Oct 1, 2014

Life as an Indie publisher, thus far

    I don't have much to talk about. Really, not much at all. I'm not really sure I'm worthy of such a title, anyway, because I'm so very far away from being it. Sometimes I feel like just a little nobody doing something she knows nothing about.
     But in the spirit high aspirations, of someday looking back on these days from the platform of dreams come true, I would like to journal about the days I am living now. Bare and penniless though they may be, I am not complaining because I am terribly happy and very content. I don't want to forget these days of yes, struggling, but learning and hoping, working and dreaming. I would still much rather be scribbling my days away, chasing after these stories and people in my head, who make their appearances less than I would like, and disappear, leaving me feeling void of something dear. But there's time for work and time for play. I'm saving up writing for NaNoWriMo this year.

     So without further ado . . .

     These are the books I have collected so far:
     The most helpful at this point, by which I mean the one that doesn't make self-publishing look like a "great big modern mess", How to Market a Book, by Joanna Penn. Michael Alvear seems to leave a lot of empty details about some things in his book, which Joanna Penn sorted out, or made just a little clearer for me.

     Sites I love and/or have discovered but have yet to look in to:
     And of course there is always Amazon, CreateSpace, and KDP. Right now, I think I may have some stuff sorted out, but what really frightens me is getting in trouble with sale tax and paying taxes, social security, keeping accounts, and all that lovely stuff. I just know I'm going to be arrested because I didn't do something right. But every time I tell my mama about it, she brushes it off as if it is nothing, promising my parents' help. So I am not really worried, but I am. 

     The other day I jotted something down in celebration of the one month mark of my indie publishing career. I don't think I saw it then, but I have such a long, long way to go. Years ahead of me. I'm thinking I need a plan of a longer term . . . possibly another job.

     I divide my days with reading marketing books, following their guidelines, working on book covers, making tea, jotting things down about stories when I become distracted and tired of making my left brain work. Wandering the internet, Pinterest Boards, reading actual fiction books, following up on research on a sudden thought or curiosity, listening to music, wondering how I got there, and retracing my steps all the way back to where I was at the very beginning, and starting the entire cycle over again.
     Yes. Such is the life of an indie publisher. 
     Also there's considerable craving for chocolate, and tea drinkin.
     So it's been a month and 15 days since I've set sail on this life as an indie publisher.
     I'm starting to procrastinate.
     I'm  figuring out I have a bit further to go than I first realized. So setting a publication date at December 1st, 2014, was a bit ambitious. (But it did give me a good look at the time frame and how long it was actually going to take)
    I'm learning I should be promoting my book now, which means I need to finish the new cover and start promoting/advertising now.
     The Frugal Book Promoter is not being very helpful yet . . . most everything I am reading it not being very specific at all in the line of marketing strategies(mostly because I was just not comprehending what I was reading,or thought it was not within my power, or was time I did not want to spend). Specific but not specific enough for me.
     I need to get my act together because I'm going to have to start learning the specifics on my own. I hate doing unknown stuff like this, though. I fear failure too much. Much too much.
     I am also designing my own book cover. Haha. Yes. All the professionals say you should not do it yourself, no matter how good you are at graphic designing, you will NEVER be that good. And I've seen many examples of self-designed book covers turned into a professional ones, and I still am determined not to pay $500 for something I could do myself, even at the risk of it not selling. Because the cover is a very important part. I'm being stubborn about it. We shall see how stubborn after I get no book sales whatsoever because my cover is rot.

     I must keep reminding myself that the hard work begins after I hit the publish button, not before. Things will only get harder from here. But there will be some relief after I publish. I can start putting lots of the things I learned to work and, terrified of the results as I am, I will start seeing them, and will have to experiment over and over again till something works. 

     Plan. Plan. Plan. You can't just wing things like this, which I love to do in the creative atmosphere. "Just wing it!" No, entrepreneurship is not winging, as sad as that makes me feel to say that, I'm learning you have just got to plan.

My workshop. Messy, isn't it? But I take comfort in the messy-ness.

Two Important Things I've Learned:
  • Give yourself a date to work up to. A date six months in advance at least. I thought four was enough, but it's not enough for me
  • Let yourself have weekends. Really. I am always very tempted to stop doing useless things and read some more about marketing, or book cover designing, or editing. But I know me, and I know I will get very burned out with this indie author stuff very quickly. So on the weekends I don't work on indie publishing. I do something else. And by Monday, I'm up and running and ready to get back into the sphere, simply because I took time off from it, and I don't dread it.
     So that is life thus far. It's hard work, even though I'm not really doing anything at this point, and beta readers are still reading the manuscript, proof copies are still coming, and I'm terribly impatient sometimes. But God is always good. In a few months this post may become completely laughable because I will have failed miserably, but still, God is always good.

     #1 Thing to Remember(there are lots of things I would like to remember, but this #1):
I'm here to serve. 
     It was never my goal to get rich, win the Pulitzer Prize, or be on the NY Times Bestseller List, or win some other award. Did I dream about it? Yes. 
     I wanted to tell stories. To make words and live lives a second time, or to live another life entirely, and share the good people filling my head with others. To give and fulfill a need. To care. And that's all I want still. So if one stranger out there reads a story of mine, and finds some kind of hope that will keep them going . . . my dream's come true. Remember that, will ya, Kayla, next time you feel like giving up.


Emily said...

This is awesome!! i'm so glad to hear that you are moving towards getting your work published!! Praying for you, dear girl. Don't EVER give up - you have what it takes!

Katie said...

What delightful peek into your day! Now I understand better all that you are doing. Thanks for sharing!
love you,