I’m glad I didn’t know much about publishing when I published my first book or my second for that matter. Though I surely paid in quality, I’m still glad I was green. Before you judge, hear me out.
There’s a lot of information out there. Everyone has an opinion on how a book should be published. And while it is wise to listen to advice, it is not wise to listen to every single piece of advice (take heed how you hear). That said, with the wealth of information at our fingertips, it can be a blessing and a curse, a double-edged sword (been using this term a lot lately, hmm). It’s a double-edged sword because it’s easy to look at the Industry and decide you’ll never be ready. And who can blame you? At every turn there’s information on how not to do something that you probably already did.
This revelation came while flipping through my first novel The Aftermath, a Sci-Fi Thriller that I rarely talk about. It’s probably because I made every mistake that probably exists! Every piece of advice you’ve read and everything you’ve researched on what not to do I am willing to bet you can pretty much find in this book. But I love it still and I smile every time I run my fingers across it on the book shelf. Reminding myself that I did invest in a new cover last year and after its edited (No, I didn’t get it edited the first time. Told ya’ll I made every mistake you can think of!), I will be adding it back to my electronic shelves.
The funny thing is that despite my mistakes the book received more support than I thought it would even though it was only my second book. (It was my third book technically, my first novel but my third book. My first published work was a 3-part essay and my first official book was a collection of poetry but I’ll talk about my Self- Pub. history another time. You know me by The Stella Trilogy, but I’ve been grinding since 2007.)
After looking at the first edition today I am reminded that I learn more about book publishing with each book that I publish (I mean that literally. I literally learn something new every time I publish a book. Amazing right?). For this, it’s easy to look down on the other books. To give up on them. But the truth is that had it not been for those books I would not be where I am and that’s my message to you.
If you’re trying not to make a mistake you’re wasting your time. It’s inevitable in this field. You’re going to find something wrong (you or someone else). That’s not a bad thing necessarily. If you never make a mistake, how can you learn?
OK, yes. I will be real with you. There’s a lot to learn but if you don’t get out there you’ll be learning the rest of your life instead of doing. Yes, the student must study but the idea is not for him to be forever learning at the foot of the teacher. The idea is for him to apply the lessons learned and step out on his own. If I had not published my first book, I would not be in the position to publish my ninth (or tenth depending on how you look at it). I would also not have anything to share so far as what I did wrong that I can pass onto others so they won’t make the same mistakes I did.
If you’re looking for someone to push you then you got it. Get on out there! I’m rooting for you.
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release summer, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release (coming soon) for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.