I love the ironies of life, so finding the word I chose for my title is making me even more unsure – ah, success.
And I’m publishing on a non-ROW80 update day, because I’m either very late, or over-early. Even more unsure.
ROW80 Goals – Changing Slightly for a Week
Last week I got tapped out editing. Editing is hard, we all know that. That’s the reason why so many books are started but never completed or published. Writing is hard work – the hardest I’ve ever come across – it sinks into your everyday, seeps into your dreams, never lets go. But I’m preaching to the converted anyway. We all know this, but have to discover it individually.
Last Friday I completely moved away from editing, and haven’t as yet gone back properly. I guess I needed a rest.
Instead, I spent hours (and hours and hours) experimenting (I call it that, so it’s not so bad when I fail at it) on social media, doing stuff like Facebook, blogging, conversations on writing groups, joining in (as much as I am capable of).
I’m still doing it, despite some failures. Klout informs me I went up 10 points, which isn’t saying much because I started off really low. Really low. Emphasis on the Really. Low.
I have no klout. Truth be, I suspect that if anyone in my tiny circles joins klout after me, and I’m in their circle of influencers – what ever the heck that is – then they are probably being penalised for having me drifting around them with a bad smell. Only half joking, I haven’t much of a clue on Klout, but suspect I am the reverse of klout – antiklout as such.
Oddly, my Twitter followers have been racing along all week – I’ve gained at least three-five new followers per day, and can’t quite fathom why because I’ve not been attending to Twitter at all. The only thing that feeds through to Twitter are my blog posts. Blogging still pays off, I guess. Although I blog because I like to write, and have done so for years, rather than with any real plans behind it.
Truth be it – I feel I am not ready yet to face the world, and am confused by so much advice out there – there seems to be two streams – 1. build platform, get reviews of your work before publishing, then market to whatever beat you have read (there are several), or there are those who just say – 2. build a quality novel ie. write one, have it edited, think about the cover, publish… then move onto writing another one. Repeat.
I sit between the two, failing at both sides of the coin. I’ve been looking at professional editors, and seriously – the money upfront would be coming out of my and my child’s dentistry work – that’s how seriously strapped and honest financially I am being. The pundits tell me to consider the outlay for the sake of my profession. Some spin tales of recouping the loss at a much later date – possibly. For a brand new author? Seriously? I haven’t even got around to thinking about recouping anything. I just really want to be able to write and publish, and have a chance of having my work found by anybody.
I thought about going onto Kickstarter, and begging for the $1000 / $2000 I need for that professional edit. (Yeah, I know, the word ‘begging’ could be offensive to some using kickstarter in a much better business fashion). But I’m an unknown writer, with poor klout and a very small circle of very busy blogging friends who have their own books to get out too. I tried to work out what I could offer as a kickstarter incentive, aside from the actual book as a giveaway. I came up with little that wouldn’t cost me more money, aside from the usual suspects – naming characters in the next book, etc. Hey – maybe naming a character in this book. That would be a change.
I’ve sponsored a couple of authors on Kickstarter lately, and both are struggling to get covers and ARCs out etc, so their delivery promises are held up by the production efforts. This perturbs me.
Editorial services-wise, I’m clouded over by searching the internet for these, trying to fathom all the different ways they want me to submit or query to them, most are booked solid for months anyway, and then I’m struggling with whether I should go with an American – as I am forced to go through Amazon.com etc for publishing, or an Australian or UK editor because that’s the grammar and spelling I use. In Australia, I’ve not so far found anybody (affordable) who is available to take on fiction work – if anyone knows of somebody, shout.
I’ve looked at small-press, and several companies now offering contracts (if successfully submitted and accepted) on ebook publishing also.
I’m reading ebooks on fully going Indie, or partially. Mostly written by authors who have had success through being in Amazon’s KDP Select right at the start of it – back over Christmas last year. Or the few who have a large backlist of ebooks and sales, and are big names in the business already.
I’ve thought about actually querying some small publishers – but then you get into the whole buyers beware thing, where there are several warnings against contracts, or loss of control. This is more difficult because the companies I’ve discovered aren’t taking submissions right now. And several still expect the book to have gone through a separate professional edit beforehand.
And then there’s that dream – traditional publishing, but this was meant to be just the taster book, wasn’t it? What exactly were my objectives anyway???
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
I WAS A MESS!
I’ve bored you with the above (and deleted half more) to prove it to you.
Then I realised something.
I was a mess, because I wasn’t organised, I didn’t really have a plan upfront. This, coming from somebody who used to earn money being organised, having a plan, even overseeing other people’s plans. Shame on me.
I wasn’t approaching my writing life, and tasks as that of a career or small business.
In the past two days the universe (God, if you like) sent me a few signs. Look –
When everyone is playing the same game, your execution is critical. Your store is like their store, your bread is like their bread, so we care very much about the care and skill you put into your product or service.
Mistake #1 Publishing Before We Are Ready: The problem with the ease of self-publishing is that it is, well, too easy. When we are new, frankly, most of us are too dumb to know what we don’t know.
Mistake #2 Jumping in Before Understanding the Business Side to the Business: I see a lot of writers rushing into self-publishing without properly preparing to be a small business, yet that is exactly what we are. When we self-publish, we take on new roles and we need to understand them. We need to be willing to fork out money for proper editing, cover design and formatting.
This week – for the rest of it, anyway, I am giving myself permission to explore the business side of my career, my goals and strategies into the future. There are so many choices that I’ve become confused towards the end game.
So, although I will try to spin out a couple of hours of editing, I will be working on communications and finding a little of my tribe, and I’ll be working on developing a strategy or business plan too.
More writers ROWing 80 can be found here.