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Debut Novel, No Backlist – 25 Things You Need to Know If You’re Thinking About Self-Publishing

# Be willing to take risks. On the Island is an adult contemporary romance novel. The book I’m writing now is straight-up women’s fiction. I’m worried about the genre shift, but I’m going to jump out of the airplane anyway; the chance to expand my readership is my parachute. I don’t know if anyone will like my next book, but I promise to bring my A game.

# Cover. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t cut corners with your book cover. If your cover art looks like something my nine-year-old designed using clip art and MS Paint, you won’t be taken seriously. Actually, my nine-year-old is pretty talented and she could probably come up with something better than a few of the covers I’ve seen. Your cover is the second most important thing to spend money on when you decide to self-publish (professional editing is the first). I started writing Covet last summer, while I was waiting to submit On the Island to my editor. I already knew my main character had wavy blond hair so when I saw this image the heavens parted, angels started singing, and I got goose bumps everywhere. All this image needed was my name and the title. Notice the dark font? That’s called learning from your mistakes.

# For the love of all that is holy, part II, hire an editor. I had two for On the Island: a developmental editor and a copyeditor.

# It’s great if you have more than one title to self-publish, but what if you don’t? I can’t help that On the Island is the first book I ever wrote. I’ve been encouraged to get the next book out there as soon as possible, but I don’t have a trunk novel to re-work or anything languishing on my hard drive. Frankly, I’m not a fast writer and I’ll never be as prolific as some authors.

Who Do Your Characters Look Like?

Lately a few people have asked if I pictured anyone for the main characters in On the Island . Since I see the book in my head as a movie when I’m writing, I did have a general idea of T.J. and Anna’s physical appearance, but I didn’t think too much about whether they looked like real people or not.

Now that I’m being asked the question more frequently, I thought about it and decided that Anna might look a little like Courtney Cox because of her blue eyes.

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