Episode 028 – Ten Years in Publishing

This week, I reflect on my tenth anniversary as a published author. I talk about the lessons I’ve learned and the insights to remember going forward.

I hope you find this episode inspiring and helpful.

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Infographic summary of transcript. Text reads:
10 Tears in Publishing
Persistence pays off: stick with it through the challenges
Community is crucial: connect with fellow writers for mutual support
Embrace change: keep an eye on industry changes and be willing to adapt
Go your own way: focus on your own path and find what works best for you
Your voice matters: keep writing your stories your way - no one else can do that

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Hello Navigators! Welcome to a very special episode of Writer Roadmap. I’m Holly Lyne, and today I want to celebrate a milestone that’s close to my heart – it’s been ten incredible years since I became a published author. As we celebrate this journey, I want to share the lessons, inspirations, and reflections that I’ve gathered along the way – not as a boast, but as a beacon for all of you navigating your own paths in the writing world.

A Decade of Discovery

Ten years ago, I passed one of the most significant milestones in an author’s journey – publishing my first novel. It was a journey filled with ups and downs, learning curves, and moments of both doubt and triumph. Today, I want to celebrate not the destination, but the journey itself – the growth, the resilience, and the continuous evolution of the craft and business of writing and publishing.

I’ve been writing my whole life, from articles for my school magazine to those early attempts at screenplays, and of course, I dabbled in fanfiction! But I didn’t seriously take a run at writing a novel until I was in my late twenties. I had a toddler and needed something just for me outside of mothering and so I started writing my first series. I knew it needed to be a series from the outset and that this incredibly personal story had to be shared with others.

Self-publishing was just becoming more viable, thanks to the invention of e-readers and Amazon making it so easy for people to publish their own ebooks. But it was still judged pretty harshly by the wider publishing world. There were sharks in the water in the form of vanity presses and very few resources for new writers. So much was trial and error for all of us, but it was the beginning of the gold rush and the potential for huge success was dangled before me.

I wrote those first two books back to back in 2012 and 2013 and hit the publish button on book one, after several laborious rounds of rewrites, on the 29th of November, 2013, though I didn’t get it onto Amazon until the 31st of December.

So much has changed since then. I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Lessons Learned

  • Persistence Pays Off: There were countless times when obstacles seemed insurmountable, but persistence was key. Every review, every critique, every rewrite was a step toward improvement. Those first few books were my training ground where I learned how to craft a novel, how to bake in structure and create a compelling character arc. It wasn’t easy to see lacklustre sales, but from the glowing reviews I received, I knew that when my books found their way into the right hands, they were loved. I had to view each cover commission and editor invoice as an investment and hold faith that it would pay off. This is no get-rich-quick scheme! This is the long game and treating it as such is vital.
  • Community is Crucial: The support of fellow writers, readers, and friends has been invaluable. The writing community is a treasure trove of encouragement, advice, and solidarity. Back in my early days, that community was found on KBoards, Twitter and Google Plus! Now there are many other options. Wherever you find them, lean on your fellow writers for support to help you to keep going and to get the most out of your writing and publishing journey.
  • Embrace Change: The writing world is ever-evolving. Embracing changes in trends, publishing platforms, and audience preferences has been vital in staying relevant and engaged. Not all of us are built to write to market and chase the rapidly changing trends in favourite tropes. So that isn’t what I advocate. But it is important to keep up with technological changes and more persistent evolutions in how this business works. The landscape now is completely different to when I first published and an awful lot of the people I started out with have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. Longevity in this business is achieved by keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry and adapting to its changing rhythm.
  • Find Your Own Path: There are an awful lot of people out there espousing the best or right way to write books. It can be noisy and confusing. The most valuable lesson that I’ve learned is to tune out that noise and check with my own internal compass for what feels right for me. My writing process hasn’t been static, it’s evolved. I’ve kept an open mind about how I produce my best work and have allowed myself to try new things and not pigeonhole myself. I’ve taken some pieces of advice and discarded others. I’ve tried things that didn’t work, gone another way and then returned to that years later to find that it rings truer the second time around. My path hasn’t been a straight road and it’s likely that yours won’t be either. Embrace the unknown and try the things and when you find something that works for you then stick with it, regardless of what louder voices might tell you, for as long as it keeps working!

Motivation for Fellow Writers

To all aspiring writers, know that every journey is unique. Your path may differ, but here are some universal truths:

  • Your Voice Matters: Your stories are important. Keep writing, keep refining, and keep sharing.
  • Learning Never Stops: Whether it’s your first year or your tenth, there’s always more to learn. Embrace every opportunity to grow.
  • Celebrate Small Victories: Every word written, every draft completed, and every feedback received is a victory. Celebrate these milestones.

Looking Ahead

As I look forward to the next decade, my heart is full of gratitude and excitement for what’s to come. I hope my journey can be a source of inspiration for you. Remember, every writer’s path is filled with its own challenges and triumphs – and your story is just as valuable and inspiring.

Thank you, Navigators, for being a part of my journey. Here’s to the next ten years of writing, learning, and growing together. If you’re seeking guidance or a supportive community, join us at patreon.com/hollylyne.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Writer Roadmap, and share this episode with someone who might need a little inspiration on their writing journey.

Until next time, keep writing, keep dreaming, and keep navigating your unique path.

Writer Roadmap intro and outro music used under license from Pixabay. Music track “Salangseuleoun” was Created by “Dayfox”.

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