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5 Things I Wish I’d Done Before I Published

by Kellyn Roth |
May 17, 2017

Five Things I Wished I'd Done Before I Published

Now, I’m not usually one to look back at past mistakes and actually care that I made those mistakes. In fact, I’m more of a, “Too bad, move on,” person. My selfishness, my maliciousness, and my utter lack of concern over the bad things I’d done is absolutely hideous.
However, today I’m talking about what I’ve learned since publishing The Dressmaker’s Secret last year. So you won’t make the same mistakes. I’m a good person. Yay!!!

What are these mistakes then? What would I do before I published if I had a chance to go back and do it all over again?
Weeeell …

1: I would publish in the summer of 2016 instead.

This would have given me more time to edit, more time to learn about self-publishing and formatting, more time to think, “Is this really the cover I want to stick with?” etc.
I needed more time … but I decided, “The time has come to stop thinking and start doing!” But if I could go back, I’d tell myself to wait half a year.

2: I would get on Goodreads, Facebook, etc.

I feel like I wouldn’t have made half the mistakes I made if I’d actually taken the time to socialize with other self-publish authors on various social media sites before I published.
I should have sought guidance, as well as encouragement. I should have made friends and gotten to know people. This would also have given me some extra marketing time.
Remember: you start marketing before you publish. Not after.
I would have been a bit ahead of the game if I’d done this. But did I? Nope.

3: I would have a blog tour.

I didn’t really know about blog tours when I originally published TDS, but now I know. And I really wish I’d published it with a blog tour.
I put a lot of faith into these as a marketing tool, and they’re a lot of fun, too. (By the way, signups will be open this Saturday when the cover reveal happens! Excited? I know I am!)

4: I would order proof copies.

I had to edit TDS twice after I published because of all the typos, grammar mistakes, etc. The originally published draft was a mess … and I didn’t submit the cover correctly, so it was all blurry … and some of the formatting was off.
So, I’d order proof copies. This is cheap and easy to do on Createspace, and it would have rid me of so many problems.

5: I would learn about my genre.

Historical fiction. Who knew that such a thing existed before they published a historical fiction novel? Well … uh … it wasn’t me.
That’s right. I learned about my genre after I published it when I went to the library, picked up a random book (The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen), and realized I had to read more of this amazing genre … and that all along I’d been writing it. *jaw drops*
So yes, I would have begun marketing my book as historical fiction from the beginning and found my niche early on.

There you have it, folks … five things I would have done before (or concerning, I suppose) publishing.


~Kellyn Roth~

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If you’re published, what stupid mistakes did you make the first time around (if any)? What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time?

Do you now think me a complete idiot? Or just a moderate idiot? (Seriously, though, there was no way I could know most of that!) Is there anything you really regret (writing- or otherwise)? Do you plan on publishing some day? If so, how are you preparing (if you are at all)?

What do you think of my thoughts?

34 Responses

  1. Do you now think me a complete idiot?: YES KELLYN YOU ARE A COMPLETE IDIOT.
    Or just a moderate idiot?: Okay so maybe moderate idiot because I’M the idiot for look at your header image each time I read a post and NOT REALIZING YOU’RE LEFT-HANDED. *smacks self*
    Is there anything you really regret (writing- or otherwise)?: Not yet… XD
    Do you plan on publishing some day? If so, how are you preparing (if you are at all)? I really want to publish someday! Actually, correction: BE published. Self-publishing doesn’t really interest me — traditionally publishing looks SOOOO cool. I mean, not to hate or anything! But agents and editors and publishing companies and all that looks… amazing. If I want to make a career out of writing (and I do), traditional publishing is the way to go. Now, how to get to that point… XD

    1. Um … yes. I am left-handed. *nods* But yeah, you’d have to be good at observation to notice that …
      But yes, I am a complete idiot … 😉
      Well, with more people self-publishing, there may be an opening for traditionally published people … right? At least in theory. And I gotta agree with you … the whole traditionally publishing thing looks cool. I don’t think it’s for me, but for other people? Definitely. You’ll have to tell me how amazing it is when you get there …

      1. THAT IS SO COOL I’m a righty who was supposed to be a lefty — I cross my left leg over right, cross my left ankle over right, and put my left thumb on top of my right (when clasping hands). UGH.
        GAH NO KELLYN. I probably won’t make it there — just a little girl dreamiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. XD But self-publishing seems like the right fit for you! After all, Kell’s gotta be independent. 😉

        1. Ooh, that’s cool! I do the same things! I never realized that before! (I had to clasp my hands a couple times to figure it out … my mom gave me a weird look. XD )
          Yeah, I think if someone tried to convince me to change one word of my book that I didn’t want to or use a cover that I didn’t think was just perfect, I would throw a baby fit. XD But I really think you can do it someday! Just keep it up!

          1. XDD Agh, I can just imagine you clasping and unclasping your hands randomly. XDD
            I love the independence of self-publishing, but at the same time, I love all the people that come together to traditionally publish. And AWW you’re too sweet! The number of manuscript rejections are so hiiiiiiigh though.

            1. It was quite odd … I think everyone in the house thinks I’m evil now. XD
              Well, just keep in mind that Harry Potter got rejected like … was it fourteen times? Or twenty? Fifty? I don’t know, but it was high.

  2. Nice tips, Kellyn. 😛 Nah, you’re not an idiot…. a fool, perhaps? JOKING. Joking! 😉
    I am interested in publishing (I’m thinking probably traditionally, I think my Dad can get me hooked up with that…) but I’m not entirely thinking that far ahead… or detailed. 🙂 Right now, I’m focusing on finishing my novel. ;D
    Rock on, Kellyn. You’re an inspiration!

    1. Better a witty fool than a foolish wit. 😛
      Ooh, awesome! I’d like to try publishing traditionally – or at least Indie – someday, but … I don’t know. That’s a long time into the future, and I’m not sure I could handle the pressure, etc.
      Thank you! Same to you! <3

      1. Haha! Indeed….
        I think different things work for different people! 🙂 God will use our words, no matter what. If we’re young, ya know, I’d say do what we can do at the time being. 😉

        1. That’s true! I often forget that I’m only fifteen. I go, “WHY AREN’T I ACCOMPLISHING STUFF!?! Everyone else is so much better at everything than me …” and then I realize they’re in their 30s (or however old they are), and I remember, “Hey. It takes time!”

  3. Gosh, this made me REALLY want to re-read my book, because I’m going to get published like, I dunno, next month?? *grins stupidly*
    Pshh, you think you’re an idiot? You’re a GENIUS! Those were some tips back there, Kellyn. I’m sure I’m going to get them in use, so thanks a lot!

    1. Good luck! I hope it goes well! 🙂
      Awww, thanks, Mukta! That’s really kind. I don’t know if I agree with ‘genius,’ but I’m glad you enjoyed the post … and hope you’ll be able to use it! 🙂

  4. I have a question about self-publishing. I had been offered a publishing deal in the past, but turned it down because I didn’t like the publisher’s other book types, plus they wanted to change a lot of things about my book. So, I am contemplating self-publishing but am a little scared of the marketing process that would normally be included with a publishing company. Have any suggestions on self-publishing marketing vs. seeking out a real publisher? I just don’t know, anymore!
    – Megan Joy

    1. Well, I’m not so very good at marketing myself. Like I said, the blog tour is a great marketing tool, as is making author friends (and blogger friends) who will be willing to mention you or recommend your books or whatever … and there are other things. Social media is a great way to connect with people, and word of mouth is also a great way to get the word out.
      I love the independency of self-publishing. I hate to think of being “over-shadowed” by a big publishing company and of relying on them to make my way in the world.
      However, some people hate self-publishing. It really depends on what kind of person you are. I need independence, and though I might consider looking into traditionally publishing someday, for now I’m fine with going it alone.
      Also, it’s super hard to get accepted by a traditional publisher. You have to deal with a lot of rejection letters before you get accepted, if ever, from what I hear. But … I think it might be very rewarding.
      I’m not really sure I understand the question, but I did my best to answer it. 🙂

      1. Thank you, your answers really helped! Sorry, about the confusing question. I was just asking for some advice about self-publishing marketing, and you supplied it so thank you again! 🙂
        – Megan Joy

  5. My initial publication was VERY impulsive. I had done little-to-no previous marketing, had no idea what a blog tour was (My first blog tour happened with my … sixth book. Though I’d had blog parties for books 3 and 4.), and I SERIOUSLY needed a better cover and more editing. (Fortunately, I had a fellow author/cousin of mine help me with my cover the next year, and this spring, I finally gave my first book a complete revision.) I also made a pretty stupid business mistake in those early days that ended up costing me a bit of a pretty penny.
    So … yeah. I hear you, sister.

    1. Whew, I’m glad I’m not the only one! I’m well-known for making stupid mistakes, unfortunately. I’m going to try to do more research before I take any big steps from now on. 🙂

  6. Oooh these are good tips. *nodnod* I don’t plan to self-publish (so I say… but with my spontaneous spirit, you never really know xD), but I shall keep these in mind if I ever do.
    Ooh, yes. Proof copies from Createspace are good. I actually order proof copies just for fun to put on my bookshelf and so it seems like I’m a professional author. #not 😛
    katie grace
    a writer’s faith

  7. You’re not an idiot! 😉 Everybody makes mistakes. If we didn’t, how would we learn through life??? You can’t always learn things the easy way, it would make things too…easy. 😉

    1. True. And I’m really not an ‘easy way’ learner. I’d rather get burned than have someone tell me the stove is hot. Welllll … I guess I wouldn’t RATHER get burned, but I do. XD

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