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!
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.
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.