Publishing,  Writing

Reality in Self-Publishing With a Side of Comedy

For a bit of reality and insane humour, about self-publishing a book.

The first bit is the humour of it all, how sometimes writers can feel this way, the second is the reality. Steps are important to writing, but sometimes we can feel there is a big push to self-publish a book even when it isn’t ready.
Part 1 (also known as Step 1):
Dance around the computer screaming: “Book is Published! Very Good! Very Good! Very Good! Book is Published! Very Good! Very Good!” (Sung to the tune of London Bridge.)
Reality: You’ve written something, not ‘very good.’  This is the time when you focus on the first step, either writing out the words, or getting it into a second draft.  Action, by this I mean writing, is more important than anything else.
A first draft is fun to write because it’s simply where you put your ideas, but self-publishing this sort of thing is a bad idea, because as a writer you have a reputation to maintain.
Part 2 (also known as Step 2):
Sit in the lotus position on the chair and type slowly and carefully. Taking care to say each word you type clearly and slowly, so that the “vibrations” of the story shines through. A word count of 100 is acceptable the first day.
Reality: It’s called ‘editing’ for a reason, and, while editing or even writing a 100 words a day is something some writers will do, it’s not going to get you published anytime soon.  Time to start writing more.  Time to focus on your book, and your blog so that you have a foundation.
Part 3 (also known as Step 3):
Work harder the next few days, add up to 2,000 words a day of your brilliant writing- the more words the better.
Reality: Work harder or smarter? By this time, step three is re-editing, and going over a basic interior plan and cover for your book.  Until it’s edited, it’s not brilliant.  In the case of books, more is not always better.
Part 4  (also known as Step 4):
Begin to get frantic. Type as fast as you can for as long as you can. Caffeine and sugar work wonders. By this time, you, the writer extraordinaire should have a mental picture of how big the desk is due to falling asleep while typing. Start planning for bank accounts with big money in them.
Reality: Everyone worries about their book, but something must be cut out, revamped, changed and reorganized to make it worth a reader’s money.  This is the time for researching on Amazon, and editing your work to make it more professional, not thinking about money.
Part 5 (also known as Step 5):
Sleep for the next five days. Visualize self-publishing the book for minimal money, anyone can get a ghostwriter right?  Get a how-to manual on self-publishing.
Reality: Readers are smart, and can tell in a moment if you didn’t spend time working on your self-published interior.  A quick example is page format: a book has justified margins, and a table of contents, most readers expect it to be there.  Not only that, but if you want to have continued sales, the writing is the most important part.
Part 6  (also known as Step 6):
Get frantic that your computer was on for the last five days. Worry that the how to publish manual hasn’t come. Open front door, and find it, along with other mailings from which ever company, agents or whomever you sent out queries to. Begin to brew coffee.Reality: So what if the computer is on all the time?  It’s the nature of self-publishing, and as it becomes more of a common occurrence, you will have to stand out from the crowd.  Part of this is not getting a how to book, but rather hands on training.

Part 7 (also known as Step 7): 

Drink coffee and eat chocolate well into the night all the while reading the how to self-publish a book manual. Realize that you should be writing a book, which, to your dismay, is on the computer, buried under paper of your plans for self-publishing, or making money, and you aren’t sure which.

Reality: If by this time you haven’t edited, and you are still researching how to self-publish, you won’t have a book ready.  It takes at least a year for a book to be published, even self-published.  You should also have a social media presence, and if you don’t, starting one now is a good time.

Part 8  (also known as Step 8): 

Finish book and decide that print on demand is the way to go. Google it, and find the cheapest print on demand publisher, or vanity press. Change mind and request refund. Decide to use another self-publishing company. Change mind and demand a refund.

Reality: Contracts can’t be broken easily.  Print on demand is a business, as are the big self-publishing companies, who will gladly allow you to spend a lot of money, but the moment anything is done, the money is theirs to keep.  They did the service, you pay for it.

Part 9  (also known as Step 9):

Decide to send manuscript out. Change your mind. Decide to send it out anyways. Change mind. Have more caffeine. Have some chocolate. Send it out at midnight via email to the self-publishing company of your choice.

Reality: At this point there isn’t a change of heart, you’ve got your book written, edited, you’ve hired an interior designer, and a cover artist, and you have done what you can to market your book.  It is do it or don’t do it.  There are times when there will be problems, but they can be fixed, if you learn about them before you start the process.

Part 10 (also known as Step 10):

Decide that perhaps writing isn’t right for you, but just in case, repeat steps 1-10 only this time, sing the song in Step 1 louder. Obviously the neighbours didn’t hear you.

Reality: It’s only just beginning, and you will be on the journey for a long while.  Writing is more about growing as a writer, and as a self-published author.  Read the contracts, learn what works.  Edit.  Do it over again.

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