I have been self-publishing (i.e. indie-publishing) since April 2012 with the publishing of my first ebook Debt-free I Do. In that time, through trial and error numerous times, listening to countless hours of podcasts, and reading about as many blog posts, I have learned a lot.
But my learning is only the tip of the iceberg. Even when I've been publishing for several decades, I will still be learning.
A question arose the other day when I was listening to a podcast: if I had to do it all over again, starting today, what would I do?
First, even though I've been self-publishing since early 2012, I have been writing and doing all the sorts of things us writers do (sweating over first drafts, writing countless query letters to agents, etc.) for close to two decades. Yes, you heard right. Decades. In fact, I've been writing and dreaming up stories since 2nd or 3rd grade. In 7th grade, I started writing a trilogy. I don't consider those years wasted, since I hadn't been published. I was learning and doing, doing and learning.
Back to the question at hand: what would I do if I hadn't published (or written) a single word and had a burning desire to do it?
I'm a learner (if you hadn't guessed already) and with all the information being thrown at writers, whether new or seasoned or in-between, it can be overwhelming. Some writers say you need to write fast. Others you need to write to market. Others say go only through traditional where others say to only self-publish. Others raise the mantra of being a hybrid (both self and traditional published). What would I do?
Or, in other words, what would I instruct others to do?
Do whatever fits your style. Given that I have a day job (need the constant paycheck), tons of student loan debt, three kids to raise, and a wife I'm a caregiver for, I do not have the luxury of writing for 5-6 hours a day, seven days a week. I do, however, write when I can and I sacrifice wherever I see fit to sacrifice.
If you're overwhelmed with all the information on what you should or shouldn't do, let me give you a little advice: do whatever your heart desires. If I wanted to write to market, I'd be cranking out romance books--this is what the market seems to like.
Another piece of advice: write. You can read tons of books about writing, but your best learning tool is to write. Keep it simple. Write. Read. Publish (either indie or through a publisher).