or affect? Guess what, beyond the 2.2 seconds someone thinks ‘it should be the other one,’ no one gives a fuck.
Everyone cares about themselves. And that can either hurt, or open the entire universe up to your fingertips. (I choose the second one)
My kiddo heads off to face her day, depressed that her face is redder than normal. I tell her, you guessed it, no one cares. They are your friends, or your enemies, but no one cares if your face is redder than normal. They love you or hate you as is, regardless. Your red face won’t change anyone’s opinion.
Write what you want, revel in the sadness when you need to, revel in the joy when you can. Some will love you, some won’t. The ups and downs are inevitable.
Rant and commiserate. We do care. We feel your pain, not cause it’s happening to you, specifically. Hell, we don’t even know ‘you’. But cause we get it, we understand, cause it happens to us. No one looks closer at your successes or failures than you do. No one looks closer at my successes or failures than I do, cause guess what? Yep, you don’t care.
Run with that. Don’t write if you don’t want. Take a day off, take a year off. No one cares but you. Do what makes you happy. Write what and when you want to. Those that love you will find you. But not if you aren’t out there.
I write porn for God’s sake. No one cares if I ever put out another book. I will never be a bestseller, I will never change the world, I will never win an award, but I am happy, writing what makes me happy. If I stop being happy writing porn, you won’t care. If I go get a job at McDonald’s, you won’t notice. The world will rotate just fine, no matter what I do.
And guess what? Everything will be fine, no matter how it turns out!
Ten years from now you won’t remember what today felt like. You’ll either have ten years of work published, or you won’t.
That is so freeing to me. If I don’t hit ‘post’ you’ll never know I wrote this. If I do, some will take it the way I intended- as freeing and awesome, and some will think I’m an ass. But I can’t control that. So I carry on, making me happy.
So make you happy. People will buy your work, or they won’t. You can not control the sales numbers, you can only do what you can do. So let it go.
I know people hate the cliche, but it is what it is. You can not control the world, your sales, what others think about you, or damn near anything.
So be you. Write you. Be depressed when you feel depressed. Cry at weddings, laugh at funerals. Drink too much, be bitter when you must. What is that other cliche? You can only be you- every one else is taken. But revel in it, cause there will never be another you, not ever.
So write what you want, what makes you happy, cause no one else can. This knowledge gets me out of the slumps. I hope I just made your day better, not worse. I promise, better was my intent.”
That is what I’ve learned about self-publishing. It is a lot like life- no one gives a fuck about you, but you. I mean that on the grander scale, of course. I love my child, I do. Very much. But do I give a shit if she grows up to become a doctor or a bar tender? Nope, don’t give a fuck. I’ll love her and be there for her either way. It’s her life, not mine.
I’ve found that there are two kinds of people that emerge once they realize that in the grand scheme of things, they don’t really matter- those who find that terrifying, and those who find it freeing.
I find it freeing. Cemeteries are full of people who lived, loved, cried, laughed, tried to make a mark on the world, lost children, lost jobs, were happy, were miserable, were human. But do we, now, really give a shit? Nope, we care about us, now.
One hundred, five hundred, a million years from now, no one will give a shit if I wrote a book. Or not. Or even know my name. And I love that! It gets rid of the self-imposed microscope we think we live under, allowing me to do whatever I want, knowing that whatever I choose- no one else gives a fuck, but me.
So live your life, for you, cause you guessed it- I don’t give a fuck.
Oh, Shared 3- Our Anniversary is out now.
And Occupied! is free, today June 24, only, if you give a fuck.