My First Year as an Independent Author

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Visiting Harvest Hills elementary

It’s hard to believe that’s it’s been a year since I’ve published my first book. Even harder to believe that I already have two books out. I guess I didn’t know what I was getting into when I first decided to publish. Frankly, I still don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. But at that moment, a year ago, I only knew that I wanted to publish a book and that was enough.
After several months of editing, designing and making decisions, finally I got my proof on the mail. What an exciting moment. I was pleased with the quality, actually it was better than what I had expected. The pages looked so new and crisp, the alignment was fine. I had read blog posts about getting a manuscript ready for publication: making sure names weren’t misspelled, looking for missing pages, checking word spacing, among other things. I read it and re-read it innumerable times, and finally, decided it was time for me to push the “APPROVE” button.
Up on Amazon within a couple of days, big Facebook announcement. Finally my first book was available for everyone to grab. I heard from friends I hadn’t heard in a long time, with their sincere cheer for my new adventure. I heard from some classmates who reminded me of my writing inclinations since I was young. I was proud of myself, glad to receive so much support from my friends.
But then, I got a phone call. It was a close friend who had been one of the first people to buy my book. I thought she called me to talk about the book or to tell me how much her kids had loved it. No. Well, yes. But she also said the dreaded words: “Your book has a typo.” I ran to find a copy and opened it where she told me. Sure, there it was. A stupid, sneaky little A that wasn’t supposed to be there! An A instead of an I.
But how? I had read the book over and over. I had checked with my own two eyes and everything looked fine. Things got even worse because a couple of days later, another friend contacted me and among other things, she gave me more terrible news. I had forgotten to put a period after my last name initial. You should always put a period after an initial, everyone knows that! How dumb was I? At this point I wanted to bury my head under a pillow, ostrich style. For a minute I felt like a ten-year-old and thought that everyone was laughing at me. Then, of course I decided to act like the thirty-some year old woman that I am and take back control.
I read my book, this time line by line, with a ruler covering the other lines, sounding it out-loud. I did it several times until I was sure there were no more mistakes. I re-submitted my files and felt that I could breathe again.
I still go back to my book and find things I could change. I guess it’s good to be critical of yourself, and try to improve as you learn. People enjoy reading Tristan Wolf, and most didn’t even care about my missing period or swapped letter. But, as an independent author, I want to strive for the best quality children’s books I can produce. And yes, lesson learned: I will never proofread myself again!
A year is not that long and I haven’t learned everything I need to know about self-publishing, but I feel confident that no matter how many times I “put my foot” on things, I will be able to make it right and raise back up to shine even brighter.
front coverThis is what this first year as a published author has left me: a renewed love for writing and creating characters and stories. Thanks to everyone who love Tristan Wolf and his adventures as much as I do!
Here, here! To my first year and looking forward to many more.

Mariana Llanos

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