A year ago my world was so different than it is today. Like with all passage of times, most of those differences are things I never expected. So many of those differences revolve around my experiences publishing and promoting Modern Persuasion. I’ve explored about how different things are in other posts. Today, it’s time to focus on what I learned and how it’s impacting my choices with Phi Alpha Pi.
So, this time last year, you might recall, I had a publisher and I had just learned the original timeline for my book was being pushed back. We were in discussion about a new date. I was also trying to get a response from them about Phi Alpha Pi. What I didn’t know what that finances were bad and in a few months I would be doing this with the support of friends, family, and people gracious enough to offer their help. Decisions were made to keep things on schedule. I learned how to design a cover in a few weeks and how to publish in a month.
There were so many mistakes made in the three plus years that I have been working on Modern Persuasion. I made assumptions that turned into mistakes. I learned lessons as a novice that resulted in mistakes. Mistakes are part of this process and when I decided to continue moving forward with Phi Alpha Pi, in the middle of publishing Modern Persuasion, I decided to learn from those mistakes.
First, I learned I needed to have more eyes on the text. Not only more eyes, but a mix of perspectives. The mistake I had made with Modern Persuasion was assuming my publishers would do this. I still made mistakes with this. I had an editor review it before beta readers. I decided to hire a final editor to make sure all the gaps were covered. I’m very likely going to do this again for Missing Auggie next year. I’ve hired one editor already and plan to do beta readers first, but I will still hire the copy editor/proofreader before I finally publish the book.
Second, I learned to let someone make the cover for me. I was willing to work with a cover designer for Modern Persuasion. When I learned the publisher had been designing my cover herself, I decided to just follow her lead and my feedback to continue the work. Is the cover bad? No, I love the cover! Is the cover great? No, but it’s good, especially considering that I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I couldn’t design the next cover myself. I played with a few ideas from custom photography, but realized I wanted the cover illustrated. I knew this required a paid illustrator and I took the year to find the right person.
Third, I learned where my money is best spent on marketing and promotion. There are so many ways for me to promote any book. It spent thousands of dollars trying to find the best way. While it’s not a perfect system, I have learned what doesn’t work for me. I suspect I will still make a ton of mistakes with this, but my goal is to not spend as much money this year. That or have a bigger impact with the money I do spend.
Fourth, and last, I learned how important and difficult formatting is. Last year I limited myself to using Microsoft Word, which did the job, but not that well. I knew I needed to either pay someone or learn Adobe InDesign. When I published A Little More Modern Persuasion, I mixed together a few options. I did continue using Word because I was struggling with InDesign, but I paid someone to do the ebook formatting. Right now I’m in the middle of formatting Phi Alpha Pi and I’m trying it myself again. I have a better grasp on InDesign, so I think I can do it. I do realize that, if I can’t get it done by mid-March, I might have to pay someone to do it. If I can figure it out, I will be re-formatting Modern Persuasion because I want those text messages to look right.
I’m excited to see if my lessons lead to a better novel and what I’ll learn from publishing Phi Alpha Pi.