Copyright © 2018 Eric C. Stever
Like me, you're on the outside looking in, when it comes to the world of publishing.
You've written for a while, and your critique group probably likes your writing (except for Shirley, she never has anything nice to say). You likely have published a few short stories or articles, and may even have completed a novel or two.
And, I'm going to bet, there's one story in particular that is going to be your BIG NOVEL. That's your BABY. That's the one that's going to break out (even if you haven't written it yet).
That's where I was this past June at the Wyoming Writers' Conference in Dubois, WY. I sat in a meeting with an agent at this year's conference, and I was stumped. "Tell me about your platform," the agent said.
"Well... I have an email address," I joked. Whoops. Wrong answer.
That question encapsulates two problems for the unpublished author. You're supposed to have a platform, some ability to reach your target readers. But you don't want to self-publish your BIG novel, because you're trying to find an agent, then sell it to a traditional publisher.
So how do you reach your target readers without giving away your novel?
Self-publish your short work.
Whether you are seeking an agent/publisher via the traditional route, or interested in starting an indie career, self-publishing your shorter works will only help to build your readership. Here are the benefits:
Ideally, you can offer a short story or novella related to your BIG novel. A prequel or side-story will give readers a taste, and entice them to buy the novel.
But even if you don't have a related work, the story you publish will still provide readers with a good sample of your writing. And, this process will teach you valuable publishing skills .
What skills do you need to publish a book? Oh, only several hundred things. Imagine trying to learn all of those skills, while releasing your big important novel. It will overwhelm you.
And how do you deal with a overwhelmingly complicated event? One method that humans have invented is to practice (which is helpful). Another method is to worry constantly (not so helpful). A third is to throw it all into the wind and see what happens (fun! but risky).
So think of these short works as practice publishing. You break down the process into concrete actionable steps that you can handle, then try to accomplish each step. Like me, you are a horrible and useless person, so you'll screw it up at least eleven times. But it won't matter, because it's just a short work, and you can fix it as you learn. The secret to self-publishing is to make mistakes quickly.
Your first release may work out, and you may hit the right readers and sell 1000 books your first day. It's more likely you'll fall flat on your back, the book will plummet, and you'll have no idea why. Wouldn't it be better if you made silly mistakes on a novella? If you really screw up, you can always remove the book from Amazon, or use a Pen Name.
But if you never practice, how do you expect to get good at it?
In my next blog post I'll explain exactly what steps you need to take, and how to achieve your dream of publishing a book in 120 minutes. For Free.
See you in 2019! Eric
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Copyright © 2018 Eric C. Stever. Please don't reproduce without author's permission.