Who Else Wants to Be a REAL Writer?

My blogger buddy and fellow writer M. Simone Boyd of My Family Fantastic is here today to dish on everything you ever wanted to know about attending a writer’s conference! She attended one for the first time this year, and she kindly agreed to share her experience. Get ready to take notes and/or bookmark this page because, I’m telling you, this information is GOLD. Enjoy!


Who Else Wants to Be a REAL Writer?

“You should go to a writer’s conference.” That’s what my writing mentor said to me about four years ago.  Until that point, I had implemented every piece of advice she’d given me with great fervor because she’s a REAL writer.

I, on the other hand, always felt like an impostor…kind of like I was faking this whole writing thing. Yes, I write a blog. Yes, I’ve had a few freelance pieces published.  Yes, my Twitter bio says writer.

But, secretly, I lived in fear that one day I would be found out as a fraud. And the thought of a writer’s conference gave me the heebie-jeebies.

My First Writer’s Conference…

That all changed at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference a few weeks ago. There is just something powerful about being with a community of people who are reaching for the same goals, and it was a life-changing experience for me.

I found out about ACFW by internet stalking my dream literary agency, Books & Such. They mentioned in Writer’s Market that they accepted few debut authors. However, the best way to seek representation from their agents was to meet them at a conference.

So, I looked at their conference calendar and selected one. This was my first conference and initially I was a little overwhelmed by reading the bazillion things I needed to do to prepare.

Pre-Conference Preparation

A writer’s conference is VERY different from most other conferences. Because you are going with the intention of “selling” your manuscript. (Some people go just to learn, but most folks go to get something i.e. an agent, an editor, a publisher, etc.)

At ACFW there were editors from Harper Collins, Revell, Howard, Bethany House, Love Inspired, Guideposts, Tyndale House, and a host of others. As a registered attendee, you choose your top four picks for appointments. However, you are guaranteed only one 15-minute appointment with an agent, editor, or mentor.

Editor and Agent Appointments

At that 15-minute appointment, you can pitch your story idea to an editor with the hopes they’ll express interest in seeing your full manuscript. The thing is, a tremendous amount of research goes into learning what interests each editor or agent.

For example, you wouldn’t pitch a suspense novel to a Love Inspired editor…because they generally look for historical romance. The same general rule applies to agents and each agent is looking for something different.

What Editors and Agents Want to See…

Additionally, each editor or agent wants to see different documents during the appointment. As far as I can tell, it boils down to a combination of one of four items:

  • One Sheet – includes an author bio, tagline, and back-cover copy.
  • Book Proposal –a business plan for your book and how you plan to ensure sales success
  • Three Sample Chapters –first three chapters of your finished manuscript
  • Verbal Elevator Pitch –three sentence explanation of book

These materials take a TON of time to write. The great thing about ACFW, is that when you register you can sign up as a first-time attendee and receive emails via the First Timer’s Loop.

Beginning in July, you’ll receive almost daily emails on how to prepare the suggested materials and helpful links. Best-selling author, Brandilyn Collins critiqued each of the first-timers elevator pitches and gave us great feedback on how to make them “punchy.”

Conference

The conference is basically three days. Workshops are organized based on where you are situated in your career:

  • Freshman Courses – some writing experience, little to no conference attendance
  • Sophomore Course – novelists with moderate writing experience, making progress on a novel
  • Junior Course – significant writing experience, benefits those previously published
  • Senior Course –established writers who are contracted

But, attendees can select any workshop they choose.

On Thursday night, there were agent and publishing house panels. Agents discussed what they look for in clients. Publishers discussed what types of manuscripts they are currently seeking. Attendees get to ask questions.

Saturday night there is an awards gala for titles in different genres. Francine Rivers won a lifetime achievement award, and she sat two tables over from me at lunch one day. (But, I was too scared to say howdy to Mrs. Redeeming Love.) The ACFW 2016 conference is August 25 – 28th in Nashville, TN.

The Definition of Success Differs…

I learned that the definition of successful book sales vary at different houses. For example, at Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) 25 thousand copies sold in one year is successful, at Waterbrook/Multnomah 10 thousand sold is the benchmark, and for Lion Fiction its 5 thousand copies sold over a period of two years.

Indie Author Support

There also seemed to be lots of support for indie authors. Both of the authors I met, told me they’ve made more money on their indie published books than their traditional published books. Also, indie authors can submit their books for the Carol Awards if the author has earned $4000 from a single novel in a twelve-month period.

Post-Conference

Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

I’m currently following up with contacts. One of the agents said she’s amazed at how many people she invites to submit full manuscripts that never do.

This doesn’t surprise me, because maybe they suffered from the same impostor syndrome as me and simply couldn’t risk being rejected.

My Main Takeaway…

In the workshop “The Wildness of Writing with God” the speaker explained that “our enemy loves to keep changing the definition of success…so that it never quite arrives.”

That was life-changing for me.

Because I realized, my identity as a writer comes from within and it is not based on some external measure of success that is forever elusive.


M Simone Boyd - Head ShotBio: Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month. But only because she likes to eat gluten-free cupcakes.

Keep up with Simone via her website: MyFamilyFantastic.com


HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A WRITER’S CONFERENCE? IF SO, WHAT WAS YOUR NUMBER ONE TAKEAWAY? IF NOT, DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ACFW?

 

A Lot Can Happen in 365 Days: Three Things I Learned After A Year in Publishing

I’m happy to celebrate with my girl Nigeria as she launches the release of her third novel! Today, she’s stopping by to offer some inspiration to fellow writers and to share an excerpt from her latest book, Tempted to Touch. Enjoy!


Every writer has experienced a day or two (or a month) where all you do is look up at the sky, sigh, and ask the Lord, “When is this thing going to happen for me?”

If you get a publishing deal you start doing the happy dance only to find out that your release date is almost ten months to one year after the date you’ve submitted the book. So, you spend another month with a crick in your neck because you’re constantly looking up asking the same question.

I know this because a year ago this was me. I was anxiously waiting for the release of my first novel, Born at Dawn and two years ago I was waiting for the publisher to offer me a contract.

Now fast forward to join me where I presently am in my writer’s journey; my first novel Born at Dawn won the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction, my second novel, Seasoned with Grace was released in July to some great reviews including a review right here by Faith Simone and in Publisher’s Weekly (Woot! Woot!). I am currently one week away from releasing my third book, Tempted to Touch by my own, yes, my own independent publishing company, Inheritance Books. After only one year in publishing I’ve learned that a lot can happen in 365 days. Here are some of the big takeaways for me:

  1. You are bigger than you think. Don’t let that newbie author status hold you back. Everyone isn’t going to embrace you because they don’t know you, but them being unaware of the gift that God has placed inside of you shouldn’t stop you from strutting through the door. Keep pushing. Try and unlock the side door if you have to, but don’t avoid knocking on the door because you believe you’re too small. I submitted Born at Dawn to the Phillis Wheatley Award competition and Seasoned with Grace to Publisher’s Weekly for review and found out I am bigger than I thought.
  2. God’s glory will open every door. I couldn’t bust through those big doors if it wasn’t for His glory on my life. I took the gift He gave me, and gave it back to Him. He hasn’t let me down.
  3. Listen to the Unction of the Holy Spirit. So, I started this publishing company, Inheritance Books this year, as in 2015. I never considered myself to be a business maven, but while on jury duty I suddenly felt very industrious and started setting up Inheritance Books. After I received my logo I showed my logo to my sister. She liked it, but she asked me why I was creating a publishing company when I already had a publisher. My response was, “I don’t know, but I feel like there’s a hole and I want to fill it.” I genuinely didn’t know why I was doing what I doing until two days after that conversation with my sister when my publisher announced that they were cutting the Christian Fiction line. There was the hole that Inheritance Books was designed to fill and now I’m preparing to publish books that entertain and edify. Starting with our first release Tempted to Touch. We’ll also be hosting webinars (for all kinds of dream chasers) and workshops for authors because I want you to #GetyourInheritance too!

Check out an Excerpt from our first release Tempted to Touch:Tempted to Touch

“Is that…?” Onyjie gasped after flipping my laptop open as I tried to press it closed when she entered my office.

“Yes, that’s Quincy, and this is not what it looks like,” I said, pointing to the screen. The mint green lacquer on her nails gleamed in my eyes making it difficult for me to formulate a good lie.

“I hope not.” Onyjie wagged her head and folded her arms across her chest. “It looks to me like you’re cyber stalking him.”

My head shook from side to side. There was no real way for me to make an innocent afternoon of research appear innocent. “No, I bumped into him this morning. He gave me his card.” This would be a great moment for a genie to pop out and shazaam the card would appear in my hand while Onyjie tapped the toe of her metallic silver booties on the floor waiting to find the hole in my story. I don’t know why she went into accounting after college. She has the entire detective thing down pact right down to the cold stare and twisted mouth.

“He’s in the industry now.”

“What industry? The how-to-get-a-divorce-in-ninety-days industry?” she asked, pointing at Quincy’s almond colored face.

“No, the music industry,” I said, laughing to disguise my guilt. I had not so much as called him and Onyjie already had me feeling like I was committing adultery.

“Girl, please. He’s been in the music industry since you met him like fifteen years ago. It turned out that all he did was hand out flyers for Diddy.” Onyjie adjusted her black and white graphic print A-line skirt and parked a quarter of her thigh on my desk.

“Make yourself at home,” I offered, sliding the laptop out of the way. “All that street team stuff is in the past. Now he’s the boss. He runs MacMusic.”

Onyjie shrugged her shoulders and shook her pepper colored pin curls. “Never heard of it. If, and I stress the word, if, this is a legitimate recording company, what do you think is going to happen? You cut a demo and then you’re going to blow up?”

I lowered my head and focused my eyes on a nick in my new desk to hide my smile. Was I being naïve in thinking that a chance encounter with my former lover was the key to living my dreams? Well, he wasn’t quite a lover. Quincy was more like the love you-leave you-then-love you again type.

Onyjie seemingly caught onto my quiet contemplation, or my poor avoidance tactics, and snapped my laptop shut. “You better let the past remain in the past.”

“I have. It’s been ten years since we’ve even seen each other. I entertained him off and on after we graduated, but once Mason and I got married I cut that off. You’re acting like I went and hired a private eye,” I said, swatting her hand off my laptop and popping it back open. “I bumped into him at Joe’s House of Java.”

“Yeah, and Eve bumped into Satan in the garden while she was picking up lunch.” Onyjie folded her arms and the corners of her mouth into a scowl at the same time. “You think you’re the first pretty girl he’s given his card. He probably has two baby mamas and a girlfriend. Don’t be no fool, girl.”

Do you think Kira is going to give in to her flesh or follow the Spirit?

Pre-order Tempted to Touch here to find out:

Paperback: Pre-order for the Inheritance Books website at 20% off and receive an autographed copy

Ebook: Amazon, Smashwords

For more information about Inheritance Books visit:

www.inheirtancebooks.co

Sign up for our newsletter and receive 3 Keys to Getting Your Inheritance FREE http://eepurl.com/bkYUAH

Follow us on Instagram @inheritancebooks and on Twitter @inheritbooks


nigeria

Bio

Nigeria Lockley possesses two master’s degrees, one in English secondary education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second master’s degree is in creative writing. Nigeria’s debut novel, Born at Dawn received the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home, King of Kings and Lord of Lords Church of God. Nigeria is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters.

Keep up with Nigeria

Website: www.nigerialockley.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorNigeriaLockley

Instagram: www.instagram.com/NewNigeria

Twitter: www.twitter.com/NewNigeria

To find out more about Inheritance Books sign up for our newsletter and receive 3 Keys to Getting Your Inheritance FREE http://eepurl.com/bkYUAH


Faith Simone says: I’m soooo proud of Nigeria! She stays on her grind and does not hesitate to give God all the glory. Her takeaways from her first year as a published author are awesome. It’s reassuring to hear an author speak from the place of their own doubts, yet still having the courage to step out on faith. People rarely admit that part of the process of chasing your dreams is getting weary on the journey. The key is to never give up!

***********************UPDATE 10/27/15*********************

Nigeria is giving away one autographed copy of the book and a $10.00 dollar Amazon gift card. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

rafflecopter

Have you ever dealt with a ‘Quincy’? (Haven’t we all!) What are your thoughts on infidelity? Do you think it’s something people just fall into? Or does the possibility creep in slowly? Do you have any questions for Nigeria about Inheritance Books? Ask away in the comments below.

I’ma Give You a Piece of My Mind…(Then I’m going to need that back)

I’m feeling some type of way y’all. One of my pet peeves is being put in a box. No, not literally. I out-of-the-boxwish somebody would try that mess. I’m speaking figuratively. I don’t like when people assume that the girl raised in Compton, CA and Long Beach, CA is automatically hood (although I can be ’bout that life if necessary). I don’t like when people assume that, as a woman past a certain age and unmarried (especially a Black woman) I must be ready to walk down the aisle with any chump, whether he’s unemployed or toothless or batting for the other team. I don’t like when people assume that being overweight, fat, thick’ums or whatever you want to call it, means I spend my days curled up in a fetal position moaning about my cursed life.

That’s that ish I don’t like.

But you know what gets my goat more than any of that? It’s when someone tries to tell me what I can and cannot write. I consider myself to be a Christian Fiction writer. I’m learning more and more that identifying myself as such comes with a huge set of rules that I know nothing about! Not only that, but there’s an undeniable stigma attached to the title as well.

ChristianFiction

On the one hand, you have people in the Christian publishing industry up in arms about authors who are using the Christian Fiction title without following the strict guidelines set forth, which include no explicit anything. On the other hand, you have readers who are unfamiliar with the genre who look at you sideways when you identify as a Christian Fiction writer; like you’re going to beat them over the head with a Bible, take their lunch money, and then tell them that they have to forgive you ‘cuz Jesus said so.  Needless to say, they often run in the other direction without giving your book a second glance.

Which is why I’m over here in my feelings, wondering what kind of writer am I? I don’t want to mislead readers. I want readers to be satisfied that what they thought my book was, and what they actually received was pretty much on the money. I also want to attract readers who might have never considered reading faith-based fiction. How do I best present myself in the most accurate and authentic way?

I’m not going to pretend that I have all of the answers. I not even going to pretend like I have some of the answers. But there’s a few things that I do know. I know that I want to be the kind of writer who writes what I’m passionate about. I want to be the kind of writer who writes what I know to be true. For me, that means that I’m a Christian who writes fiction about life. Life as I see it.

Whether all of this ever falls into a neat little box is yet to be determined.

What do you think of when you hear “Christian Fiction”? What do you think about genre specific guidelines? Do you think genre lines are blurring? Do you think the publishing industry is evolving when it comes to genre specifications?

I Was On the Radio Y’all!

Hey Peeps,

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I had my very first radio interview this past weekend! I was excited and nervous and I’m pretty sure I said ‘um’ much more than I wanted to, but other than that I think I did okay. The host, DuEwa Frazier, was warm and engaging. She made me feel comfortable and asked some great questions; that helped tremendously. So, here it is!

Interview with Author Faith Simone on Rhymes, Views and NewsTalk Radio

radio interview2

Shout out to Your Vision in Ink for obtaining this interview for me. Don’t sleep on the author services offered there!

OAN: I’m on Periscope y’all!!!! Well, technically I haven’t actually done a broadcast yet, but I am a registered user. For those of you not in the know, Periscope is a spin-off created by Twitter that allows users to stream live video to their followers. Think YouTube only live and much more casual. It’s like being invited into someone’s life for brief moments.

periscope-android-download-release-date

So far, I’ve toured an English garden in the UK, saw a couple of live concerts and got schooled on some publishing tips. The one caveat is that the streams are only available for replay for about 24-48 hours. So if you missed it, well… you missed it.  I’ll do my first broadcast once I familiarize myself with the platform a little more. I’m all crunked about it (are the kids still using that phrase?) because the broadcasts are live and I’ll be able to interact with you lovely people in real time! You can ask me questions and send your comments while I’m on the air. Chile, I’m over here feeling all Jetson like and whatnot. Where’s my flying car, ’cause we are doing the dog on thang!

Get yo’ life and follow me on Periscope @FaithSimone2011

If you took time to listen to my first radio interview, first of all thanks! Do you have any tips for me? I have another radio interview scheduled in August. School me now so I’ll have some time to get myself together. 

How do you settle your nerves before doing something out of your comfort zone? Me? I have a come to Jesus meeting, A.K.A. pray like it’s my last time! What’s your one bad habit when engaging in public speaking? 

Book Marketing for Dummies

So yeah, if you read the title and immediately clicked on the link to read this post, you’ve come to the right place. You’re obviously slightly desperate and probably equally clueless, which is why you thought, “Book marketing for dummies? Sign me up!”. The idea for this post came about due to a text message from my cousin and fellow writer Inilya Spencer. She’s a new author and wanted to know if I had any advice regarding marketing. I was all, ummmmmm…nope.

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Then I thought about it for a few days and realized that I have learned a thing or two about book marketing over the last year. I’ve mastered the art of ballin’ on a budget.


Start a Blog or Website– To me this seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many authors are out in these streets without a web presence. As in, you go to Google them and all that pulls up is their Amazon book page. For real? Let me check my calendar real quick; yep, it’s 2015. As a legitimate author, you must have  web presence. Whether it’s a blog or website is up to you. But if a reader cares enough to seek you out, you should care enough to make it easy for you to be found. Plus, that blog or website creates a one stop shop for said reader to find all of your books in one place. Winning.

Join Goodreads–This is seriously the single best thing you can do for yourself as an author. In case you live under a rock, and are not privy to Goodreads, it’s a social network similar to Facebook dedicated solely to people who love books! I’ll admit that I slept on Goodreads for a while because I didn’t want the headache of managing another social media platform. I was stupid, but you don’t have to be. Even if your book is nothing but an idea at this point, you should still get on Goodreads quick and in a hurry. Once you’re there, join as many groups within your genre as possible and interact with them. You can use Goodreads to solicit book reviews from readers who actually have an interest in your genre, promote giveaways, drive traffic to your blog, and create ad campaigns, which we’ll talk more about later. Goodreads is so important that I’ll wait while you go there now. Seriously. (Add this to your shelf while you’re there.)

Work Your Social Media Jelly– Again, this seems pretty obvious, but you should have a few social media platforms that you’re comfortable using and are actively engaged in. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever. Pick your poison and promote yourself. Notice I said promote yourself, not your books. Social media is meant to be, well, social. As in readers follow you in an effort to get to know you, not just your books. Engage regularly. Post about random thoughts, family events, cute bunnies, that delicious burger you made or whatever. If you’re doing it right, it should be fun. If you’re doing it wrong, it becomes a chore and you get blocked for being a spammer. I’ve stalked the pros and I’ve noticed that most of them only post about their books when they have a new release or event coming up. Keep it classy and keep it moving.

Postcard Anyone?–As you can see in the text message pic above, I love a good postcard or bookmark. These are oldie’s but goodies in the marketing game. They’re an inexpensive way to promote your book. Get some great ones designed with your basic information and pass them out like candy. I carry a stack in my purse. You can give them away at the hair salon, grocery store, book store, library, gym or wherever. They’re like over sized business cards that you should never leave home without.

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Ad Campaigns–This is one marketing strategy that’s going to cost you a little more than time. Ad campaigns are targeted ads that run for a specific period of time on a particular platform. You pay-per-click on your ad. The good thing about these types of campaigns are that you get to choose your budget, the length of time the ad will run and your target demographics. Some platforms that offer per click ads are Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve only run one ad campaign and I used Goodreads. So far I like it. Using a $25.00 budget I designed an ad that will only be shown to readers that previously rated books by similar authors in my genre at 3 stars and up. This is an awesome feature. I write in Christian Fiction and I listed about 20 other authors in that genre. It’s great that I know my ad is being seen by people who are fans of the genre and who also take the time to rate books they read.

Put Your Book on Sale–Fluctuating the price of your book is a great way to draw attention to it. Make it 99 cents for a period of time and hashtag the mess out of it on Twitter and other platforms. Contact promotional book sites to have them list it during your sales period. List it under the Kindle Count Down Deals.  If you’re only selling your book on Amazon, you can also enroll it in the KDP Select for maximum exposure.  One of the best tried and true strategies is to offer one of your older books for free to help boost the sales of your newer books.

Show Up and Show Out–One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a super popular author who said that new authors should focus on becoming well-known where they live. She admonished authors to keep their efforts local because it’s cheaper, easier and just makes good business sense. Go to every local book related event you hear about. Call up local bookstores and ask them to order copies of your books. Contact your local libraries and offer to host a reading or donate copies of your books. Join local book clubs.  Look for opportunities to showcase your books through speaking engagements and community events. Get out there and strut your literary stuff!

The American Way– Last, but certainly not least, you can always pay someone to market for you. I’m in cahoots with my blogger friend Quanie Miller who has just started her own business which assists writers with all things publishing related. You can pay someone to do the leg work for you and do what we all would rather be doing anyway: write!


I hope this helped get the wheels turning for those of you who don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to marketing. With a lot of effort and patience, you can sell your books. Once I stepped up my marketing game, I’ve watched that little graph on my sales report steadily climb over the last month. As long as I’m selling at least one book a day, I count it a success.

By the way, you can get my cousin’s new release here! Can you tell I’m excited for her in this pic? Excuse the treadmill and random suitcase in the background. I guess we stay ready to go ’round my way.

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What kinds of marketing advice do you have to offer? Don’t leave us hanging! Tell us all about how you get down in the comments below!

Indie Publishing: The Perks of Being A Boss

Like a bossEveryone wants to be a boss these days. Pop culture is inundated with phrases like “boss chick”, “all eyes on me”, “poppin’ bottles” and my personal favorite “like a boss”. You can use it to describe doing anything with excellence: I ate that whole piece of chicken (like a boss), I paid my taxes (like a boss), I sawed that bunion off (like a boss). You get my point. But when you decide to self publish, you really are a boss. And like I promised last week, I’m going to list the many benefits of independently publishing your books (like a boss). Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


 ********5 Perks to Indie Publishing********

You don’t have answer to anyone but yourself. Didn’t get those proofs approved yet? Feel like changing the cover on a book already in print? Changed your mind about the release date?  Want to release your book in three parts over the course of a year? No problem. There won’t be a marketing exec telling you that you’ve lost your mind. The only person you need to run it by is you. No one will reprimand you. There won’t be a big meeting or conference call where you’re treated like a temperamental writer with threats of re-negotiating your contract. Unless you decide to hold said meeting with yourself. Which is entirely your prerogative. #JudgementFreeZone

You have full creative control. You have the final say on everything from your typeset font to your cover design. Want to make a plot change that’s eons away from your original synopsis/proposal? Go for it. Feel like writing a sci-fi self-help historical romance? Who cares if it’s never been done. Do you, kid. There’s no team of experts stifling your creativity with marketing trends, focus group data, and comparative sales reports. But in all your creativity, don’t forget that you do want to eventually sell your book and keeping a specific fan base in mind is probably a good idea.

Full return on your investments. There’s no team to split the pot with. All profit belongs solely to you. Now, I’m speaking of money made after you’ve deducted the cost of an editor, cover designer, promotional material, etc. Because what you don’t want to produce is some certifiable junk. But once you’ve paid for that initial investment, every cent that comes in belongs to you. You don’t have to worry about paying back an advance from a publishing house if your sales don’t meet their projections.

The complete success or failure of your book is entirely in your hands. Some may view this as a negative, but you’ve got to have a boss mentality about it. I feel totally empowered this fact. No one is going to work harder for me than me. Whether I sell 10 or 10,000 copies of my book is entirely up to me. It’s all dependent upon how much time and effort I’m willing to put into marketing, promoting, and writing. The same is true of traditionally published authors. Publishing houses allot only so much for book promotion, and the less of a name you have for yourself in the industry, the less of a budget you get. So, no matter what, hustling is the name of the game. Suddenly I’m feeling all, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

The world is your office. Literally. You can work anywhere, at anytime, and do most of it in your pajamas. I love modern technology and the fact that I can network, market, promote, write, email, conference call and connect with business associates from anywhere in the world. Being an indie author (especially once you’ve hit your stride) means freedom from conventional schedules and constraints. You can handle your business and write anywhere. That sense of freedom and discovery is part of what keeps me going down this indie publishing road. I can’t wait to see where it takes us!


Tell me about your indie publishing perks below. Nothing is too small. Whether it’s getting to hang out and drink coffee at Starbucks all day, or the amazing tax write-offs for hosting parties to discuss your book, I want to hear about it!

**Bonus** Check out my take on signs that confirm you’re a writer. Lots of strange behaviors and quirkiness ahead! (Click here.)

 Photo credit: savvysmilinginlove / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

5 Truths Every New Indie Author Should Know

Although my first instinct is to pour my heart out about my sister’s illness, I’m going to resist using y’all as a form of therapy and actually talk about something I haven’t covered in a while: independent publishing. Here are 5 things every new independent publisher should know. I’m going to go ahead and warn you that it ain’t pretty! But I’ll follow up at a later date with some independent publishing positivity.


1. You will feel overwhelmed.– That’s an understatement. You’ll feel so discombobulated that you’ll question your sanity and then answer back with something like, “You passed crazy a long time ago.” There’s so much to be done and there’s no one else to do it. Hence the term “independent”. You’re it kid.

2. You’re a jack of all trades, master of none.– Well, let’s hope you’ve at least mastered the art of writing. But other than that, be prepared to become a business tax professional, an accountant, publicist, marketer, spokesperson, sales person, tech geek, secretary, and the list goes one. You’ll need to know a little bit about several roles in order to maintain some semblance of organization and control.

Frustration

3. You will be disappointed.– Overnight success shouldn’t even be a phrase because it just doesn’t happen. Building a brand and a readership takes time. And for an independently published author it usually takes even longer than most traditionally published authors. If you’re expecting to launch your book at the top of the Amazon bestseller list, then it better be because you’ve spent the last few years building a following that is engaged and ready to support your efforts. Otherwise, be prepared to watch that sales graph move like a little old guy climbing a hill. Using a walker. While stopping to smell the roses and shoot the breeze with every person he see’s. But as long as he’s steadily climbing that hill, things are going in the right direction.

4. More time in a day will be something you’d willingly trade blood, your two front teeth or your first born child for.– Seriously, no matter how organized you are, as an independent publisher your to-do list will always be longer than your completed list. There will always be something to add, something to remember, something to do. No matter how much sleep you sacrifice (and you will sacrifice sleep) there never seems to be enough time. Make your peace with it. I like saying this little mantra, “God has given me all the time I need to fulfill the destiny He has for me.” This is extremely helpful if you view your talent of writing as a calling.

5. Sleep will be something you remember fondly.– This is especially true if you have a 9-5 job in addition to running your publishing company. We’ve already established that time is a sneaky little commodity (some thief called Netflix comes and steals mine on the regular), and trading sleep for a few hours of business dealings and writing will probably happen more often than is healthy. There was actually a point in which I was so tired that I experienced a true life mirage. I…well I…I won’t get into all the details, but it happened. It was crazy weird and the mess freaked me all the way out. Let’s just say I’ve recommitted myself to getting the necessary Z’s.

**Bonus** People will randomly solicit you for services you can easily perform yourself.- I had one chick in-box me on Facebook offering a one day only ‘sale’ to advertise my book on her website. She claimed to have 2,500 followers specifically interested in my often overlooked genre of Christian fiction. But guess what? The access to her website was blocked, the ‘sale’ ended at midnight and there was a pre-requisite $49 set up fee. Oh and let’s not forget that I had to do all of it immediately or the ‘service’ would revert back to it’s original price of $319. I almost cussed! Child please.


This list is in no way meant to discourage a new author from pursuing independent publishing. It’s just me venting about some of the frustrations I’ve experienced since my first self publishing venture. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to occasionally pull my hair out. (I won’t do it. I’m waayyy too into my hair to do something like that!) Tell me about your indie publishing angst in the comments below!

P.S. For those of you that have been praying and believing with me for my sister Tiffany’s full recovery, I have good news. She’s talking! And soon, the feeding tube will be removed. Things are on an upward spiral and I couldn’t be more grateful. God is good!

Photo credit: Pablo Municio / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND