Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to welcome R. M. Garino for a guest post.
R. M. Garino is the author of the fantasy book The Gates of Golorath (Chaos of Souls #1) and has kindly written what I think is a fascinating guest post on the things that he has learned since he published his book.
Guest Post: 5 Things I Have Learned Since Publishing
It’s been a little over a year and a half since we published our first novel, The Gates of Golorath. As the second installment in the series enters the final stages of production, I’ve been ruminating on the things I’ve learned on the journey thus far.
Actually, I just like creating lists; organizing and codifying information so that it fits into neat little compartments. I tell myself that I make more space in my brain that way. So, here are five lessons I’ve learned about self-publishing.
1. You are not as good a writer as you think you are.
Back in February 2017, we uploaded our book, and sat back thinking, “We got this.” I say we, because while I might write the actual words, it is my wife who ensures they make sense and sound good. She read this right before you did. Say hi. We’re a team, even if she’s a bit shy. Trust me, she waved. Anyway, the process of self-publishing is simple enough. But, we discovered, there is so much more to it than just pressing a ‘publish’ button on a website. First off, we realized my writing skills were good for a hobbyist, but I needed to step it up if others were to read our work. The first version of Gates was self-edited, and after internalizing the feedback from readers (which can be an entire category on its own, and just missed admission to this list), we decided to have it edited. Oh, what a difference a professional makes. The sentences were corrected, and my work was ripped to pieces with all its flaws laid bare. As we sewed the chunks back together, I discovered that I was reassembling myself as a writer as well.
2. You cannot put a book up and walk away.
There are so many peripheral jobs you take on as soon as you hit that button. The marketing, the networking, the social media platforms, the different marketplaces, the scheduling of related content and projects. There is no way this is a one-person job. This is where my wife comes in. Thanks darlin’. I had day dreams of what an author’s life would be; writing a few hours every now and again, and then amusing myself with all my hobbies. Wrong. Uh-uh. No way. Sorry. Writing is work. It takes time to create the first draft, polish it, rewrite it, over and over again, and finally releasing it. And once it’s up, there are all the headaches and mild dramas associated with maintaining it. Checking those Amazon numbers every hour can become an addiction if you’re not careful. Tweaking your keywords, your categories, your ads – it’s exhausting, and expensive. Which leads to, yes you guessed it…
3. Writing / Publishing is a full time gig, but it requires a full time job to subsidize it.
Don’t quit the day job. The balancing act of financing your more ambitious projects (like professional editing and audio books) versus giving yourself more time to write the next book, as well as live from day to day, is a constant stress. How do you pay for everything discussed in points 1 & 2? You work for a living, that’s how. And when you come home at the end of the day, you grab a seat behind the keyboard, regardless of how tired you are, and start your second full time job.
4. Familiarity breeds contempt, but only in some.
The people in your life will surprise you with their reactions to your new career. This is not saying anything bad about anyone, but rather, just making an observation. I think there are three types of readers when you start out. The first group are those who are behind you 100% and ready to go as soon as they hear about your book. They want to read it, tell the world about it, and help you in any way possible. They’re great, and a ready-made source of both encouragement and support. There are others, however, who think you have a cute hobby, and when pressed, might agree to get around to reading it… someday. That, or they just don’t want anything to do with it; “I don’t read,” or “I don’t read that genre.” You’ll love them just the same, and as an added bonus, you’ll always have a topic to discuss when catching up. And then, there are those you forgot existed, who come out of the woodwork to support what you’re doing. These are a surprise that you don’t see coming, but give that little bit of reassurance that you’re not just speaking to a darkened room.
5. Quality vs. Quantity is the new nature vs. nurture.
What makes a good book? The sales? The writing? Are good books made, or are they sold? Reading and listening to a wide range of blogs and podcasts on independent publishing reveals that the industry is, at its core, neurotic. There is a tremendous amount of information out there. Most of it is insightful and exceptionally helpful, but a great deal is contradictory. Write to market. No, write to your passion. Plot meticulously. No, fly by the seat of your pants. Some authors smile and say, “I don’t know how my super fantastic, unbelievable, fairy tale success happened; it was magic!” One post will tell you to focus on your craft and produce a strong product. This means not only does the writing need to be strong, but you need a beautiful cover, tight story arcs, well defined characters, and a professional polish. I agree with these folks. If I’m going to do something, I want to do it right. The book has my name, right there on the cover, and typos make me want to hide my head in shame. But, it takes a hell of a long time to write a novel like that. I did mention that my last book was a year and a half ago, right. Also, this does not seem to be the industry standard. There are authors who have neglected all of these steps, churn out books like they’re some sort of novel factory, and are bestsellers. Kudos and congratulations to them. I honestly don’t know how they do it (because it’s magic, remember). But, then again, my goal from the start has been to create an immersive experience for my readers. I’m fine with a small cult following who are really into my world. I want folks to hang around and stay for a while digging through the layers.
The most important bit I have learned, however, is this: do what works for you. There are trends, and there are guidelines, but in reality, there are no rules to how this is done. Create your own magic. Borrow what techniques you like, and discard those you feel are hooey.
Isn’t that what it means to be an independent, after all?
Well, there you go. A really informative post for anyone who has self-published or is thinking of self-publishing their work regardless of genre. Thoughts??
The Gates of Golorath (Chaos of Souls #1).
The Lethen’al abandoned humanity to their fate millennia ago, fleeing the hordes of the Apostate. The Gates of Golorath separates their worlds.
Shut away inside their Golden Vale, the Lethen’al have become masters of magic and war. Stationed at the Gates, Angus and Arielle begin their journey to discover the truth of who they really are. They are pitted against their Houses, their squads, the Blademasters, and the age old foe of their people, the shrulks.
Angus, originally trained by the Magi, has cast off his family’s dispensation and gone to train with his father’s people. Arielle is born of the ancient marshal line of the Blademasters, and she seeks her own place amongst their expectations. Angus and Arielle are two souls who are all but complete, and they are irresistibly drawn together. It is the relationship between Angus and Arielle, the pull of one to the other and what it does to those around them, that drives the book.
Equal parts coming of age story, epic fantasy, and romance, The Gates of Golorath is told with sequences of intense action and philosophical inquiry.
Purchase The Gates of Golorath (Chaos of Souls #1).
About R. M. Garino.
R.M. Garino has been writing for most of his life. Since childhood, he has been fascinated with what The Story is, how it functions, its hidden depths, and the different masks it wears.
Garino is known for writing crisp, character driven fiction that reads like viewing a film. His world creation is vast and far reaching, yet his prose is organic and devoid of informational dumps. The characters are real, believable, and inspire both affection and compassion in the reader.
R.M. Garino lives in the mountains of the east coast with his wife, three children, and all the characters still waiting their turn to speak. He is an avid brewer of beer and strong coffee, a voracious reader, an aficionado of fine cigars and single malt scotch, and is not nearly as obsessed with video games as his wife believes him to be.