Hello it's Alyssa. So for this blog post I had asked youtuber and self-published author to talk Mandi Lynn to talk about her experience with self-publishing. Hope you enjoy!! Also check out her youtube channel, website and other social media that are below.
Mandi Lynn: What Does it Mean to Be Self-Published?
I’ve self-published two novels now, and through each one I’ve figured out, at least a little, just what works for my audience, and what doesn’t. For each person who goes down the self-publishing path, the journey is going to be different, and what works for them will be different. Essence and I am Mercy both had very different self-publishing journeys, and because of this I’ve been able to hammer down what works for someone like myself, who uses social media as their main marketing tool.
For today’s sake, I’m going to use Essence as an example. Essence took me three years to write because during those three years I was re-writing and submitting to agents. Unfortunately, it never got much farther in the process, but rejections from agents forced me to push myself to become a better writer. After three years without much luck I knew my novel was ready for publication, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be waiting around for an agent to pick up the novel, so I took matters into my own hands.
I found an editor who helped me through two more additional rounds of edits of my novel, so by the time Essence was published it had gone through ten drafts. Before I started the self-publishing process I had already begun to talk about my writing on YouTube and I also started doing videos on writing. With that said, I had a following growing that might be willing to read my book once it was published.
During the times that my editor had my manuscript I started to-design my website and make it more user friendly. I also had to think about cover design. While I could have hired someone to design the cover of my books, I not only didn’t have the money, but I was lucky enough to have graphic design experience. I’ve personally designed all the graphics you see on my website and on my books. And since I was already taking photos for the cover of my book, I took that time to film as well, turning that film into a book trailer that I could upload to YouTube.
Another important part of the self-publishing process was making sure the book had reviews. I made a list of YouTubers and bloggers I wanted to contact to see if they’d be willing to read my book and review it on their blog/YouTube channel. Some of those bloggers were also part of a blog tour that I had the first week Essence released. Starting the day Essence came out, my book was featured on a different blog every day of the week. This helped create buzz and excitement for the book. On my own YouTube channel, I began posting a video every day leading up to the release of Essence.
On August 1, 2013, Essence was released. I ended up having a private party at my house for the release and sold well over 60 books, not including online sales.
For Essence, the self-publishing process took about six months, and while those six months were stressful, it paid off. Two years later I published my second novel, I am Mercy, and I’m now writing my third novel.
There’s never an “end” to self-publishing. If you want to succeed, you have to keep going and keep pushing. If you want writing to be your career you can’t just write one book and be done. You have to constantly work at writing, leaning not only how to improve yourself as a writer, but also how to improve yourself as someone who markets themselves.
While I like to think of myself as “familiar” with the self-publishing process, I know I’ll never know everything, but I also know I’m always learning more.