All it takes is just one reader saying they loved it - meet Author of fiction and nonfiction, Jewel Sweeney
.Welcome to Tranquil Springs is the story of one woman's struggles through loss, betrayal, crushed hopes and remarakalble second chances.
Why did you decide to self-publish? Did you have any doubts?
I chose to self-publish because I had submitted a handful of times to the sound of crickets. I knew that my work was decent. I knew I could do something with it. I have been selling books at my local farmer’s market and doing really well. I figured if I added some women’s fiction to my market, sales could only increase. after self-publishing the first novel, and having success, I figured I would continue with the next.
I always have doubts. Is it good enough? Is it edited well? Did we miss something? (Of course, we did.) Will anyone buy it? But really it takes just one person to tell me they loved it for me to know my doubts are unnecessary.
What did you like best?
I enjoy having the control of things. I don’t lose my characters to an editor’s thoughts. If I want merchandise to go with it, I can do that. I can do whatever I want.
What was the hardest part?
That’s a tough question. there is no singular part that is the hardest. It’s all tough. you have to make the right decision on every little detail. For me, I loathe editing, but my husband is an editor. so I try to get to it first, rip it apart and fix it up. Then I let him destroy it. Putting it back together again can be tedious. that’s probably my least favorite thing to do.
But I also struggle with getting out to bookstores and signings. I have two beautiful children. We homeschool. I’m the main driver, chef, you name it! So making time to make my books a priority and getting them out to people can be a challenge as well.
Would you do it again?
Yes, I would, and I have. I self-published three Christian works and two fitness books. After that I moved on to two teen fiction novels. Then I self-published a women’s fiction title, and less than a year later a second women’s fiction. I’m now working on the sequel to my second women’s fiction. Do I wish someone would pick one up and write me a check? Sure! But for me, for right now. this works. I enjoy seeing my work come to life, rather than holding off.
What advice do you have for authors just starting?
Get over yourself. I know that sounds harsh, but it has to be said. You are proud of yourself. that is great! You should be! You accomplished something wonderful! But it probably isn’t perfect. Let outside eyes read and give meaningful feedback. Let someone else edit. And listen to them.
My first self-published book was really just a battle cry to say, “I did it!” I was so excited. but I would not let anyone touch it. It was my baby!!! Ten years later, I don’t sell the book. I’m working on a complete rewrite of the book. Why? The writing was terrible! If I had taken advice of people who read it before hitting “publish,” I’m sure it would be so much more than what it is. Now, it's a joke on the shelf. It’s a humble reminder that I can be proud of my accomplishments, while still needing others to help me out.
Once you’ve let others in - the story is clearer, typos are found and fixed, and all of that good jazz - promote the heck out of that thing! Work markets. Meet people. Don’t be pushy. Find opportunities that are right. Build bridges and make connections.
I have found that authors live in one of two camps – either community and support or snobbery and isolation. Join the community.
Jewel Sweeney is a wife, mother of two, writer, and educator. She lives in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry where she enjoys the sun. Her writings include The Adventures of Bugaboo & Ladybug series, Azalea Cafe, Welcome to Tranquil Springs, More Than a Jock, Blueberry Ballerina, and non-fiction works.
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