Reflections on My First Year of Being Published by Keri Kruspe
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Keri Kruspe as she shares with us “Reflections on My First Year of Being Published.” Enjoy!
October 2019 marks the one-year anniversary of my publishing debut. An Alien Exchange. When I pressed the button “publish,” to say I was nervous, scared, and overwhelmed would be an understatement.
What if I did it wrong? What if the book got bad reviews? What if I was scorned…mocked…ridiculed?
What if they didn’t like me?
I hyperventilate thinking about it.
Being Published: A Look Back…
Publishing my first book didn’t happen overnight, which I know is pretty common.
I actually wrote (and completed) my first novel in 2008 and even sent numerous queries to publishers. Needless to say, no one took a bite. And I had no idea why.
Discouraged, I let go of my dream. It wasn’t until ten years later I found myself ready to try again. But this time, I was determined to find out why my previous novel bombed so bad.
One of the first things that was different was the industry itself.
Self-publishing is a whole lot different today than it was in 2008. Now there are numerous avenues of training and publishing — various tools on how to write a successful novel and on how publish and market it.
When the writing bug hit again, I spent two years stumbling around, trying to learn the art of writing fiction.
Having only written in a professional atmosphere (no emotion, just the facts), fiction proved to be harder.
I arrogantly believed since I was an avid reader (I read anywhere from five to ten books a month), all I had to do was complete the first draft and I’d have a masterpiece ready for the world to gush over.
No…that’s okay…I’ll wait until you stop chuckling.
Ahem, anyway, thinking I was all that, I eagerly asked fellow authors to read my stuff and entered several contests.
The main critique I got back was my POV (point of view) was all over the place.
That can’t be right. I was following the example of several books I’d read that had the point of view intermingle with each other. Why was that wrong?
Groaning, I went back to the drawing board.
In a fit of orneriness, in my new creation I labeled each scene whenever I changed POV. (If you read any of the three books in my An Alien Exchange series, you’ll notice the first name of each character at the beginning of a scene – with pretty curlicues and everything.)
Next Up on Being Published
And then the next big critique was… you guessed it… SHOW, DON’T TELL (huh?).
I had no idea what that meant, much less how to do it.
Even now, I’ll find myself catching various opportunities to delve deeper in “showing” as I edit.
I look for “descriptive” words (i.e. overwhelm: if I see something like that, I know I have to “show” what the character is doing/feeling instead of using the word).
To better understand my chosen craft, I worked with several online courses as well as enrolling in Barany’s School of Fiction (which I still take and participate in the bi-monthly calls).
From start to finish, it took me three years to go from an idea to a finished product I could be proud of.
As a matter of fact, the first book won the SFR (Science Fiction Romance) award in 2018 for “Best Dream to Nightmare” plot and has received a 5-Star review from Readers’ Favorite. Not to mention 11, 5-star reviews on Amazon.
What’s Been Accomplished Since Publication
Looking back at the last twelve months since I’ve been published, what have I accomplished?
- Published three full length novels.
- One novella completed and used as a reader magnet.
- Finished the first draft on my next novel.
- Newsletter up and running monthly.
- Established Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter author accounts.
- My website not only up and running, but I update it weekly.
- Completed around 90% of the training courses I’ve signed up for.
- Created a way to keep track of my training, marketing, editing, and writing goals.
- Built ads for FB, Bookbub, and Amazon.
- Joined three blog tours; entered each of the books in several sweepstakes and newsletter swaps.
- Increased my subscribers for my newsletter to 250+.
I do all of this while holding down a full-time job (see my previous article on writer’s burnout.)
What About Sales?
I admit I’m not going to quit my job any time soon. But that’s okay…I’m in this for the long haul.
As Nicholas Erik says in his manual “The Ultimate Guide to Marketing,” on average it takes releasing 4-6 books a year for 3 to 5 years to become a full-time author.
Even so, I’m proud of what I’ve done, even though my sales have steadily gone down after the release of Ki’s Redemption at the end of May.
Hindsight on Being Published for the Last Year
Here’s where hindsight is twenty-twenty. I should have had a reader magnet ready to go before I published my first book. Instead I waited until the third book was published before I tackled that beast.
Working on the novella took me most of the summer and I released it late July. Too bad it wasn’t a published book; it would have given me a needed “boost” at the various platforms.
However, the book has had 573 downloads year-to-date…and that ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.
A Forward Reflection
I have to say I’m looking forward to 2020.
Every day I get closer to realizing my dream of being a full-time author.
As I work on my brand awareness, I find there are some things I do enjoy more than others:
- Creating visual ads for FB and Bookbub.
- Posting images on Pinterest as well as Instagram.
- Keeping track of my goals and working toward them.
Of course, if I had my way, I’d just sit at my desk happily creating new worlds where lovers meet and fall in love.
I’m also happiest when I edit a manuscript. I enjoy “chipping” away unnecessary words while adding richer ones. It’s fun to move or omit words to create a clearer picture. I feel like a sculptor who watches a masterpiece unfold right before her eyes.
So, hang on… the future is coming. I can’t wait to meet ya there!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Keri Kruspe has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures, Keri’s first series is An Alien Exchange trilogy. An Alien Exchange is the first book in the arousing Alien Exchange sci-fi romance series. If you like sexy aliens, feisty heroines, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Keri Kruspe’s steamy space adventure.
Keri now resides with her family in the wilds of Northwestern Michigan. An avid reader, Keri enjoys good wine, good food, and watching action/adventure movies. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world of writing or traveling with her hubby in their RV, discovering intelligent life here on Earth. For goodies, news of upcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter at www.kerikruspe.com.