Eating humble pie… and learning from my mistakes.

I finished the manuscript for  “The Broken Road” on June 24, 2011. I was so freaking proud of myself. I had four great friends gush over it. So – I wanted to publish it. I first sent it to a online version of a famous romance publishing house – with no response. Well, seeing as how only 2% of unsolicited manuscripts get published,  I figured mine was in the slush pile.  I also realized, through a couple other authors, that self-publishing is a great way to have control of your own product, to get your voice heard in a sea of millions and to get more royalties. I needed to go about this on my own. I figured that since I’m a working mom of 3, what’s one more thing on my plate? I can kick ass doing this  too.

So I started editing, then quickly realized I am NOT an English major. I enlisted the gracious and wonderful support of a very dear relative who took the manuscript and edited it for me. However, my fabulous and loving relative was not a line or a copy editor, and I naively thought that a technical editor would be the same thing.  When she was finished, I thought I was the biggest thing to books since J.K. Rowling. I thought I was going to be rolling in the compliments, that everyone was going to love it.

I first published “The Broken Road” on July 25, 2011. Immediately, a very close friend that has been my sounding board for the last three years, called me and said,  “Dude – your manuscript is full of errors.”   AAAAAAAAAH! First attempt at success and already failing in the first 2 minutes. WTF.   My editor did a fine job with all the grammar and sentence structure – however, I failed to implement half of her suggestions (You know when you read something a million times, it glazes over). I f’d up.  I quickly changed it – and resent it out. I pimped that book out all over Facebook. And I have such amazing friends. Within two months, I had twenty people buy it. They all said that it was great.

So…thinking I am on my way to super stardom, I moseyed my way onto a writing forum, where the majority opinion of self-publishers were that the books were crap. One particular comment was that the writer failed at the traditional way of getting it published, so the manuscript must be riddled with errors or just plain sucks. That got my biscuits burning, so I argued back. I finally said, Here! Read mine.  That my friends, was my very first taste of humble pie.

I.got. RIPPED.  One comment was that I was priced too high for a new book, my character was whiny, the sentence structure was horrible, I was too descriptive and basically that the manuscript should have NEVER been originally published in the first place. They told me to take it down and get a real editor to look at it.

My heart broke and to be honest – I felt so. freaking. stupid.  No matter how much your friends like you – or love you – they will never be as impartial as the rest of the world. I felt like a failure. And to be honest – I almost gave up.  Two days later, thanks to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), I get an email about the Self Publishing Expo to be held in October, in NYC. At first – I was hesitant. I was worried if it was worth it, if I could afford it, etc.  I need to make the decision about this. Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, this has been my dream since I was little. Then I need to make the investment in my future. Because if I don’t, then I’m wasting my time.

Thanks to the support of my amazing and fabulous husband; along with some hotel points that I found (4 star hotel for $25!! OH YEAH!),  I made my trek to NYC by train. I had a great night with my girlfriend and her husband from the area. I had a great night sleep. I was pumped and ready to go the next morning for the Expo.

The Self Publishing Expo was SO. FREAKING. WORTH IT.  It was so informative. I met so many contacts and gained such a new perspective. I learned so much. As part of my fee, I got to meet with a literary agent, who thought my story would make a great Lifetime movie. She really enjoyed my synopsis.  I then met with an editor who was extremely excited for my story and would have loved to work with me.  And by happenstance, I met my now mentor and editor, Jessica on an elevator. The knowledge that I received and the contacts I made would have NEVER happened had I not gotten my head out of my behind and started investing in my product… and in myself as an author.

Why did I tell you this?? Because, my friends, I want you to get your big boy/girl undies on and kick some butt with some awesome manuscripts. If this is what you want to do.. then you need to invest in yourself. Don’t have $$ for an editor? Find a writing group. Freelance editors are less expensive then the vanity presses. There a million options out there.. just do the research. And don’t forget that behind every good writer – there is a great support system. Don’t give up. =)