I don’t often post about the technicalities behind writing. I am not a master of my craft, I don’t pretend to know one grammatical rule from another, nor do I have profound, life-changing advice to give aspiring authors. But the one truth I have taken from writing, is that there is very little “self” in self-publishing.
It takes a village.
I’m writing this on the tail end of a book release. Red Dirt Heart 4 came out last week, and has been a true success. In the first 48 hours of release, it was #1 on Amazon (gay romance) in SIX different countries. At once. That’s a HUGE feat, and I am in awe of the readers and reviewers who made that happen. <3
So how does someone get a book to #1??
I have no clue. If someone asks me how I got to have so many books ranked #1, I can only shrug. There isn’t one definitive answer. A good story? Characters people can relate to? A HELLUVA lot of luck? All three? I just don’t know.
But I can tell you what I do know. And that’s behind every book I’ve written is a village of people who have helped, toned, fixed, contributed, added, and enriched, to make each book what the reader reads. And I’d like you all to meet them.
Okay, so that’s a little Disney for me…
So, let me introduce you to them:
My Beta-readers / Pre-readers
I have some very trusted people I send my manuscripts to before anyone else. I finish the first draft and send it along for some fresh eyes to tell me, 1) if it sucks, 2) plot holes, 3) general suckness. LOL I need honest critique, and what they, as readers, see in my work. And they tell me.
Yes, I might write the words but believe me, if you saw them before Erika got hold of them, you’d probably throw your Kindle. Yep, not even kidding. Every page is a rainbow of correction colours to fix grammatical rules I just can’t seem to learn.
And this is a gross understatement, but I truly can’t put a value on the work she does to make me look good.
My Cover Artist
We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but damn, we all do. And I have been truly blessed to have Sara’s stamp on my books. I send some links to Sara of royalty-free pictures which I think suit the characters/setting, and she makes magic happen when she puts them all together. I can’t even draw stick figures, so how she does graphic design is beyond me. She is also a fabulous author! You can find more on Sara at her website HERE
My Support Crew (aka My Saving Grace)
Wow. The most invaluable part of my village, and the biggest. This is where I can rant and rave about my latest WIP, through the “OMG I can’t wait to start this awesome story” stage, right through to the “WTF am I doing?” stage and finally the “YAY! I did it!” stage. I can talk through plot problems, discuss relative issues and ideas, and gripe about the daily trials and tribulations of being a writer/wife/mother. We bitch, we whinge, and we laugh. We network, we help, and we encourage. And believe me, these people are the reason I haven’t had a major public meltdown yet.
If “my village” were an actual village, this is the house where there would be wine and chocolate on tap, comfy writing/reading couches, and a punching bag in the back room.
My Proof readers
Think of proof readers as the polishers. They tidy up any tiny little blemishes and make it all shiny and pretty, ready for consumption, and they are fab!
I am no marketing/advertising guru, believe me. I hate it, to be honest. I hate talking about myself, so taking a public stage to self-promote is difficult for me. Add in the fact that I’m super busy and incredibly lazy, and that’s where Will comes in. Pride Promotions runs blog tours, cover reveals, book blasts etc and have been a Godsend for me. I tell him what I want, and he makes it happen. 🙂
And all of this happens before the first ARC has been sent, before the first reader sees a cover on their ereader, before the first review goes live. Because that’s a whole other village of people who make my books what they are 🙂
So, as you can see, there are literally up to 15 people that make my books what you see. When you read one of my books, it might have just one name on the cover but believe me, there is a village behind it.