You can see our spotlight of Suzanne’s book here
My Journey from Expert to Novice
An Indie Author’s Reflections
The name of my guest post is, “My Journey from Expert to Novice”. The time order seems to be in reverse, but it isn’t. The reason I say that is because I have spent the last twenty years standing before students in my elementary classroom teaching them the three R’s of reading, writing, and arithmetic. I perfected my strategies in each subject, particularly when teaching writing. I taught the children how to effectively use figurative language, how to “show don’t tell” by using imagery, and the finer points of proper grammar and usage. In my field, I am considered an expert and also serve to mentor new teachers when they join our school community.
Last year, my class attended an assembly sponsored by our school’s PTA. The presenter was a children’s book author who talked about how a book is created. She started with the pre-writing strategies she uses, moved through the entire writing process, and ended with the details involved in publishing. When we returned to our classroom, the children were all anxious to try their hand at writing. With a little encouragement and guidance, they all wrote books that we printed, bound, and presented to a class of first graders. To see the pride and excitement in their eyes was awe-inspiring.
As they read their books to their young friends, I thought about how thrilled they were. I’ve always been an avid reader, and it seemed like the time was right for me to try my hand at something new. I already knew a little about the writing process, and now I know a little more about the publishing process, too.
Being the perfectionist that I am, I did good amount of research before I began writing. I found tips about how to best structure a novel and how to create a good plot. Once I had an idea about the fundamentals, I set to writing. I had an idea of where I wanted the story to go, but at each turn, I found myself changing my mind, and as a result, completely changing the trajectory of the plot.
After four months of writing every night and on weekends, I finally had a finished product. My next obstacle was getting it ready for distribution. This is the part of my experience as an author that I was horribly unprepared for and terribly naïve about. I had so much to learn. I figured that a few weeks after my ending was penned, I would be submitting it to book sellers. I couldn’t be more wrong. The final part of the process took an exasperating three months – nearly as long as it took me to write the book.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon an online community of readers and book recommendations. Their motto is “The right book in the right hands at the right time can change the world.” I knew I had discovered gold. Sure enough, I found the help I so badly needed. I would post questions about cover design, and get nearly a hundred responses. I read posts by other indie authors and discovered the importance of obtaining beta readers and ARC readers (both were terms that I had never even heard of before). I found my book editor there, as well as the host of my book blog tour. People I had never met before became my greatest support and loudest cheerleaders.
Each step of the way, I would reach out to this community of book enthusiasts, and I would be rewarded with great advice.
My book was released on August 9th and in the first month, we sold two thousand copies. Now that our second month of sales are underway, sales are beginning to slow, and I’m struggling to find a way to get the word out about my book. Writing the book was so much easier than promoting it. It’s a learning process and I’m still struggling to find my way. I’m a novice in every sense of the word.
As I begin to plan for the second installment, I now face a big decision – continue the story of Jette and Evan, or explore one of the other relationships introduced in “Running Back to You”. Decisions, decisions!