The Next 1000 Miles

So, You Want to Write a Book…

I think you should read this. Don’t worry, you won’t get lost in the Internet…. A Few Unfortunate Truths About Being an Author

The Next 1000 Miles

Full-Frontal Honesty

So, in the Indie world, there are two kinds of authors: Published and Working to be Published. And just to be clear, Indie mean Independent, so you’re doing this all on your own as your own personal publishing house. That said, keep in mind more successful Indie artists will have agents and publicists still working for them, but they are the CEO & President of their decisions.

Keep this in mind, publishing is hard, but worth it. If this is your true passion only two things will stand in your way, time and money. There aren’t any other justifiable factors.

Full disclosure, thanks to some helpful friends and insights, a spent a total of about $1300 to get my first book up and out there. I am certain it could be done for less, but the main thing I would tell anyone looking to publish, double your budget for marketing. I had (have) no marketing budget beyond social media and giveaways. I’m hoping to change that for the next book [tune in later for more on that].

After being submersed in the publishing world for the past couple of months, here are some insights to help you on your way:

  • Join/Look for book clubs. Best place I’ve found is on Goodreads.
  • Social media…just start getting out there. Befriend anyone and everyone with similar interests.
  • Beta-Readers, start with friends and family then try branching out. The more eyes you have on your story, the more input you’ll get. [Note: betas are not editors and should not be treated as such. They are more for content and flow.]
  • Invest in a good cover. (Lord some of the books I have come across look like someone created it on their smart phone from 2007)
  • PAY FOR EDITING! This is the same principle as selling your car and not cleaning it. I wouldn’t get in a filthy, smelly vehicle to test drive it anymore than I would continue reading a broken-English mess paragraph after paragraph.
  • Get to know authors and ask questions. There is more to a book than simply putting it on paper and authors who are out there know plenty. We’re a community in an ever-changing world. Let’s stick together before we get picked off one at a time.
  • Be prepared to hunt for Reviewers right after your editing phase is done. Reviews = Sales
  • Look into Giveaways. Why just hand out copies to anyone? Hold contests to draw in a crowd, get interest. Those that don’t win may just go on to buy your book anyhow.

I’ll have more tidbits for you later! Until then, feel free to email me your questions.

The Next 1000 Miles

After the Journey

I’ve crossed the tape and caught my breath. As I look back at my journey, I can faintly see the speck On the horizon where I began. Nearly ten months ago, I embarked on a trek to find my own determination and persistence to do what I have always said I wanted to do.

How many people see their goals and go for it? How many out of those reach them? Expectation versus reality always becomes the mantra at this stage. I didn’t expect to make it here honestly. I thought the challenges would encompass me like a tidal wave. Instead, each new resistance made me angry. Mostly at myself, for even thinking of turning back. That helped me go farther.

Now that I’m here, I have lots of knowledge from my travels and I’d love to share them as I embark on…you guessed it…the next 1,000 Mile Journey. Sequels are in, aren’t they?

What to look for this week:

Nook release (they are being super slow and some hiccup has my book processing forever)

Kobo release – this is actually available now if anyone would like to get this version. Click Here

Official paperback release is on Wednesday! A special post will come out that morning!!

Next week, I will post helpful ideas for new Indie authors looking to publish for the first time and hopefully get some questions!

Journey of 1000 Miles

Speeding the Last Mile

Ever left on a trip and that last fifteen minutes before you leave the house feel like you have a tornado in your brain? Do I have enough clothes, keys, cell phone, charger…toothbrush, etc? Lord, what have I forgotten?!

I am like that presently with the book closing up. Formatting is my hurdle, getting all of the documents ready, verbiage, acknowledgements, descriptions, etc. Exciting, but a little nerve racking that I’m going to screw something up.

Any published authors out there with any tips?

Journey of 1000 Miles

Enjoy My Tiddly-Bits

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

 

William Ernest Henley said it best in the last line of Out of the Night That Covers Me. Since I’m foregoing the traditional path, I decided on looking into being self-published. Self-publishing is a new opportunity for every writer to become an author. You can write a 400 page novel saga about the differences of Coke and Pepsi and make it available to the world. Keep in mind, self-publishing does not equate to selling.

So, you’ve gotten to the point where no one is biting at your manuscript; or you just want to get your work out there and let it spread slowly throughout the world of literary media like a virus. Self-publishing is the way to go. Where to start though?

Well, first things first…

  1. Book finished? Check
  2. Book edited? Check
  3. Book edited by someone other than you? By at least three different people? A professional?

If that last one is a no, ease back before you just wildly post it on the Interwebs. I thought mine was good on the second round of edits. Then taking a week, stepping back and hearing from a couple of people on a few  flaws (by few I mean tons), it was obvious that I should take more time. Then after having a cursory edit from someone who edit for a living, I am certain that editing is key. Think about putting your work, your art, your passion out there and it contains simple typos, grammatical issues or a problem with flow.

First impressions happen once and you don’t want to be caught seeming like you are incompetent or don’t take pride in your craft. If you are setting out on your own, you want the first experience to be the best and kick-start the momentum from there. What I’ve found from my research so far on self-publishing is that it takes a motivated person with a clear plan to reach the heights they want to achieve.

Unlike being picked up by a literary agent, you will act as your marketing department, publicist, publisher, proof-reader, editor, legal consultant, accountant and artist for your cover art. Granted, you can hire out a majority of these functions, but how much would you like to sink into your novel before you get any return? Get that figure in your mind first. Then break it down to a time table that you’d like to see. First things first, before you submit an eBook or self-print, edit your book! Professionally. Then you’ll need cover art.

Cover art can be anything. There are websites out there to help guide you through some basic covers to get you started. *Note: Do not just pull images off of the internet and use them because “you found them for free so they must be free.” Artists can sue you for using their images without their consent, and it doesn’t have to be immediately. You can push out a book and it takes off and soars and reaches the top of Amazon. Then the artist whose cover art you pilfered from sees it and he wants his royalties. Do you want to be sued for up to $125,000? Take the time and buy the prints. Prints can cost from $20 and up, but then they are yours to play with and manipulate. C Your A.

How many people in your family or social groups would be willing to help in any occasion? Don’t expect the world to do your bidding, but trade services. If you know an artist that will do your cover art for helping them sheet rock their basement, do it! If you know an accountant that will give you advice for wine, barter and make it work.
Cover art done and editor lined up, so what next? Like any hopeful author should do in these circumstances, read up. Research your audience and get a clear idea of who you want to buy your book. I know we’d like everyone to buy it, but let’s face it everyone has a genre or niche they are appealing to. Then use that to find creative ways to market and get known.

Next in line, talk with an accountant. Seems presumptuous? No, seriously, if you are going to spend your money on a “business venture” such as writing, they will be able to help you find the right path to start on. First off, you are a business once you post your work for sale, so you need a Tax-ID or and EIN (Employee Identification Number). In my state, you have to register yourself as a company. Sounds silly when you are just hoping for a few sales at first, but trust me, when you start propelling and picking up speed, it’ll be a great investment. Plus, if you wind up getting signed by a literary agent, you’re eliminating steps they have to take. Who doesn’t want less work?? Your accountant should steer you towards any paperwork that you need to accomplish that. Oh, and yes, it will cost money to register yourself. On the plus side, it should be tax deductible.

In fact, keep receipts for anything you spend time or money on (this includes your writing time). You never know when something can be written off. Another perk on registering your name as a business is that write-offs for business expenses are possible. Check with an accountant on what those may be. However, your business registration will also allow you to set up back accounts (very handy for people using a pen name).

After your editor, cover art and your accountant, now… Refer to the C Your A comment above. Copyrights. DO NOT post a book or set of short stories or poetry without making sure that they can’t be picked up and sold by another. Unless you are wanting them to remain free to whomever wants it. Copyrighting can cost money but its a wise investment. Otherwise, the free way to copyright, albeit less formal and more work, is to seal your manuscript in a waterproof envelope and mail it to yourself. Keep in mind, don’t open it. You do that and it’s back to being a stack of paper up for the taking. Mailing it and keeping it in a safe or at least a secure place ensures it in case your story winds up in a publishing house somewhere or on TV. The government basically time-stamped and delivered your insurance policy.

Lastly, a great option an aspiring author should be looking into formatting your manuscript. Even though it looks great on Microsoft Word, e-Readers speak a different language altogether and your masterpiece might look like it was shuffled into a deck of hieroglyphics and empty space.

So, stew on those tidbits.

Self-Publishing Shopping List:

  • Finish Book
  • Edit, edit, eidt (sp) – {then hire a professional}
  • Social Media
  • Copyright
  • Editor
  • Formatting
  • Cover Art
  • Tax Preparedness
  • ISBN Registry – Not needed, but handy for referencing materials later
  • Marketing – Think of what you want to spend (publicity, flyers, social media boosts, shwag, QR Codes, domain-name purchases, website)
  • Get to know your local businesses, book stores, book clubs and writer groups

 

Well, I take my weekends to recharge from blogging and work on writing (on top of household projects. Please feel free to Like me on the Facebooks or let me know how I’m doing here.