My Intro! 10 Things I’ve Learned in One Year of Publishing

Happy New Year!

In case you didn’t get the memo, my name is Ebonye and this is my website, so welcome! I’m excited to meet all of you, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and books with you!

Ebonye Gussine Wilkins Author Photo

To start of 2015 right, I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned in my first year of indie publishing. So, in no particular order, here is what I’ve managed to figure out after much trial and error.

Research Matters: If you don’t know what an ISBN is by this point, well, you’re in trouble. You should also know who issues them, who owns them, and everything in between. Much of the Internet has a lot of information on publishing, so get to researching! It really isn’t as hard as it seems. I learned quite a bit from Aaron Shepard, so if you don’t know who he is, you should find out, and fast.

Getting in Front of People Matters: They may not know who you are, but likely if you’re new to the game, nobody knows who you are. That’s okay! This is the opportunity to get to know them (as much as they will allow) and learn something from them. They don’t have to be famous in order to teach you something; they may have experiences you’ve only dreamed of! Hold your latte close and ask some questions!

Being Kind Matters: I don’t care if they are the mail carrier or a Nobel Laureate. There is no reason to be mean, nasty, or rude to anyone. The mail carrier is the person who will make sure that your galleys get to where they need to go, and everyone else in between can make the difference between your getting work done and your getting nothing done ever. Be kind to everyone, because you never know who can help you out in a tight spot.

Don’t Be a Pushover: Be nice, but don’t be too nice. There will be people in publishing who will be out for themselves and will leave you in the dust. Be nice but be firm. Know what you want in advance, but be flexible. Speak up for yourself, and be your own advocate in all things literary.

Nobody Owes You Anything: Not one soul. If you’re kind, assertive and respectful, you may just get what you want and need. But a sense of entitlement will not get you anywhere.

Don’t Burn Bridges: Especially with editors. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with an editor. Ever. Everyone has something to offer whether you may need it or not. Often times I take cards because I know that someone I meet in the future will need that information. Usually within a month, I can pass along that information to someone else.

Say Thank You to Everyone: Don’t forget your accountant, your editor, or the friend that you call at 1:00 a.m. when you think your writing career is in the toilet. Gratitude goes a long way.

Branding Matters: It doesn’t matter who you decide to be, as long as you are consistent. People like to know who they are dealing with. This also means that you need to make your brand clear to yourself as well. If you know who you want to be, then be that person.

Trust Yourself: You should usually consult other people (a team if you have one) on some aspects of your work. Having a second or third pair of eyes on everything from a press release to a book summary can make a huge difference in your writing. However, at the end of the day, you have to make the final decision on the work that you put out. You don’t have to take every editorial suggestion, but getting a variety of opinions at least broadens your view of your work.

Have Fun: If you don’t like what you’re doing (especially in publishing) you should give those responsibilities to someone else (and pay them appropriately!). If you’re in this for the long haul, you don’t want to make yourself miserable. Not every aspect of it will be fun all the time (re-writes, what? That was perfect the first six times!) but if you are more miserable than not, then you are either doing something wrong, or you need to bring in someone else to help you.

Are you currently in publishing? What do you like most about it? What do you like least about it? Just want to say hello? Sure, do so in the comments!

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