Lessons Learned

29 April 2024


Above: A photo of sunrise, looking out from our living room window. The horizon is golden yellow, with the sun painting the low clouds shades of orange and pink. Leafless trees are breaking up the view, but once their leaves open, they will block sunrise until autumn.

April 29, 2024


The Way of the Wielder, book three: I’m flying now. I’ve written over 16k words in 13 days, bringing me to 127k so far. I’m still anticipating this first draft to be around 175-180k, but we’ll see. Things are coming together, and I’m excited to write what’s coming up next!

Bonus—Title Reveal! I typically keep the title of my WIP (work in progress) close to the chest until I’m certain it won’t change. Now that I’m over two-thirds of the way through writing the first draft, I’m comfortable revealing its official title. Without further ado: book three of The Way of the Wielder series is titled, Convergence of Connection. I really like this title, and hope you will, too (eventually)!

Other news: I now have an official author’s Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, feel free to give me a follow!

One Month Later

I published The Way of the Wielder about a month ago (on March 26, 2024). My memories of that day are filled with pride and joy, but there are many things I could have done better. Many of those things are easily resolved, but there are three major lessons I’ve learned that will stay with me well into the future.

Project Management

When I was working as a PR Specialist, I was really good at managing my time and prioritizing tasks. It was fairly easy for me to take those practices and adapt them into something that worked as I transitioned into becoming my own boss. But I had never published a book before, and I had no idea what was involved to get from “completed first draft” to “published”.

Now, I have a checklist of things to do—everything from self editing to updating the ISBN status to active, and everything in between. This checklist is organized into three groups: before, during, and after publishing. Each task is further defined with a 1-2 sentence description and an estimated timeframe for completion.

Being organized throughout the self publishing process is essential for success. I’m in a much better place now than I was when I started, and I anticipate my next publication will be a smoother process than the first.

Tempering Expectations

As a debut author, I had no idea what to expect when I published The Way of the Wielder. What would the reception be? How many sales would I make in the first week or month? When will I start getting reviews? Why aren’t people engaging with my posts more?

On and on the questions went, racing through my mind. At one point I fell into an unproductive spiral, checking my KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) stats every ten minutes and looking at Goodreads to see if anyone else had added the book to their bookshelf. Had anyone reviewed it yet?!

For three and a half years I’d been perfecting this book (more on that below), and I wanted to know what people thought of it the day after they purchased it. Of course, this was an unrealistic expectation. I know I read one book a month, on average, so expecting ratings and reviews to happen overnight was absurd.

But more than that, readership happens over time. I can’t expect my book to sell hundreds within hours, or thousands within days (we can’t all be Brandon Sanderson, after all). I can’t even expect everyone who buys it to like it. Over time, I will find my readers, and maybe those readers will grow into a fandom. But I’m years away from that, and that’s okay.

I went into self publishing with naive expectations, which I’m sure is not an uncommon thing for debut authors. Now, I’m trying to take it slow, and appreciate the process as it unfolds. Honestly, that’s all I can do—and I’m learning to be okay with that.

Letting Go

I touched on this a bit with my last blog post, where I discussed creative grief. While that is certainly part of “letting go”, there’s more to it than that.

I’ve always prided myself in the quality of my writing. From college essays, to email responses as a PR specialist, to novel writing, my need for perfection is unyielding. I spent months making sure everything in The Way of the Wielder was correctly worded, formatted, and checked for grammar. But perfection is exhausting.

Of course, it’s important that stories make sense and that they have minimal errors (which is why I hired a second editor), but the truth is, nothing is perfect. Every book has a couple of typos, or a misplaced comma, or an improperly formatted quotation mark. Most readers can overlook a few errors like this, but I recently found one instance of this and instantly thought, “Gods above, this book is now awful!”

That kind of thinking—these self-imposed expectations of perfection—are toxic. A few minor errors aren’t going to suddenly make my book awful. The story is still in tact, and it’s possible no one else will even notice it but me.

The book is published, and I’m really proud of it. If I find imperfections, all I can do is acknowledge them, understand and learn from them, and let them go.

Advice for writing, and for life.


Thanks for reading! Until next time, be well, and stay creative.