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I get emails daily asking me for advice on writing a book and publishing the traditional way or self-publishing. I have made a list of those frequently asked questions and also added links to other similar FAQs from successful authors who started out self-published and then straddled the traditional published fence the way that I do.

 

Q: “I’m writing my first book. Do you have any advice for me?”

A: Finish it first. Then let it sit a week or so and go back and read it. You’ll do some serious rewrites. Then choose some close friends who read a lot and have them read it. Ask for their honest, brutal opinion. Then do more rewrites. After you’ve completed this- read it again. Then if you are happy with the story hire a professional editor. Hire a cover artist (covers are important. Trust me). And more importantly do your research. Don’t just throw your book out there and assume it’s going to become a bestseller overnight.

 

Q: “Did you build your author platform online before or after you published your first book?”

A:  I wasn’t an author before I wrote my first book. I was a writer working really hard to become an author. I studied successful authors and watched what they did online. Once I had a book available, I started slowly building my social media. I didn’t expect anything to happen overnight and it didn’t. It took me a good year to even start making a real living at this.

 

Q: “Will you beta read for me?”

A: No. I really wish I could. I cheer on any new writer out there. But my schedule is packed. I have no time to read for anyone. I love to read. But when I get a break from creating I read books for relaxation. Not for more work. Beta reading is work.

 

Q: “How did you get critique partners? I need some.”

A: I didn’t get my first critique partner until I’d written my third book. The author read The Vincent Boys and contacted me. It was an author I admired and we slowly became friends and sounding boards for each other. These kind of relationships are built over time. Finding someone who is where you are at that point in your publishing career is what you’re looking for. They aren’t too busy and they are looking for the same thing.

 

Q: “Can you give me advice on marketing my first book?”

A:  This is a loaded question. Everyone finds his or her own groove in the marketing world. For me, I interact with my readers. Daily. I give them teasers and excerpts on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook page. I try to stay active as much as possible online. That is my marketing plan… visibility. I don’t pay for other types of marketing. A reader’s word of mouth is the best marketing plan out there.

 

Q: “Do you suggest I try to get my book published the traditional way or self-publish it?”

A: This is not the same for everyone. Traditional publishing takes more time. You have to find a literary agent and the market is intense. Then you have to hope your agent can get you a publisher. Again… stiff competition. This is not a fast way to quit your day job. It takes years.

Self-publishing also has its cons. It takes EXTREME work on an authors part to make their self-published book successful. But if you are willing to work for it and not give up then making this a go can be fulfilling. I did this and then got my literary agent and publisher. But I proved myself first. Everyone’s time frame is different. Your first book may be a massive success or it may take you six books to get that first USA Today bestseller or ten books to get that first NYT bestseller like it did me. I write fast so this was within a year’s time. It doesn’t work that way for everyone.

 

Other authors who have excellent advice on publishing:

 

Jamie McGuire author of New York Times Bestseller Beautiful Disaster.

See her advice here http://www.jamiemcguire.com/faqs-backup/

 

Amanda Hocking (if you don’t know who this is then you are really behind on your research. You should study this author before you even attempt to self-publish a book.)

See her advice here http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/2011/02/pretty-much-everything-i-have-to-say.html

 

Elizabeth Reyes author of the bestselling Moreno Brother’s series and 5th Street series

See her advice here http://authorelizabethreyes.blogspot.com/p/frequently-asked-questions.html