SPA Girls Podcast – EP80 – Busting Self Publishing Myths
We’re out to lunch today, recording in a café (so enjoy the ambience of the coffee machine in the background!) where we discuss all those myths about writing and publishing. Some we’ve fallen prey to; some we’ve debunked through experience.
You need to know everything about your story and characters before you can start writing. There’s a lot more you need to be doing as a self publisher. You’ll never “make it” without a big platform or great contacts. Sound familiar? Yeah, we’ve all heard them. And a lot more besides! But there is more than one path to writing success, and there’s no such thing as a magic bullet or “secret sauce” – so join us in the café and let’s do some mythbusting together!
Myth: My story must be unique.
Every story is unique because of your characters. Don’t get bogged down in having a new setting every time you sit down to write, or having something different to say. Your voice will be the point of difference. Don’t plagiarize, but there is no such thing as an original plot – so don’t panic!
Myth: I must know everything about my characters before I start.
This can be a great tool, but if you don’t have more than an outline, don’t let it stop you. Characters can evolve and grow as you write the story.
Myth: I am never doing enough in my self-publishing career.
Once you have a book published you have to keep updating and advertising, so make a plan. You are your own boss so make a list of what you are doing and see where the gaps are. Then you can make it fit your calendar of hours you can set aside for the writing and everyone else.
Myth: There is a right way of doing things.
Doing it well is the right way, but how you get there is up to you. Try to simplify things for your life. Make it fit. Accept that it is hard work, and give yourself some credit for all you have achieved.
Myth: If you write a good book the cream will rise to the top.
Chances are you will not be the next JK Rowling. Sorry to burst the bubble, and we hope we’re wrong. The fact is, there a lot of authors out there in the same boat as you, and they’re probably just as good.
Myth: Everyone will think I’m amazing, and they’ll buy my book.
Probably not. In a perfect world, it would, but sometimes it’s jealousy and sometimes it’s laziness, usually it’s that what you write doesn’t appeal to them.
Myth: I must publish every month.
There are other ways up the mountain of success without killing yourself. Do as much as you can, just make it the best you can do. Less books might mean your success takes longer, but if you do it right it will be just as important.
Myth: Writing faster means it will be rubbish.
Maybe, maybe not. A prolific author may be a good author, don’t judge and don’t compare if you are in a different space.
Myth: I need to know people in the right places.
Beware of sharks. A person doing well in your eyes, might not be good for your brand and may take advantage of your naiveté. Align yourself with people who see things the way you do, who are honest and trustworthy.
Myth: If something is expensive it is the best.
No way! Editing, covers, formatters have a fee. Find the ones you can afford and that do a good job. Ask for a sample of their work and check out reviews if possible.
Myth: I have to do all the courses advertised or recommended.
There are no secrets. What you need to learn to do your job – learn that. Everything else will come via forums and groups, unless you have money to burn. That’s not to say some of the more expensive courses aren’t worth it, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t afford it right now.