…but it seems like money is. There’s a quote in one of my favorite TV shows, ‘Doctor Who’, that goes, “Time is not the boss of me.” I love that quote because I go back and forth daily on whether it’s true or not. This week I’ve come to accept that both Time and Money are very good at bossing me around. Case in point: this blog. I love the idea of posting every day but I’ve come to realize that is a laughable impossibility. Even so, I suppose I should schedule out when I will post. So here it is, if you’re wondering when to check back for new content, I will endeavor to make a new post every Friday at least. I’d like to do more but if this past week is any indication of how much work this self-publishing journey will take… let’s just say I’ll be happy if I get that one post a week done.
Then there’s my other boss, Money. My first book is on hold until March 6th when I’ll have the money to send it to my Editor. Yes, I’m a poor struggling artist who must save up to afford to work on her art. Actually, the writing part is free but between hiring professionals to edit my story and design my cover, buying my website domain, purchasing my ISBN numbers, and who knows what else, I’m going to be pretty strapped for cash this year.
You may be thinking “But you can just post it to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for free, right?”
Yes and no. KDP is a way to publish a book for free, get “up to 70%” commission, and I will be using it eventually but there’s more to publishing a book than just publishing. From everything I’ve been reading, being a successful author is one of those “You get out what you put into it.” kind of things. And there are a lot, I mean a LOT of things that can go into it.
If you really want to have your book read you need to have a good cover. If the cover is sloppy, has hard to read text, or just looks unprofessional, it will probably not get noticed as well. Then there’s marketing; If no one knows your book is out there how will they find it? When I searched “fantasy books” on Amazon I received 889,673 results. If you write in that genre, that’s almost a million other books that your book will be competing against. Unless someone is searching specifically for your book title or you as an author your chances of being noticed are pretty slim. The right marketing can help that.
Another thing I hadn’t thought of is social media. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Some days I can’t get enough and other days I just think of it as a big time suck. The fact is that many people are on social media every day and if you don’t have social media for your books you’re missing out on a huge audience. Think of it as free advertising. All it costs is your time and attention. I’ll be writing about my adventures with it in a later blog.
The biggest one on my mind right now: Editing. I’ve read through my story countless times and every time I do I find something else that I want to change. I don’t think I’ll ever really be done with it. Then there’s commas. I HATE commas. I am always second guessing myself if I’ve put them in the right place. So what do you do when your story, this wonderful creation you adore, is driving you nuts and seems it will never be done? You get help. Not mental help… although I could probably use that too… Editorial help. From someone who edits for a living and is really good at it.
Luckily I found Reedsy. It’s an online marketplace for authors, editors, and graphic artists to get together and collaborate on polishing up your manuscript. The service works this way:
You (being the author) create a free profile. You input your book title, synopsis and any other info. Then you go search through their database of Editors based on what you specifically need. Pick out one or five and request offers from them. The forms are really easy to fill out and allow for you to upload an excerpt so they can get an idea of what and how you write. These editors are all vetted by Reedsy and their profiles show previous work, bios, a star rating, and often reviews. They even show a score of how quickly they respond to requests.
Once you hear back you can compare their quotes, ask them any further questions and finally decide on who you want to work with. Reedsy takes a small cut (split evenly between you and your editor) for helping get you together, but it’s not due until you pay your editor.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the process but it’s been really easy and exciting so far. I’ll update you on how the rest of the process works as I go along. You can also get your book cover design done there through their database of artists. I’ll do a separate blog about that once I go through it.
There are lots of blogs, books, and workshops out there about self-publishing. Don’t be intimidated by how much work is involved, just take it a step at a time. Successfully self-publishing a book is not a sprint. You can treat it that way but in the end you’ll just end up exhausted, injured, and unable to reach the finish. Do your research, take your time, and you’ll be glad you did.