Any time I talk to a new person about the fact that I write books the inevitable question always pops up. How did you get started doing that?
Well, in truth, I suppose you can say it all started with an idea. I am full of ideas. I’ve been writing poetry and short stories for as long as I can remember. So, when I had this crazy idea to write an urban fantasy story. I took the idea, the first couple chapters, and a loose outlining of notes to one of my friends. I had written with her before, years ago, and we made a good team bouncing ideas off of each other. So, we started hanging out on Saturdays and lunch breaks from work (we worked for the same newspaper), slinging ideas back and forth and writing parts to the story. Almost a year and a half later, after both of us had moved to different states (her because she got married, me because I was getting a divorce), we managed to finish our book using Google docs. Birthrights was the first full length novel I had written from beginning to end, and I owe its completion, to my then writing partner – Jennifer Oliver. She pushed me when I would have just given up and not finished the project.
It was April 2011 when we decided to e-publish the book ourselves. We had fleshed out a few notes, knowing that the first book would eventually be part of a trilogy. And from there, I was on my own, because Jennifer’s life was just too stressed with living in a new place, work, a new husband, and everything else to get into another book. I made the cover, uploaded the book, and it started selling while I began writing the next one in the trilogy.
That first publishing experience taught me a lot. I learned how to format an e-book. It also taught me that editing your own work is far more difficult than you would think. And I would later discover that hiring a professional editor would be the biggest key to continued success in a self-publishing market. For those of you interested in e-publishing, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have someone who knows what they are doing go through your work and give HONEST critiques!
I still had a lot to learn about the whole world of publishing, and I definitely learned through experience. I put out two more novels in 2011, both written without a partner. I ended up publishing the follow up to my first novel, Revelations, and a young adult paranormal book, The VooDoo Follies.
I walked into 2012 knowing a bit more about the world of self publishing, having now sold hundreds of e-books and a handful of paperbacks. I also had more confidence in what I was doing. I will say that the one thing that has made this whole experience absolutely amazing are the other authors I have met along the way. When I didn’t know how to do something, all I had to do was ask, and there were so many people willing to help out. It truly is an amazing community of people. On a final note, I am going to leave you with the top things you should know before publishing…
1. EDIT EDIT EDIT… As a self-published author, I can’t stress this enough. Independent authors get hammered all the time for failing to properly edit their books. We get raked over the coals, even as major publishing houses slack off on their editing of e-books. It is the one area you really don’t want to neglect. The readers have no qualms about putting your lack of editing into their reviews!
2. Book covers… they are so important! Sure, everyone says you can’t judge a book by its cover, but damn if they don’t do it! The very first thing that will either draw a person in or send them breezing past your book is the cover. Make it count. Even if you have to pay a cover artist, trust me, it will be money well spent.
3. Formatting… I have received compliments on my book formatting, so I will tell you know that I use a program called Jutoh for all my e-book formatting needs. It is a very easy to use program, and I love it. There are freebie programs out there that do basically the same thing, and I hear people love them. For me, Jutoh was worth the expense. And readers HATE to get into an e-book only to have tons of blank pages, or paragraphs beginning half way down a page, and odd font changes through out the book. Attention to detail is important every step of the way.
4. Have fun and get to know your fellow authors, because as I said before, they have been the best part of this whole experience for me! They hold a wealth of information at their fingertips, and most are more than happy to help guide you along the way as well.
My writing adventure is still just beginning and I can’t wait to fill in the rest of the chapters! I hope you guys all come along for the ride. For those of you who are writing – I wish you the best. For everyone else – Happy Reading!
You can find out more about Christine M. Butler, her books, and read some of her book reviews for other authors on her website
Please click HERE for a full list of Christine M. Butler’s books and links to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com