November of 2017 will mark the second anniversary of me pushing the very exciting ‘Publish’ button on this wonderful Amazon KDP portal and introducing my first baby Abhaya to this world! Exciting would be an understatement to describe the journey that followed! Here are the 8 things I learnt since then.
- One book seldom gets you anywhere – The first book gets us, aspiring authors rid of that annoyingly lingering ‘aspiring’ word from our bios. But persisting through multiple books is when we really prove our resilience and love for words! This was not an empty lesson I learnt. Avishi, my second novel, in its launch month, garnered readership that Abhaya garnered in more than 6 months! Now that was some learning!
- Being an author, especially Indie author is a lot more than just writing. We would all love to zealously guard our writing time. But being my own publisher taught me what else goes into producing a book (Editing, Cover design, Synopsis, pricing, promotion and what not!). I learnt to outsource some activities and before that, identifying reliable providers who would do a good job.
- Thy name is Multi-tasking – 23 months down the line, I don’t have the luxury of just focusing my energies on my first book. I am marketing my first and second books, editing the third, writing the fourth and even plotting the fifth! Of course, there is this matter of focus. But juggling the products in progress in each stage of production is something we need to be prepared for.
- Social media is NOT a distraction. If only we had a control on when to use it and when to resist it. Social Media and Ecommerce is the one channel that supports your against the lack of conventional supply chain support that the traditional publishing industry enjoys. But learning how much time to spend on which platform was an exciting journey by itself! I learnt that building readership online happens long before our books come out.
- I am my own Publicity manager – At least until I earn enough to hire one! And that is some time away. Being shy of self promotion earned me nothing but frustration and a loss of crucial mileage in the initial months of launching Abhaya. We all know books spread by word of mouth. But our own mouths are the very first source of the word!
- I can’t afford to be that reclusive introvert – Gone are the days when being a writer meant to shut out yourself from the world and write. (I doubt such a period even existed except in imagination in the first place!). Networking means everything. I learnt to remain grounded while aiming high from other authors. I am learning what worked for who and why. All because I go out and talk!
- Love words? Love numbers too! – I am lucky to have been an analyst before my writer’s avatar. The love for numbers stayed with me and now it helps me measure the effectiveness of each activity. What is the word count I could manage per day over the last six months? What is the ROI on the time and money I spent on Social media? When to expect tangible and when to be content with intangible results? What caused the spurt in sales and what caused the slowdown? Loving words helps you be a writers. Loving numbers helps you be your own boss.
- Growing is sharing – I learnt to scoff at a myth that perpetuates from the mediocre segments, “Don’t share your secrets!” Because, genius, there are no secrets and no short cuts! There is only learning and powering on! Learning happens only when you share your inferences with another and test your conclusions. Learning happens when you try to help those behind you to catch up with the distance. As Joanna Penn says, there is no competition, only co-opetition. Karma is real. Open up that mind and share your wisdom!