I try to support other authors. I do support other authors. I am in lots of Facebook children’s book groups and quite often people ask you to read and review their books. You can do promotions on kindle where your e-book can be free for 5 days every 90 days I think. This is a great way to get some interest in your book and hopefully get some great reviews. If people love your children’s book on kindle you have to hope they will buy the paperback right!?
Can you be Supportive and Honest?
But as I write reviews I am really careful to be honest and positive. It can be quite hard because a review can make a big difference to an author’s sales and they have probably worked really hard on their book. I don’t want to damage their sales in any way as it is just my opinion. I am really careful to write the positives as I see them and share with people what I particularly liked, even if something negative drew my attention. I won’t be negative for the hell of it either but if there is something that I think will be useful to people browsing the reviews than I want to add that in. For example, I just gave a review to a fellow member of a FB group, Sherry Selley, who has just self-published I Love My Toes. I loved the watercolour illustrations, particularly the splashes of colour and the detail and I loved the idea and the message. There were 2 things I noticed though, the text was in capitals, or at least some of it was, and there was a reference to a video game and my son is just too young for that yet. So I am not in any way criticising her book but what if someone commented on those things in my book. I would probably still feel a bit deflated. But I also know that people reading the reviews prefer honesty and can tell if you are not being honest. I gather that too many 5 star reviews can seem fake and put people off. So I gave it a 4 star review and said all the things I liked about it and just made passing comments regarding the text and the video game reference. I really hope that she appreciates the review and that I am being fair in providing an honest review in that way.
It’s Scary Publishing a Book
Putting your book out there in the world is scary and I know that because I am scared to do it. I admire the people with the guts to self-publish. I don’t want to upset or offend anyone. I want to clap and congratulate them for doing the thing. I also want people to be gentle with me when I release my first book, but I would never fake good reviews in the hope that I would get good reviews back in return.
If I want to do this I have to face up to this challenge and get my book out there, and not only deal with reviews but ask for them. I need reviews if I want to sell more books and I really want to sell my books. I want to do this forever. I want being a writer to be financially viable. I want to afford great illustrators and I want to be really proud of everything I put out there.
The Right Attitude for Self-Publishing
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (a book I probably mention in every other post) is the go to when I need to put my big girl pants on. I need to embrace the whole experience, accept the process, know that none of it really matters anyway, remember everything passes… I am doing this because I love it. It’s all just part of life and living. I am writing an article on a writer’s mindset as I use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and part of staying sane as a creator who exposes their inner workings for criticism is having coping strategies, developing healthy core beliefs, being self-aware, utilising your support network and having faith in yourself.
All great theory but we are all human right so I may still get someone else to read the reviews first and prepare me for anything negative! What’s the point of using up energy dealing with negative stuff if I don’t need to?! My husband can check them first and give me a reassuring pat on the back if I need to brace myself for a hater. Seriously, make it as easy on yourself as you can. Prepare yourself for the good and the bad. Don’t believe the hype any more than you believe the haters. Work hard, hire the right people to support you, do your best.
Even writing this, putting this blog out into the world, is daunting. I barely tell anyone about it or share any of these articles on my social media. But I am still doing it anyway and I am building up my skills and my experience. And one day I will put this stuff out there in the world and ride whatever waves come my way.
The proof copy of my first book, I Am, is on its way to me right now. If that is ok I will be sharing more things and will actually start saying I am a self published author rather than an aspiring children’s author. That’s pretty darned exciting!
As always, thanks for being here and thanks for your support.
Speak soon, Anna x