Okay, so the main thing that I've found out about the whole self-publishing thing so far is that nothing else matters if you can't tell a good story, and present it in a professional manner.
Seems fairly straightforward and impossible to overlook, right? Maybe so but it's worth repeating - possibly as a kind of mantra as you learn how to market, blog, network etc. etc etc The changes in the world of publishing are an amazing opportunity for authors like me who would otherwise still be doing the rounds of agents and publishers BUT that opportunity counts for nothing if the work produced isn't up to scratch. I can be honest and say that I've read a few ebooks recently which had a great premise, decent characters and good pace but were totally ruined by endless spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. In the end I lose interest in the story because I'm so busy looking out for the next mistake.
There's a lot of advice on 'how-to' blogs about getting yourself a professional editor and obviously that's the smart thing to do but most of us don't have the money to put into it so we're left to go through our work line by line, word by word, full stop by question mark...or ask some helpful friends in my case since I find it really hard to correct my own work!
Now that I'm getting ready to have my first book printed in paperback, I'm being extra careful with it - I suppose this is what's known as 'polishing your work' - and I think I'll be better equipped to deal with book 2 when I get it ready for sending to Amazon and Smashwords. Of course, if you read it and find a mistake then let me know - I'm learning how to develop a thicker skin too!