Basically, I did everything wrong that a person could probably do wrong when I self-published my first two books. That isn't to say the books were bad (they weren't). It is just to say that I was impatient. And proud. And excited.
Which reminds me of a scene in the movie Cast Away. In the scene, Tom Hank's character makes fire for the first time. He knew the mechanics of making fire, but the actual execution took more time and effort than he expected. So when he did, in fact, make fire that first time, he built a huge bonfire, beat his chest, and made loud proclamations about making fire.
I get it. Finishing a book is a lot like that. Writers know the mechanics, but the execution take a while. And once the book is written, writers want to beat their chests and announce it to everyone as loudly as possible.
Self-publishing allows a writer to ... yell louder? yell, so more people hear?
That was one of my problems. I got so wrapped up in the excitement of finishing a book that I didn't slow down enough to really work through what I wanted to do with the story. Hence, why I did so many things wrong.
I called my presentation: Self-Publishing, A Cautionary Tale.
It was aptly named.
I've learned a lot since then. Maybe not enough.
I'm very close to finishing my third book. At a guess, I would say I have maybe 50 to 60 pages left to write. It has been workshopped so much, I'm ready to light it on fire out of sheer exasperation of the re-writes. However, each workshop has solved problems I didn't realize I had and made the story so much better than it would have been otherwise. I can't get too upset about the fact that workshops have improved my story.
I hope that I will finish the novel and use my prior experiences to do a better job self-publishing the third book.
And for the curious among you: this book is a sequel to Ring of the Tax Collector. Since I self-published RotTC, I have to self-publish this one as well. -- Agents and Publishers don't want previously published work, and won't pick up a series mid-stride.
More lessons learned from self-publishing.
Still, I will press forward. I have a lot of stories in me.
Go forth and write!