Being a Self-Published Author is a Full-Time Job

Emma - fall walk - Guenette photo

Being a self-published author is my full-time job. That means that when I’m not away from home, (like now!) I spend at least eight hours a day on the tasks I’ve discovered are necessary to make a go of this pursuit. This might change over time but in the early years of getting myself noticed as an author, this is what seems to work.

I can break these tasks down into three major categories – writing, preparing manuscripts for publication and self-promoting.


Writing is not like any other type of job I’ve ever had. I’ve had passion for my work in the past and put in long hours, but writing is a different ball game. At times it is all-consuming – I eat, sleep and breathe the story. This ebbs and flows – thank goodness! Who knows how relationships and cleaning would happen otherwise.

A self-published author has to produce a number of books in the first few years if he or she hopes to garner a following. I have put out two novels and a book of short stories in the last two and a half years and am busy on two simultaneous book projects at the moment.

Preparation for Publication

This is a time-consuming part of the job. I write in Word producing many drafts of my work using 12 point, Times New Roman, double spaced copy. That’s what works for my beta reader/editor and me. Once final edits have been completed, these documents have to be formatted for print and e-book editions. Book covers have to be produced. Files have to be loaded up to CreateSpace (for print) and Amazon (for e-books). At every stage of preparation to publish, constant editing and checking goes on.


Being a self-published author means I’m it – there’s no magical promotion team just waiting in the wings to take over and make sure readers find my book. My husband and I tag-team the promotion efforts. He is far better at in-person promotion than I am. He makes contact with stores to see if they will carry the softcover edition of my books, he does the set-up leg work for personal appearances. He always has books and promotional material handy and does a great job at getting my books out there.

I take care of all aspects of creating and maintaining a social media network – my blog, Facebook author page, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+, and on-line promotional groups. This part of the job is the one that is difficult to keep to a manageable number of hours and it is the aspect of the work that suffers the worst neglect when I take time off – like now!

Hard truths

All I want to do is write. The other parts of the job are important, I don’t deny that. But still . . . I got into writing because I love to write. Blogging is great because it involves writing and meeting others who care about putting words to thought and experience. I get a good dose of chuckles out of Facebook and Twitter – but perhaps not enough to justify the time spent. I love promoting other authors but the downside of that is placing another drain on precious time. Since we are dealing with hard truths – there isn’t always an equal payoff. That’s not to say I always look to get when I give, but the reality of the world is that there are takers and givers and often things don’t come out even in the end.

So, here I sit making my breakfast out of the remains that the granddaughters left on the table as they scrambled off to school and preschool (perhaps this is why I always get a cold when I’m here – you think?) My mind is totally stuffed with writing ideas and what I might accomplish in the next three hours before Brit comes home.

Brit - fall walk - Guenette photo

I don’t regret the self-published author career choice – not ever. The hours are long but when I get to just sit and write – the pleasure is huge.

Photographic Journey

As promised – here is my photographer husband’s guest post. It’s about time he received some recognition on this blog – most of the pictures I have used since I started the blog (at least the good ones) are courtesy of his skill and photographic expertise. So – I’ll turn this space over to Bruce.

Come on a brief journey with me – glimpses and explanations of the processes and thoughts, behind one of my favourite hobbies and creative outlets – ‘capturing’ images in time.

I use a zoom lens with a focal length 18mm – 200mm which allows me to compose photos quickly. Photographing people I’m able to stand further away and zoom in, making a more natural atmosphere. “Up close and personal,” produces candid shots – as people become hyper-aware of the camera it changes their reality; they either ham it up, or clam-up.

A family in the Sierra Nevada’s  

In this mountain scene I had already taken a few shots, when a family came trotting from behind the trees and into my frame – I didn’t believe my good luck!  Usually the reverse happens.

Notice the strong horizontal line of the fallen tree and the blue lake itself – it appears roughly 1/3 up from the bottom of the image. This compositional technique is known as the “rule of thirds” or “the rule of threes”.  Seasoned photographers never center their subject or a horizon line – well, almost never.

Depth is created in the photo with the trees on the left side and the patches of grass and the log in the foreground. To complete the picture the hiking family adds human scale as well as evokes interest.

A Study of Roses

The next 2 shots illustrate how depth of field changes using different lens apertures (f-stops).

1/400 sec.@ f14 – no depth of field


1/40 sec.@ f32 – medium depth of field


A Waterfall         

1/13sec.@ f16 with the vintage tripod …see Fran’s previous blog!

At 3PM in October, Burney Falls were in the shade – however, a lower light level is exactly what is needed to create the blurred effect. At the top of the falls the sunlight was hitting the trees which were ablaze in fall colours – but sunlight and shade doesn’t mix in photography; I had to frame and focus most of the photo down towards the waterfall. I often fine-tune photos @ the editing stage, so I later cropped out some of the trees on the right, to compose in line with the rule of thirds (again.)


An Era Gone By

De-saturating the colour ever so slightly moves this photo back in time, almost to a sepia image. Notice the truck is aligned using “the rule of thirds.” I keep mentioning this rule because it’s so important. I’ll speak if it no more.


Ancient Volcano      

The photo speaks for itself


Bird of Paradise   

1/250 sec. f4.8 – A very shallow depth of field creates the blurred background.


Boy with fish     

I love portraits! In this case, upon seeing the lad with his catch, I seized the moment and asked to take his photo. His beaming smile says it all.


Clock Tower   

Buildings! A favourite subject of mine – after all, I am a carpenter. An amazing thing about photographs is what isn’t seen in the picture. For example, located under this tower is a 10kw hydroelectric turbine. Out in the desert, no less!




Fall Colours

In the 3 photos above, I increased the colour saturation to enhance the yellows and oranges. In the last of this series of three, the blue of the sky could have been greatly enhanced using a polarizing filter (which I didn’t have at the time!)


Mono lake

Tree framed to the left created depth and interest.  I saturated the colours to give the clouds definition and deepen the blue.


Mt. Whitney and the Alabama Hills


Jackie and Mack Robinson – remembered and touched

A slight star effect (achieved in post editing) seemed especially appropriate for this photo.


Solemn tribute

Manzanar was a WWII internment camp for people of Japanese descent – many of whom were US citizens. The de-saturated colour of the image and the greyness of the background and clouds adds a solemn quality. What I really like is the light breaking through. I believe it evokes hope.