Tag Archive: about writing


Self Publishing a Book is like planting a garden

Spring is a Good Time to Learn New Software

It is time to take the plunge, make the commitment, and Learn. Advanced. Scrivener. I’ve trialed and tested and dabbled in Scrivener.. and now I’ve purchased.

Because I absolutely have to be faster and more efficient in my writing.

Today, new software is so much more. Software is a skill, skills enhance ability – on the job or in my own projects. It is a new community, introduction to a new industry, and often a new way of thinking about the project that brought me to the software in the first place. It brings change in more ways than just my goal to Write. Publish. Repeat.

Scrivener

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The Free Rooster is alive and well

Commitment.

I recently listened to a back episode, Episode 36, of the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast by Simon Whistler where he was interviewing Beverly Kendall about her writing, publishing, and the survey she had done on what self publishers are earning.

Beverly said that she had purposefully targeted places where “committed self publishers and writers” gathered in order to get the best responses for her survey – responses which completely trashed the popular idea that self publishers were earning nothing.

It was this distinction of “committed” that was the real key. That caught my attention.

What was the difference between a self-publishing dabbler and a committed self publisher?  Well, for one thing, the income.

I had been serious about my self publishing and certainly had the time commitment dialed in, but I started to think… and read… and listen… and follow… and like… and pin… and subscribe… about what I could do to really commit to my writing and self publishing. About what that would mean.

I took a simple first step. I went (online) to the places where “committed self publishers and writers” gathered (twitter, hashtag #selfpublish, find and follow the industry gurus)- and I listened.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of voices were saying the same thing – which made it astonishingly easy to hear amidst the crazy babble that is twitter.

Engage: with readers, with industry gurus, with other self publishers, with my local community. Maybe writing is an activity that an introvert can successfully do all alone in a garrett – but publishing requires connecting with this huge peopled world. And self publishing means personally connecting.

Publish Great Content Constantly: blogging, tweeting, pinning… my content has to be out there and it has to be valuable, interesting and preferably accurate. If I can’t do “constantly” I can do AFAP (as frequently as possible.)

Pick a Genre and Stick With It: because readers do not generally leave their favorite genre to follow you, the author, to your next book. I muffed that one already. My aviation history biography is mysteriously not as interesting as I thought it would be to the fans of my family memoir chicken-raising homestead adventure. Aviation history fans love it – but chicken moms are meh. The income lies in an excellent and riveting series within a single genre.

Do All That While Still Writing All The Time: ah, jeez. (screeching tires on pavement sound.)

The unspoken, “and don’t quit your day job” was not as prevalent in these streams because many of the authors had actually quit their day jobs. These were the full-timers, the mid-listers and more who were making enough or more at self publishing for it to be their day job. So I was going to have to improvise in order to do all this while nurturing my day job.

My biggest challenge was going to be managing the time it takes me to write and self publish my books. The two I already have on Amazon, which sell even though I still need to market them, each took over a year to produce, and that’s too slow for where I want to be as an author – and what I want to earn.

I needed to find out How To Get More Efficient In My Writing And Self Publishing, and that answer was out there in the twitter stream as well.

Which brings us to SCRIVENER, and my next post.

Two books is great... ten books would be better!  But where does a not-full-time author find the time to write ten books?

Two books is great… ten books would be better! But where does a not-full-time author find the time to write ten books?

This is my favorite question to hear from people. No, wait a minute, actually my favorite is “Have you lost weight?” only I don’t hear that one very often.

But I do hear “Where do you find the time?”

I used to answer “from ditching my TV-watching evenings” but then Breaking Bad came to Netflix and I lost the time I used to find there.

And then I used to answer “from all the time I’m not spending at the gym” but then people stopped asking if I’d lost weight… back to the gym.

So then I was left with some possibly controversial truths; that I find the time by not doing many of the things that other women are doing. Like driving the kids to soccer practice, or volunteering at the school, or separating whites from colors before (or after) washing, or decorating for the seasons, or keeping up with people’s birthdays. And that my children have daily chore lists that are at least as long as my own. And that I’ve never run, or even walked, a marathon.

Along with that admission, I have to emphasize that even with the time found by not participating in portions of the American Family Lifestyle – I still have to rely on My System:

Methodical organization, regular up-skilling in software and technology, relentless list checking, and constant time-management efforts – which are constant because I get regularly derailed like everyone else does.

I’ve had to build good habits for working because they didn’t come naturally. If there is a productivity how-to out there on tape, DVD, YouTube, Podcast, print, brochure, TV, or under my windshield wiper then I’ve adopted a piece of it. Rarely all of it because I burn out half way through and go back to writing, but every little bit helps.

And the most effective systems that I’ve set up for myself are carefully thought out procedure sheets that help me step through big projects with small tasks, organized for efficiency and increased productivity via layering.

This is the system that I am building for the How To Self Publish A Book series.

Because I really need it in order to Write, Publish, Repeat (these authors host one of the BEST podcasts that I’ve got loaded for my dishwashing, commuting, treadmilling time).

corinne tippett and the westchester press

Writers dream of big book deals with traditional publishers, or big sales income from self published books. The big blue skies of Amazon.com pervade both dreams.

In the chaotic clouds of The New Publishing Landscape, one (of many) possible pathways to making money as a self published author is starting to emerge.

By learning how to self publish a book, an author can produce work that will not only be out there in readerland, possibly earning money from the start, but could also lead directly to a big traditional book deal.

Here is how:

  • A writer writes a Really Good Book (note… the book has to be really good…)
  • The writer self publishes the book as an e-book on Amazon.com (note… it has to be on Amazon.com…)
  • The writer markets the e-book and it begins to sell, then sells some more (note… the odds on the book selling – even with marketing – are slightly better than winning the lottery, and slightly worse than being nibbled by a shark near a beach in Florida)
  • The e-book rises in rank on the Amazon.com bestseller list (note… the rank rise is directly related to the previous bullet…)
  • Traditional publishers, who are watching the Amazon.com lists, decide to take a chance on the already proven sales of the writer and her e-book (no note required)
  • Amazon.com, seeing that traditional publishers are beginning to poach the self published shoals of profitably-selling books, jumps in and offers the writer a traditional-style book deal directly (note… meaning that Amazon.com is not only a place where an writer can self publish a book, but it is also a traditional-style publishing house itself.)

This pathway to traditional publishing has already happened for some now-big-name writers, and is happening more and more. In a related, but reversed, scenario, some traditionally-published authors are beginning to self publish their work, relying on their existing fan-base.

It does, however, all come down to sales.
Write a really good book, self publish it as an e-book, market it well, and…. voila!  (maybe…)

My first self published book was only a print book, and will soon be available as an e-book. Let’s see how it goes!

 

The Westchester Press and How To Self Publish A Book

This was my favorite view from our property in New Mexico while I was writing Just A Couple Of Chickens. It looks west, to Oregon, where we now live.

Since my celebration of Christmas and New Year’s is a reflection on the past year and setting goals for a new year, I thought I’d apply it to how to self publish a book, and spin out some self publishing advice to myself – and everyone!

If I could ghost back to each year’s Christmas Eve in the past, what would I tell myself about self publishing a book?

First of all, I’d make more of an effort not to scare the wiggles out of myself by popping up unannounced than ghosts of Christmas past usually do.

Then I’d congratulate my poor wigged-out self on having a book out there in the world, rather than unfinished in a drawer.

I would tell myself that

  • self publishing a book will not make me rich in cash (yet!) but that more self published authors are getting rich every year
  • the skills that I will learn along the way are valued in the working world and will give me options
  • the amazing coolness of having a person email me to say that they enjoyed my book is amazingly cool – and might be worth it all right there
  • I will spend more time working on the self publishing business and marketing than I will in writing, hmm.. eh?
  • self publishing a book feels better than submitting a book for traditional publishing, but I should continue to do both to make all things possible
  • I must keep writing, even if I am writing about self publishing
  • I’m still learning by doing and learning things the hard way, and all of our future selves have agreed to just accept that as our personal motto

And then I would break all time-travel and ghost-past laws by sneaking myself a copy of my soon to be ready series on How To Self Publish A Book, which includes things like How To Set Up A Small Business and How To Design A Book and How To Market A Book, and more… because by having that book in hand, which I’ve written based on all the things I’ve had to do to learn how to self publish, then I will rocket forward in life.

Actually, if I’m going to break the time travel rules, I might go big and give myself a list of stocks to buy, flight dates to avoid, and a headsup on not choosing the IMAX 3D theater option for any of the Avenger movies.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

 

Self Publishing A Book Is Not Like Secretariat At ALL

Self publishing a book is not at all like Secretariat winning the triple crown.

In the business of Do It Your Self publishing, which is different from the business of self publishing only in the way that you Do It Yourself,
The prize is in finishing – at all – not so much in finishing with style.

This process of self publishing a book is difficult or expensive. If we want to get help in producing a book, then we have to be able to pay. If we don’t want to pay, or don’t have the funds, then we have to do it ourselves… and while it is do-able, it isn’t always easy. It can be time consuming, sometimes confusing, and a lot of work.

So I’m sharing one of my personal standards, in case it helps… on those late evenings when the to do list is just too long, and the month’s sales tally is just too short.

Once upon a time, there were two racehorses.

One was an equine prince, by anyone’s standard. His name was Secretariat, and he was perfect. Perfect proportions, perfect coat, perfect stride. In 1973, he won the Triple Crown, and was awarded Horse Of The Year. Secretariat was glamorous and made winning look effortless. I do not relate well to Secretariat, much as I admire him.

The other racehorse was Seabiscuit. He was not perfect, and he did not win the triple crown. But he was voted Horse Of The Year in 1938 because he won just about everything else. He was not a beauty, and his racing style was not glamorous. The only reason racing fans weren’t wincing when he crossed the finish line is because he was crossing it first.  He was known for his hard work and his fierce racing spirit. He never gave up.

And so my self publishing advice today is that it doesn’t matter if you finish your checklist in style and surrounded by cheering fans.
It is only important that you finish it.

Any way you can, my seabiscuits.

 

 

 

Just A Couple Of Chickens Is About Raising Chckens

Self publishing a book about raising chickens is turning out to be a lot like writing a book about raising chickens!

I raised over 100 poultry chicks and I wrote two books. One was about raising over 100 poultry chicks.

And I’m writing about how to self publish a book… and I’ve noticed a very big difference between raising chickens and writing about raising chickens.

When I fussed about the brooder temperature for the chicks, they grew…
And when I changed their feed and water, they grew…
And when I went in and out of their pen, they grew….

They grew no matter what I did. And if I had left the roosters to their own devices, they would have also multiplied.

But when I was writing the book, every time I stopped typing, the book stopped progressing.
And even if I left it under a warm lamp, with plenty of food and water, it still didn’t grow.
Every time I turned my back on the chickens, they grew, but despite turning my back frequently to my book, it didn’t grow…

Unless I wrote another word, and another, and about… 100,000 more.

Then I went and self published my book, and once again, nothing grew unless I made it grow. There was some independent progress, as word of mouth drove book sales, but mostly, it was like writing it.

One bright side of all this work is control. I can choose when to write, where to publish, and what things look like. Some of my poultry grew surprisingly out of control, either in size or behavior. And I never knew what they were going to do next… whereas my book rarely surprised me with plot turns or out-of-control sales.

But maybe one day, there will be a writing project that grows when my back is turned. It has happened to self published projects before, and it is happening more and more each day.

So maybe the difference between raising chickens and writing about raising chickens is similar to the difference between nature’s creation and literary creation… that’s kind of deep!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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