What I’ve Learned In The Last Year …by Susan Lute

It’s a grand adventure we’re on, with plenty of opportunities to learn – always a good thing in my mind. So what have I learned since publishing Jane’s Long March Home? Let’s have a look.

Indie publishing is not for the faint of heart.

Indie publishing is here to stay. So is traditional publishing. Indie and traditional publishers are not enemies. They are comrades in arms.

While a healthy backlist can be the best tool in a new author’s arsenal, eventually you will have to write new material. When that day comes, writing the first draft will be fun. It will also be hard.

Writing a first draft and revising are two different skills. Each has its merits and its challenges. Both are necessary.

You don’t have to do every aspect of publishing a novel yourself. There are resources available. Ask questions. Investigate well.

Tackle one thing at a time. You’ll be more organized, get more done, and avoid becoming overwhelmed with the new skills required to be an indie author.

When you’re indie published, just like in traditional publishing, you need an editorial team – two or three people you trust to tell you when your story takes a right when it should go left, and who also have the skills to be good copy editors.

You will need a marketing team. I don’t know what this looks like exactly, but I’m thinking a street team rather than a publicist (though that might be helpful, too).

Blogging + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads is the new way to build community.

I love my Kindle Fire more than I thought I would.

Reach out to other authors who have traveled the road before you, and who are willing to share what they’ve learned. Their knowledge is invaluable. Pass on what you learn to those coming up behind you.

Never post a terrible review. Never, ever say bad things about another author in a public forum. My mother always said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Good manners will open many doors. And karma’s a…pain in the ass. What goes around, does indeed come around. I’ve seen it too often to doubt this proverb’s validity.

What have you learned in the last year…as a writer…or reader? Have you found a new author you can’t put down? I’m also curious, have you found a new author on the USA Today List? Will you take the challenge to try one this week?


About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on July 23, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I’ve learned that social media can zap the mind and creative juices. So I’ve rearranged my priority. My current novel (in 2nd draft stage) receives the first attention every morning before I check email, FB, twitter, etc. Also, I am 100 percent in agreement that we should always be positive and upbeat on all social media sites. If we can’t say something positive about someone else’s writing, then it’s best to remain quiet. Thanks for this post.


  2. Hi Susan!

    In the past year I’ve learned that I can write in 15-minute blocks of time if I have to, and that the first draft SHOULD suck (at least in my case), because it means I’ve at least got some sort of structure to work with instead of a blinking cursor.

    Great post!

    -Melia Alexander


  3. I am in the midst of revisions and cover artwork for my YA fantasy, The Rython Kingdom, which will be put out through Smashwords. It is my first e-book and so it has been a very steep learning curve. I count myself lucky to have a very supportive writing group, who are honest with their critque and I am not afraid to ask for feedback from them or on social media. I truly believe if you openly share your expertise you will receive fourfold back.


    • Mandy, thanks so much for stopping by. You’ll have to let us know when The Rython Kingdom goes live. I’d love to help promote your debut. How exciting!


  4. I agree with everything you’ve said, Susan. I am also wondering about promo. I’ve spent significant money and time on promo previously without being able to consistently link it to sales. The only thing I can link to sales is putting out another book. Whenever a new book is listed, sales for all books go up. On the other hand, I do agree with you that investing in “Blogging + Facebook + Twitter + Goodreads is the new way to build community.” Community doesn’t necessarily mean immediate sales, but I believe it does get your name out there and when people like you they want to support you.

    I have tried some new authors, both indie and traditional. I tend to try them when I see an interview about them (like here on Three Janes), or when their book makes the bestseller list. Like most readers, if they seem to write in a genre I read and I like the interview–translates to I think I like them as a person–I take a chance. I take a chance on a bestseller because I want to understand why that book is a bestseller.

    Thanks for keeping this blog going and sharing your journey.


    • Hi Maggie 🙂 See Jane has been the biggest surprise for me this year. When we first started I had no idea how we would go on. And I wasn’t sure I’d have enough to say to keep a blog going. Thanks to Kim, Nancy, and now Darla, I do. Who knew?


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