3) Having a social media platform is necessary (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogging, etc...), but I've learned to choose wisely and have fun with it. I don't have to be on every social media site (heaven forbid), but creating a fan base is hard to accomplish if I have no way of letting people know I exist. I enjoy my Facebook Fan Page, and I used to like twitter (not so much anymore), but Instagram seems to be the new big thing and I think I like it.
4) There is no magical marketing button. Marketing is hard. Super hard. What might work one time doesn't always work a second, and sometimes when you think you've got it figured out, you get blindsided again. The only thing I've really learned when it comes to marketing is to keep trying new things. The more creative the better.
5) Sometimes, a book's success it's just a matter of luck and timing. Seriously. The book of mine that sells the best is the one I've marketed the least. Go figure.
6) The more quality books I have in my catalog, the better. I wasted a lot of time trying to promote and sell my very first book and feeling depressed when it didn't sell as many books as I'd hoped when I should've been writing. With each new book release, my back list sells better. Writing more books is the best marketing there is. The best advice I've been given is: Don't worry about the first book. Concentrate on writing the second. Once the second book is published, write the third and so on and so on.
7) No matter how many people edit, proofread, check for grammar and misspelled or missing words, there will ALWAYS be typos. I used to be a snob before I published anything and would stick my nose in the air and be like, "Ah-ha! There should be a comma here. I can't believe this book went to print with a missing comma! " Tisk-tisk. Now, I've been humbled and realize just how difficult it is to produce an error-free book. I try. I try REALLY hard (ask my alpha reader, beta readers, editors, and proofreader). Still, mistakes happen.
8) Every time the same book is read by a different person, the story and experience changes. Book reviews have led me to this truth. I've been called a genius and I've been called an amateur. What one person will deem to be an exceptional treasure another will call poop. Stinky poop. I've learned to write for myself, do the best I possibly can, and allow that to be enough.
9) I no longer read reviews. It's too hard. One negative review can wipe away all the good feelings a dozen good reviews once invoked. Writers are doubtful creatures by nature and negative reviews feed that doubt. I've decided to stop feeding my own doubt monster. Besides, it's impossible to please everyone (see #8).
10) Other authors are not evil. This writing business is not a competition. It isn't them against me or me against them, and I wish EVERYONE would learn this. We're in this together and we need one another. For the most part, authors and writers are kind, generous, helpful, and supportive. I don't know what I would do without my writer/author friends. My success is based solely on my own effort, not anyone else.
11) Plans change. I once had an agent. A literary agent. Yeah, can you believe that? I hardly could believe it myself. Then the publishing world was turned upside down and my literary agent decided that being an agent no longer worked for her and she quit. I had a publisher. I had a publisher for three years, and I wouldn't change that experience for anything, but what once worked well at one time no longer does. Just because it's comfortable doesn't make it right, and my gut said it was time for a change and to try something new. Now, I'm a free agent. I'm on my own, but that doesn't mean my ultimate goals have changed. The plan has changed but my end goal has not. I will write books. I will publish books.
12) Writing is hard. It's not for the weak of heart, that's for sure. Some days writing will come easy and the words will spill out like a torrential flood. You'll feel cool and as if you've got this whole writing process down. Then you hit a wall. No words come. All ideas seem stupid. You watch a lot of Netflix. But it's only temporary. Writing is like riding a roller coaster and at some point, you WILL throw your hands in the air and yell, "Weeeeeeee!" once again. If writing novels was easy, no one (including readers) would appreciate the process at all. Anything worthwhile doesn't come easy.
13) I love to write. I love creating something from nothing and falling in love with my imaginary characters. There is no better feeling than holding a book I sweated over, cried over, and battled the muse to produce. It's the ultimate high for a writer. When that first box of freshly made books arrives on my doorstep, I become like a five year old on Christmas. It's this feeling that keeps me moving forward, writing more stories, and publishing more books.