Sunday, December 07, 2014

Self-publishing and planning ahead for 2015?

Imagine those first moments when that book you've worked so hard to write hits the web. Celebration! Excitement! You've honed the story, and you've got a gorgeous cover. You even paid a professional editor to proofread.

So when a reader and potential buyer opens that magical window, "Look Inside," do you expect any proofing errors? But there they are, laying on the page like a snake on the living room floor. Aargh!

What brings this issue up? This morning, I spent a little time editing the opening pages of a new Kindle book written by a friend. She had written to me to let me know her book was online and wanted me to look at her cover. Of course, I loved the cover, but then I clicked on "Look Inside!" to read that all-important first page and found those snakes. 

We can get overwhelmed by the scope and range of commitment when we enter the indie world of self-publishing. For inspiration and direction, read Russell Blake's end-of-the-year musings about the joys and challenges of being a self-published author. 

Before considering Blake's advice, we begin by writing the best story we can. 

Blake warns that we indie writers can't be just after the money, but if we're serious about building audience, we need to:

1. Publish regularly. Every several months?
2. Write for genres that have a high demand. Romance? Science fiction? Action/thriller?
3. Take the job of being a writer seriously. Have you mastered the craft of writing?
4. Consider writing as a business, not a hobby. Do you have a production schedule?
5. Spend money when you have to for services you need. Do you need help with editing or covers?
6. Write stories that readers will enjoy. Would you want to curl up with a book you've written?
7. Stay light on your feet. How do you stay current with market trends or new technologies?
8. Keep a sense of humor. Who can you blame if you don't?

What's not to like about Blake's advice? Read his complete article HERE.

At the end of the year, it's time to do an assessment. When I think about Blake's checklist, I have more questions than answers. But thinking about these issues will bring me closer to clarifying my writing goals for 2015. Want to join me on A Round of Words for 80 Days

For now, I will blog about some of Blake's topics in the coming week.

Blake says to publish regularly. The first challenge for me is to publish regularly. Right now, my books have a turnaround of about three years from idea through research, drafting, revision, editing, and publishing. According to Blake, that's way too slow. 

Can I do something to tighten this turnaround? I did delay publishing of my first book in the series so that Book 1: Standing Stones and Book 2: Years of Stone could be released in the same year, and I'm about 70% done drafting Book 3: Rivers of Stone. Can I commit to finishing Book 3 by September 2015?  Maybe.

Could I edit my serial killer/mystery and publish Mothers Don't Die this year instead, since we'll be travelling across Canada this summer for research on Book 3?  But that's skipping around in different genres. Will folks who love historical fiction want to read about a serial killer? 

Can't achieve that amazing goal of setting a schedule until I decide who's on first.

Aargh! What do you think about 'publishing regularly'? What does that mean to YOU?

"Writer's Block" by Nata Luna Sans on Flickr