It took me about one year to write my first book, but it was never published. I did manage to get a few agents interested but, overall, the story simply wasn’t written well enough to be published traditionally. At that point I didn’t understand enough about story structure (heroes, villains, plot curves, etc) to write a publishable book. That’s the case with most authors and their first novels – one or more aspects of the book writing isn’t up to snuff. Unfortunately you don’t realize this until a little later, when you have time to reflect on it – that’s usually when you are working on your second book!
2. Has self-publishing been a good choice for you and would you recommend this route to other authors?
Self-publishing has been the only route that has worked for me because I’m very entrepreneurial, not to mention a control freak. I simply don’t get along well with big companies. Self-publishing is a good route for people who are very hands-on and like to do a lot of things themselves, or at least manage a lot of things and have 100% creative control of the final product (book cover, title, how it is promoted, etc). Still, whether you are traditionally published or self-published, you have to be at least halfway good at promotion; otherwise, I think the chances of you selling many books are slim. That is, unless you get really lucky and have a big publisher fall head over heels with your book and put all their resources behind it (very rare but it does happen).
3. Can you name a few challenges you have faced by self-publishing?
I think the challenges one faces self-publishing are the same as those faced when launching any new business. Such as sticking with it when you’re not selling anything and having faith that if you keep plugging away at it, things will get better (persistence); learning how to succinctly describe your books in such a way that readers will quickly get the idea of what the books are about and want to buy them; knowing how you are different than most other writers in your genre; and also the simple but often extremely difficult challenge of finding your target readers in the first place (reaching them with your promotional message).
4. Where did you end up publishing your books and why did you choose them?
I didn’t self-publish until a couple of years, when I saw the explosion in ebooks. I do everything through Amazon KDP and Smashwords (only ebooks). I don’t publish paper books and I’m not sure I ever will, unless some big publisher offers me a distribution agreement where they publish my books “as is”, i.e., without fiddling around with the content.
5. What would be your best advice for an aspiring author?
Be persistent and master the craft of writing. If you’re serious about becoming a successful writer, treat it as a serious profession, just like you would if you decided you were going to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc. Study writing craft, take seminars and classes, join a writing group, find a mentor; trust me, writing a great novel is just as difficult as designing a bridge or performing surgery or defending a case in court. It looks very easy, but in fact it takes years of skill development and practice to do it well.
Thank you to Author Mike Wells for taking the time to answer some questions for other aspiring writers, you can find out more about Mike Wells by visiting his blog http://mikewellsblog.blogspot.com
Find his books on Amazon.com