The real truths of self-published authors. It sounds like a reality TV show, doesn’t it? I’ve only learned that real lesson during the past 12 months. It’s been 12 months of making a childhood and adulthood dream a reality.
If you’ve followed me here on this blog, then I may have appeared to drop off the earth. I’ve not been diligent to curate or write content here. However, if you follow me on Facebook, then you know what I’ve been doing in our little empty nest I call the Refeathered Nest.
One year ago I decided to pursue and live one of my dreams to become a published author. It was about time I did something I encouraged and mentored other women to do which was to pursue their dreams and purposes. I knew one of my purposes (and dream) was to take my creative writing beyond the blogosphere.
Don’t let the fears hold you back!
But, I was fearful, unsure, apprehensive, and self-doubt squashed every ounce of my faint hope. I was basket-case of what-if and I-don’t-know.
Then, I did it. I did what any smart woman should do. “What is that?” you ask?
I signed up with a coach to learn what I needed to do. I put my toe in the water with her free course. Liking what I saw I joined a smaller segment of her coaching, and then before long, I jumped in up to my eyeballs in her full academy. What did this mean?
It meant I was GOING FOR IT. Pursuing a dream was becoming a reality.
Well, it was a somewhat reality.
Because here are the real truths ladies. The reality of becoming an author isn’t all the romance I held in my head from childhood.
It’s been cotton-pickin’ (<== Texas slang) HARD sometimes.
I’ve had this vision in my head ever since I was a child, youth, and teenager and that image stuck with me. What image?
Oh, those images of authors sitting under a billowing, large oak tree with a notebook in hand and the words flowing onto the page.
Or the image of an author tucked away in a cozy cabin with a typewriter (remember, some of these dreams of mine were from back in the dinosaur days BEFORE laptops.) She (me) would let her fingers glide across the keys and words would just effortlessly flow onto the pages. Sheet after sheet would just fly out like toilet paper spinning off the roll when the cat plays with it. Sorry, bringing toilet paper into the picture probably isn’t very romantic. But, stay with me because toilet paper fits here.
Those visions were a bunch of poopies, pardon my strong language. Writing is HARD work and sometimes (scratch that) MANY times the words EFFORT.
Here’s some of the reality of authoring your self-published book.
6 real truths of self-published authors
1. Even if you don’t do it all, you need to have a semi-knowledge of it. What’s all? ISBN, book printers or print on demand printers, Amazon, editing, editing, formatting, book covers, front matter, back matter, does it matter, doesn’t matter and all the MATTERS.
2. You are going to write in odd places, not romantic places. You may have to hunker down 2 hours every week in your closet with a notebook to find a quiet place. Sure, you may get to have the blessing to go away for a writing retreat weekend. While you may be able to hammer out book outline over a weekend or a rough draft if you have a writer’s heart you are going to be writing or attempting to write all the time. That may not get to be in a Hemingway treehouse/office. But, if you want to write, you’ll find a way to write.
3. Marketing. When you self-publish, you have to market your book. Unless you are writing an anthology of family stories for posterity and you don’t care about selling copies. But, if you want to make money you have to learn how to market your book and market yourself. Sales aren’t going to happen magically. The people who compile the New York Best Sellers list aren’t going to just haplessly stumble over your book. They won’t lift your book to the heavens and say “EUREKA! This is THE BOOK of the CENTURY!” Nope, not gonna happen.
4. You are going to have internal and external battles. Technology will be your friend one day (minute) and then a dragon to slay the next. I know, I had my first book nearly lost due to the fact I didn’t have a back-up copy. It’s a sickening feeling to think something you had been working on for months could have been completely wiped out. Yes, I back up my manuscript in multiple places now. You are going to doubt whether anyone even cares about what you write, whether your good enough to write, or if you even should pursue. Do it. Do it anyway. Get the book within you OUT of your head and heart and onto paper or screen.
5. You are going to need money. If you want to sell books to people besides your family and friends, you will need some money. Unless you specifically have book cover design education or are an editor, then these two critically important things need to be purchased. You may barter for them, but more than likely you’ll need to spend money on them. Buying those services won’t cost you an arm and leg either. There are some great people in some different avenues that provide these services and a VERY reasonable cost. And I mean reasonable.
6. Don’t think you are going to have your retirement income in one month or off one book. Unless you are a self-publishing guru (and there are some.) If you want to make an income or living off of your writing, then you need to formulate your publishing and income plan. Yes, you have to think about numbers if you want your book writing to make you money.
After talking to several other SP authors and listening to them across various forums, I know these truths are REAL. They’ve pretty much faced at least one and probably all.
I don’t write this to scare you. I want you to pursue your self-publishing (SP) dream. Why? Because it’s been the absolute BEST thing I’ve done for ME in several years!
Do you have author dreams? Are you a SP author? Do you have some books to brag about? Let me know!
Kim Steadman is a wife, mother and proud Meme. She retired from corporate life to bring her heart, mind, body and soul HOME. She is now enjoying time at home caring for family, writing, gardening, reading, and crafting. She loves to lift others up so that they may discover their true purpose in Christ.