It was January 2022. The month that changed my life forever. Well, this chapter of my life anyway. By the end of March that same year, I hired my first illustrators, found an editor, a designer, and dove in. I read every book I could get my hands on about self-publishing. I didn’t spend much time on the writing process itself, since in the 1990s I had published four picture books with some of what we today call “The Big Five.” That was before my 20-year sabbatical, which you can find in About Me on my website. In late September, my first indie picture book—CECIL THE TOO SOLID GHOST was published, followed closely by SANTA CLAWS. Both books were seasonal and released way too late for their season. Or so I think now, since I didn’t sell a single copy of either book. Lesson #1.
Here are a few other tidbits I have uncovered in my whole six months as an indie author. First, and foremost, indie focus is on books for adults. Nothing had changed. It was the same when I published traditionally. A sort of “That’s nice, but when are you going to grow up and write for adults?” attitude. How many books do you think would be sold if readers hadn’t learned the love of reading when they were children? A personal peeve, since my passion has always been picture books.
My second worry came from reading all those how to succeed books. It took months for me to realize that most of these writers, who were selling thousands of copies, had been publishing for years. That’s when I gave myself permission NOT to be an overnight success. Tough, but doable. I hope.
Which brings us to the reason for this blog. I’m hoping, every two weeks, to discuss what I have found helpful—or not so much. And why. This is not a success story. It’s a story in the making. And most stories, happy ending or not, require lots and lots of redoes and editing.
The above book is my memoir, the book that led to my return to writing.