What to remember when publishing a book
The checklist for the doubt
Before I published my first book I was terrified. I was worried that I would be scolded for the plot. I was worried that people would view me differently (and not in a good way). I was worried it would fail.
Then I had to remind myself of a couple things, and some of these I had to engrave into my brain to remember in order to keep myself from going on an ego trip or losing my humble beginnings.
Remember that it won’t be perfect.
I self-published my book, it was the option I had in order to keep my story from unnecessary changes from a vanity publisher. With the process of self-publishing my first book, there were some problems. Due to a program problem of transferring the files from different programs. I ended up with grammar errors. Everything that fixed was gone and there were additional problems. I spent a whole day chasing all the errors. Then after I got that done, I was published. I got have that excited feeling to be an author, a couple friends of mine bought the book immediately. When I got to see their copy. I was horrified to see that there were grammar errors I missed as well as plot errors because I did not have a proofreader prior to publishing.
It made me paranoid and ashamed that people are buying a book that has mistakes that I missed.
No one likes to be ridiculed, and there are people out there that thrive to point out a tiny mistake.
When I got my first batch of books in the mail that had a lot of errors. A lot of my grandfather’s friends wanted to buy the book. One of his friends approached me and became the first one to buy a copy. I got worried, I had to tell him if they were a lot of errors and he said, “Well that’s natural with the first writer, it’s not gonna be perfect but it’s still going to be enjoyable”. So that did give me a sense of comfort to not be too harsh to myself.
Eventually, a very laid-back friend kindly pointed out a few errors without making me feel bad. So gradually I got my mistakes fixed.
So it had me thinking, if you look at some of the books or screenplays for films that have reached worldwide acclaim. Most of those have flaws,yet they are still loved and appreciated.
So it’s perfectly OK if there’s one or two things that has grammar errors or a plot error because there is always room to expand and elaborate on certain points later on. Because in the moment that plot point might have not thought of for that chapter. So think of it as, it's not being fixed, it's been expanded. So people might be reading different versions of the same story. That's kind of interesting isn't it?
Remember that there won’t be overnight success
I used to and I’ll admit that I still think that my book will blow up overnight like some of the other success stories that you hear about like Ready Player One or Fifty Shades of Grey (That last one is not the best example but it is the only one I can think of for this).
I say enjoy these quiet moments. It'll be in the blink of an eye before you know it from the past life from walking down the mall by yourself to the life where people know your name and can't get enough of your literary works. You'll be bombarded for autographs and told how much they loved your book.
Your Instagram, Facebook, tumblr, twitter, TikTok, Wattpad will be flooded with messages about your characters, your inspirations, begging for future story snippets.
Remember that not everyone is a harsh critique
My first book, Inglorious Ink, dealt with tattoo artists as main characters. So I was terrified, and I kept thinking that I was going to be ridiculed and reprimanded for having a misrepresentation of tattoo artists.
To my surprise I never once did get a harsh criticism of that. People did take it as the fiction as it supposed to be.
We are our own worst critique. I still do it, I bet you do it, everyone does it. It's hard to not think critically of ourselves. But it is nice to know that there will be considerate people that will look beyond mistakes and trust the author's message is still there.
Remember to enjoy the potential
With the way that stories are expanding to be expanded, It’s best to see exactly how the route will go. I look at my story and I see possibilities that it could be turned into a comic book or a web series or television show or a movie.
It’s best to just let the story flow to your exact audience that would want to see it expand. It's exciting to see exactly how people will re-create your story. Tumblr gifs, fanart, quotes, anything to be made in honor to your book.
As creators, it's interesting to see how an opportunity comes up if we expand it ourselves and take the reins to bring it to a cinematic level or someone else wants the series to adapt.
Clive Barker wrote Hellraiser as a novella called The Hellbound Heart. He was the one that took the reins to direct the movie as well as his other works. Stephen King did the same for Maximum Overdrive (albeit Maximum Overdrive wasn't Oscar worthy material, but he did say he wanted to do it himself). Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting and starred in it. Lena Dunham, she wrote, directed, and starred in her own film Tiny Furniture and the show Girls.
Remember that it’s best to let it happen
As I just said in the previous point to enjoy the potential, It’s best to just let your story be enjoyed and it might take a while before your exact audience is found.
If the book is going to have a slow rise to success then it has to happen that way. It can’t be forced to happen.
Remember that your first book may not be "the hit"
I’ve only written one story while I’m currently working on the sequel to it and it has been a very slow climb to getting an audience as well as interest for people to read my book.
I see it as one of two reasons that right now it’s just not what people are looking for, it could be a year or five years down the line then it’ll probably pick up speed when people want a sketchy crime story. The second reason could be that this one just isn’t going to be what people want, and whatever stories I can cook up that might be the clincher for success.
Storytellers never run out of stories.
This is a stretch of an example but the video game Final Fantasy was the final try for a video game from the team that kept trying to make a successful video game. Hence why it's called Final Fantasy. They had no idea that their last attempt would be made into tons of sequels and praised.
Remember that it’s just the beginning
Everyone has a start somewhere.
Harry potter was written on a napkin, And then it became a worldwide phenomenon.
We Bare Bears was a web comic before a successful TV show.
Sometimes that beginning might take a while.
When I first started out writing, I already admitted failure before my book was even done. I didn’t think anything was gonna come of it even though it wasn’t even released yet, I already had a downtrodden prediction that it wasn’t going to be successful.
There will be plenty of time for success and sometimes that might happen later in life or might happen around the corner. The beginning doesn’t really have a certain ending in mind, that’s something that you’ll have to find out after you finish your story.
The beginning might be when you finish the book or might be when you publish the book. Then it all goes from there in the journey.
Remember that your audience hasn’t discovered you yet
There is a certain audience that is waiting for something like your story to come along. People that are very specific about what they are interested in. If you think about it there are a lot of different types of genres but specific sub-genres and a combination of those sub-genres. Some that have a nostalgic feel that people want with modernism. Over the years there has been certain trends within genres that people gravitate to. With The Outsiders that was a form of coming of age with a blue collar troubles. A friend of mine wrote a book called A Timely Revolution which is a sci-fi/history story, it's own special unique twist of two genres that still has a casual feel to it. Your book will be it’s own brand of special weird that you’ll provide for a reader.
And when your audience finds you, you'll be bombarded with questions, and gratitude for making your story.
I do hope this gives a sense of comfort for those who are doubting themselves as an author.
Please continue in your storytelling to provide for the world of fiction.