Lessons Learned

I began self-publishing back in 2013 with the publication of my first book, Daniel’s Fork. As a fledgling author, I was navigating unknown waters without map or compass. I was naive and full of false expectations, listening to any advice I could get from people who knew even less than I did. Needless to say, I made many mistakes, and I had a hard time recovering from many of them.

I had no real grasp of what the writing process required. Lord Peter Whimsey (famous fictional detective by Dorothy Sayers) once complained that people often said they would write a book if only they had the time to sit down and write it, as if sitting down was all it would take. I was one of those people!

To benefit from the experience, mentorship, and peer review of my betters, I jumped into the exciting and energetic social networks, joining Facebook writer and review groups, going on endless Twitting campaigns, and learning all about Cover Reveals and promo blogs. It was an exciting time, and one which taught me many valuable lessons.

My peers read and critiqued my work, often giving me conflicting opinions. This was anxiety producing because I was convinced each one knew so much more than I did, and I would often rush to change whole chapters based on advice received. For example, one author told me I had too much description. I needed more dialogue. I spent weeks re-editing and adding dialogue.

The next reviewer said my work had too much dialogue and read like a play. I needed more description! Back to the drawing board I went. One “editor” I paid to edit a novel added hundreds of commas to my work and changed every “eye” to “orb,” and “blue” to “azure.” I had to explain to her the rules of comma usage; not every comma is an Oxford one. I also insisted my character did not have azure orbs.

I soon learned to learn from the right sources. I learned reviews are subjective, driven by the reader’s character. I learned it takes more than a college degree to make an editor. I learned Amazon does not put your books in front unless you are already a best-selling author. I learned editing programs give suggestions; they are incapable of knowing the exact intended use of the word.

The most valuable lesson I learned is that because my books are self-published and my property, they are not set in stone. I can do whatever I want with them: publish them, unpublish them, lower the price, raise the price, give them away for free, change the title, change the cover, etc. Unlike traditionally published books, they can evolve!

Using the lessons I learn, I make changes to them over the years. When I make changes, I upload those changes to my seller sites and make them available to all previous buyers. But, I also can make more dramatic changes, the equivalent of a plastic surgery overhaul. I am currently doing that to my Vampires in the Mist novella series.

Writing a novella series was an experiment I approached with much enthusiasm. At present, there are six volumes in the series. Because of the length of each volume, eighty to a hundred pages, the price must be very low. The low price makes it impossible to profitably promote each volume.

Hoping to make the series more profitable, I have decided to merge it into full-fledged novels. The first three volumes have been re-edited and merged into the first novel, Rose and the Vampires. The second three volumes were merged into Rose and the Witches. These are not boxed sets; these are seamless, re-chaptered, stand-alone novels.

The individual novellas (Once Chosen, Veil of Mist, A Raven for a Crow, etc.) will no longer be available for sale. They have been unpublished from all sellers. If you own them, do not buy the new books. If you kept from buying them because you do not like the serial format, these new novels may be just right for you.

Warning: the series has strong sexual content, taboo topics, and scenes of violence. These are not for younger readers or adults who want clean and wholesome novels.  

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