When I published Gorgeous in December I considered it a bucket list item and not a career move. Once people responded in such a positive way, it became apparent that I needed to take this seriously. So, I pulled my shit together and turned it into something with legitimate storefront appeal and competitive pricing. I also made some formatting corrections and additional copy edits to the text. The overall goal was to elevate this from a product people felt obligated to support to something everyone was excited to read for their own pleasure. The story and composition inside are both solid, it just needed a professional touch.
Professionalism, or the appearance of, is most important at this stage. It was getting down to the wire last year and what started as a bucket list goal became a 2016 goal. In my haste, I released a slipshod product. With a tacky DIY cover you can’t convince anyone, not even friends, that your book is worth their time beyond the loyalty that informs support. I certainly want people to buy and read it, but not as a favor to me. That’s not the right foundation for a fun reading experience and doesn’t lend itself to genuine recommendations.
Genuine engagement will always have greater impact on creators than support, especially when it comes to feedback. Feedback in response to my work needs to be unbiased, perhaps even brutal; I can take it because my main objective is to get better. I’ve moved past the bucket list phase of this endeavor and am currently in the “How can I improve?” phase. What will inform and power me through the next project is having a sense of how people are responding to the story, what characters they love or hate, the moment that made them gasp or vigorously nod in agreement, how long it took them to finish and if that had anything to do with my pacing or their own free time.
I came up with a Three Book Plan to sort out my next moves. The first task was updating Gorgeous with the new art and edits which, with any luck, will set me on a much clearer marketing path. The remaining parts of that plan involve experimenting with different self-publishing options and sales tactics. But most of 2017, I’ll be writing. What I’ve learned most these past few months is that it’s not enough to just be better than the worst. When your exposure to non-mainstream publishing comes in the form of a bar that often rests at deep sea level, it’s easy to get comfortable. I have a better understanding now of genre and merchandising. I’m more calculating and intentional about my choices. I understand I’m pretty good at the writing part but I still have zero plans to quit my day job.
Gorgeous is available exclusively for Kindle.