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Weird Indy Publishing Project: Staying the Course

There comes a time when most people stop, look at the data, listen to the feedback, then decide whether or not to stay the course. That’s one way…

I knew from the outset I was tackling the biggest mountain that exists in Indy publishing: memoir by someone who is not only unknown but invisible, by a fringe person who lives pretty much on air.

Not that having money wouldn’t make a difference. It would! Then I could afford a Book Bub promotion — if selected. That would be great! And, despite my limited funds, I applied for such a promotion this morning!

But having money doesn’t represent a sure thing ever, much less in the marketing of a book by an unknown. I know of several instances where an unknown author threw amazing amounts of money at his book and it didn’t make a difference in sales. Bottom line: they never recovered their expenses.

And people who “have made it!” have taught that the author must “write to market” — write what readers will buy. They have formulas and methods and some even use software to find the illusive BISAC category niche where their chance of success is dramatically improved.

That’s not what my project is about.

And in this past several weeks of astrological storms, I have felt like Tom Hanks’ character in his tiny boat on the huge ocean in CASTAWAY.

That was topped by “How are your books doing?” yelled out in the grocery store!

This woman actually wanted to know how much money I was making!

We met last year in a MeetUp group about A Course in Miracles. She said God had told her to write her book. I asked whether or not God told her to publish it. She said, “If He wants it published, he’ll have to do it!”

Huh.

She had already told me she’d spent $3,400 on an editor.

I said, “I don’t know, I don’t have the foggiest idea … that’s not why I write. I write for the love of it.” And then I taught her how she could look up her book when it’s published and find all the information she was asking me about mine.

And the part of me that’s always watching re-played that scene repeatedly during the 5-minute ride home as if to ask, “Really?”

I understood that mental chatter to mean that I had a lesson to learn. All told, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. But I’m back now, and working towards renting an apartment by April 1 while I continue to wrestle with the details of publishing the best book I can for Cycling in the City…

My intention in pursuing this project is the same now as it was last December: a learning experience in Indy writing and marketing that would also yield the story of a portion of my life and those lessons learned — for my nieces!

That said, here’s what I’ve got so far in contemplating my experience with the CYCLING in theĀ  CITY project:

A note about “the launch:” Some people sign up to be on your launch and then they don’t keep their agreement. Others do. On which group do you want to put your attention? (Easy! The ones who do! I understand the law of attraction.)

You really do need two editors. You need one for content and one to proof-read. It doesn’t matter if your friend read it, if you subscribe to Grammarly, or if you taught writing to college students and edited your colleagues’ papers. (Noted! Budget item created.)

Formatting is critical! Finding someone to format your book for both print and eBook can be tricky. The guy I’m working with makes the same PDF for both forms, then modifies the one for eBook format. That means the content will be the same for both formats! But Indy authors understand the need for eBook formats to carry different information besides the content of the book. I am weary of teaching someone how to format, someone who should be a professional. (I am still looking for the one I can afford who is a professional and who will do what I ask him to do.)

My challenges are different from authors with partners who write in teams and who have money. I’m alone; I “bring home the bacon and cook it and wash the dishes, too!” I do not have a writing partner or tribe as the Sterling Brothers do. I have limited funds for all the details of writing, publishing, and marketing. And I’m way older than most Indy authors.

I am where I am.

And accepting where you are is the beginning of success!

That said, I can focus instead on what’s right about where I AM!

What’s right about where I am, my accomplishments so far:

  1. I am still on the arbitrary schedule I chose for myself.
  2. I have identified a book cover artist I like who is easy to work with and is easily affordable.
  3. I continue to walk the path I chose at the very beginning: surrender to the process, only now with much greater conviction!
  4. I wrote and published Book 1 in six months; I wrote and published Book 2 in six weeks.
  5. Because I let go of “having to know,” I am being guided to do it differently. Not only the length of the books, but also the angle from which they are written. Book 2 was a joyous experience. Book 1 was not. I write better when I “go with the flow.”
  6. I’m getting really good at “keeping my head down, focused on my project, and letting everyone else do what they do.” And that is the major gift of doing this project! Walking my talk re’ the spiritual lessons learned so long ago.

So, YES: contemplation is good. I have reviewed my intention, noted “where I am,” and I am determined to stay the course. Not out of some poorly placed loyalty. I have been informed that I can drop this project at any time. Knew that! And I will stay as long as it’s fun. And so far, even jousting with the formatter has shown glimmers of humor. I can do this!

Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi

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