At a recent holiday fair I met an author who has several fiction books to her credit. I know plenty of nonfiction authors who are self-published, but rarely have I met as accomplished of a fiction author as my guest blogger as Leandra Martin.
I asked Leandra to share her insights into the challenges a fiction writer faces. Leandra pulls back the curtain on this one.

The three things I learned as a self-published author
Marketing is hard. The self-publishing process is easy. If you are fairy adept with a computer, you can pretty much master the publishing process in a day or two. Once you’ve published several books through whatever site you choose, you can crank out a book in your sleep.
Marketing is the difficult part. Knowing where and how to get your books noticed takes research and trial and error.
If you have the money to spend, then there are many places you can go online where for a price, you can get a handful of people to review your book, or present it on their website.
If you don’t have money, you have to remember that sometimes it just takes opportunities to be among the public, wherever that entails, and meeting as many people as you can. Touting yourself and your work shamelessly, in the grocery line, at the used book stores, at your kids high school, is not unheard of.
Next, don’t be surprised if many people have a not so nice picture of what self-publishing entails, and when I say that I mean, most people have a per-conceived notion about a self-published book. “Oh anyone can self-publish so I’m sure most of them are garbage.”
They of course don’t stop to think that there is quite a lot of garbage which is published every day at the big publishing houses, mostly because they already have a name out there and not necessarily because the book is any good. In short, a book picked up by a publishing house isn’t necessarily good, and self-published books aren’t always bad. You could be missing a gem with that attitude.
Thirdly, fork out the money where it counts- editing and cover design. Uploading and formatting the interior of a book is the easy part. Editing your own work is a bad idea. You can look over your work a million times and never catch everything.
You start to memorize the words and your eyes slip right over things because you’re not really looking at it the tenth time around. And if you are not so good with grammar or punctuation, absolutely hire an editor. Your readers will be much happier.
And hire a really good graphic designer to do your cover and spine/back cover. Paying someone who will make your book jump out at people, with a design that fits the image you are trying to portray with your storyline, is golden. People may say they don’t judge a book by its cover, but you’ll find that’s not true at all. The book with the most attractive cover will draw the reader’s eye first.
Leandra Martin was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts. From early on she was a book worm, reading anything she could get her hands on, but her biggest love was fantasy/science fiction, such as the works of David Eddings and Roger Zelazny. As a child she wrote a couple of children’s books, but knew that writing a novel was what she wanted to do. She received an AA degree in Broadcasting/ Communications, spent a few years in radio, and participated for many years in community theater. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband, two boys and their blue eyed canine named Jett.

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