Challenges I’ve Had as an Author

Over the weekend, I was honored to sit on a panel at the Great Valley Bookfest with author Margaret Duarte, to talk about challenges I’ve had as an author and how I’ve overcome them.

I thought I would share some of the things we talked about with you here.

  1. Writing – Writing is always a challenge. And those of us who tend to be perfectionists have a hard time “letting go” and just writing. Writing is also challenging for children’s picture book writers where you are faced with writing a book with a maximum of 500-700 words and every word you work into your story counts. I read the Nanowrimo book No Plot? No Problem! and learned the best writer’s advice I have ever received. It is super simple. Just write. Editing can come later.
  2. Publishing Decisions – Making the decision to take one route or the other is a huge challenge. On the traditional side, you may be faced with finding an agent, you may not have full control over your book, and trying to get your book in the hands of the right people. If you are a children’s picture book author, you need to know most traditional publishers won’t accept books that are already illustrated. All of these are huge challenges. On the indie side, you are the one in charge of everything and that can be overwhelming. My best advice here is to join writer’s groups that match your genre. If you are on Facebook in a group, search to see if your question has been answered. Reach out to other writers in your lane. I have had so many authors be willing to share what they have learned and I believe in paying that kindness forward. I didn’t mention this during the panel, but beware of the Vanity Press who want you to pay thousands of dollars for them to publish your book. If they are asking for money upfront, run!
  3. Business Decisions – Either way you decide to go, this is a business and you need to learn about business licenses, sales tax, websites, and so much more.
  4. Marketing, Websites, Social Media – If you want to sell books, you can spend money and have someone else do your marketing, etc. OR you can learn to do it yourself. I’m lucky in that I’ve had a background in marketing. But even then, I still have much to learn about the book business. Those writer’s groups and author friends you make will be very valuable.
  5. Events – Events are also a big challenge. I try to choose events that fit my books. For example, I have a series of children’s books that feature horses and kids. Those books sell better at events such as horse shows. The other part is the cost of events, I try to do some research, talk to event organizers, find out what their anticipated number of attendees, what other vendors are confirmed, is the event indoors (critical during winter because rain and books don’t get along), etc.
  6. Getting Reviews – Reviews are the lifeblood of authors. Reviews on Amazon can help readers find your books, they help validate and sell your books to readers, and so much more. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. I have added a page at the end of my books asking for reviews. When I am at an event, I ask the customer to consider leaving a review. It’s still hard but you can chip away at it.

If you have any questions on any of these topics, feel free to reach out. I will do my best to answer the question or direct you to a group that may be able to help.

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