Never Alone: Advice for Authors
One thing I've learned since beginning the publishing process is that there's no end to decision-making. From title to bio to copy to paper colour, every step is a decision, and it all requires thought.
I've never been a great decision-maker. I'm the last one to order at restaurants, I can't make a game-time shopping choice to save my life, and I've been known to look up menus before entering the drive-through to avoid being put on the spot. There have been some serious crossroads in the publishing journey so far that have required me to make some very real choices regarding The Heir of Ariad. Those choices are never easy, but they have helped me to grow, and I'm thankful for the valuable lesson they've taught me: that I don't have to do it alone.
If you're like me, your book is your baby. You love your characters, your world, your story, and you've loved them from the beginning. During the writing process, you didn't talk about it much, because people probably wouldn't understand. Now you have choices, decisions to make, and it all falls on you. Right?
Wrong. I made that mistake already, a mistake I will not make again. I kept the story to myself, talked about it minimally, and thought I had to make every decision alone. But publishing has taught me that going at it alone only comes back to bite us in the end. Feedback is good. It's valuable. No, it's critical. God has placed people in our lives to help us, guide us and direct us, so why shouldn't we use the amazing folks around us to make our books the best they can be? Why shouldn't we turn to the people that can help us in making all of these decisions?
1. Friends and Family
These people love and support you unconditionally. They want to help. They want to offer their input. They have valuable things to say, so share your questions with them, and listen to their answers! Most of them probably aren't professionals, but that's important, too- they may represent the vast majority of your consumer market, so their opinions matter. Plus, their feedback is likely to be encouraging. (Sometimes a little bias can be good).
One thing I always stayed away from before publishing was social media. It terrified me then, but I see now how valuable it is for this endeavor! I've joined a Facebook group of Christian authors and already they've given me so much objective guidance on some of the issues I've run into. These people don't know you personally, so they are unbiased, they are like-minded and often more knowledgeable in the field than, say, your family, and they have experience to share! A lot of them have already gone through what you have, so ask for their advice! It can be very helpful.
3. The Spirit
Advice from people is great, but it can be overwhelming, and at the end of the day there's only one opinion that really, truly matters. Give God your decisions and ask Him for guidance. Listen for His will and wait for His peace. Remember that He's working behind the scenes, and that every single obstacle was placed there for your good, a part of His story for you. He knows you're stressed. He knows you're uncertain. But remember, He brought you here, and He'll bring you through.
I'm so appreciative of all the people who have contributed their insight over the weeks/months/years, and for a reminder of their value in this process, as guides and instructors. God has given me so much support and He's done the same for you, so remember: the decisions may be ours to make, but we don't have to face them alone!