Hello, everyone, and hello 2014!
Here is my first post of the new year, and it’s only right that I thank you guys for such an awesome year! I invite you to look back at 2013 with me…
Note: this walk down memory lane contains important information for independent authors that are new to the business of publishing. Deleted scene for 200 Facebook likes will be up a few minutes after this post. Thank you guys!
So, 2013 started out a little rocky since remnants of 2012 were washing over, which was a total disaster of a year for me. 2013 was improving from the get-go, though. I was still new at my job, which had started out pretty bad and I was set on quitting after I had raised the money for an editor for my book and a couple of promotional items (which would make it around a thousand dollars), but even then I was thinking that wasn’t going to happen. I was ready to get out and find a new job pronto. Things quickly turned around, though, and the people that had been rude to me, even whispering angrily about me within earshot, were turning kind and understanding toward me! I couldn’t believe it! Now I am so glad that I decided not to quit when I had planned and gave the place a second chance. Now I have been there for over a year! (Yaaay!)
Don’t get me wrong, 2013 wasn’t a perfect year…
So, back in 2012 I had someone helping me proof my book, and almost as soon as 2013 rolled around, I quickly abandoned the “hire an editor for an obscene amount of money” idea, and decided on asking friends and family to help me proof and give their opinion, essentially acting as editors for me. There’s a problem when you ask someone to do something for free, and when they already have their hands full with their job, family, etc….naturally, your project gets pushed to the back more often than not. I thought “Ice” was never going to finish getting edited. I had gone over it countless times, of course, but I knew I was still missing things…and I needed to know if I should change any scenes in the book! Pretty quickly it became just one person helping me edit the whole (the person who was helping me before), and I would have to take my concerns about certain parts of my book to one other person who was known for being brutally honest about my work and have her read just those sections one at a time and give me her input as we went. Even that became hard to do! (I still couldn’t get her to until right before publishing!) It was like nobody had time for “Ice” and I had finished it over a year ago! I was getting fed-up and ready to publish it as-is, but I knew that would be a mistake and I would never be able to live with myself if I did. But, how else was I ever going to get it published?
So, my full time “editor” quickly became part-time…and then once-in-a while-time…and then “Ice” didn’t get touched for 3 months at one point (by this time we are in January of 2013). I had gone from extremely depressed, to extremely frustrated. I had politely reminded my “editor” periodically throughout the three months and nothing had been done. So I went to her and I reminded her of our talk in the beginning about how often we expected work to get done. I told her if she couldn’t do it, just let me know. She insisted she could do it. Thing didn’t change, though, until one day I told her she didn’t need to worry about working on “Ice” anymore, because I had decided to publish it.
That did it! She started an aggressive schedule, and we were able to work on it every single night. We had it done by June, and then all I had to do was just edit the formatting!
Here’s my advice to fellow independent authors who cannot afford, or simply do not want to pay ridiculous fees for an editor: do not be afraid to be honest with your “editor”! I let things drag out too long! If you do not hear anything back in a couple of weeks, give them the “You don’t have to worry about it anymore, I’m publishing it now. Thanks for all of your help!” thing.
If that doesn’t work, and they are just like, “Okay,” then they didn’t really care, because they know it was their responsibility, and they failed. And then don’t hesitate to look for other people who love to read; they would probably love to have the opportunity to proof a novel! I remember back when I was a teenager, one of my friends asked me to proof, or “BETA” as we called it then, a fan fiction of theirs. I enjoyed it, because I loved to read! Even if someone is not really crazy about the subject matter, they will be curious simply because they like to read, and that the novel is going to be published will further intrigue them, and if they know you, then they’re going to want to read what you’ve been working on for so long, anyway! You do need to ask them how often they will be able to work on it, and when they have an estimate for you, make a schedule to meet with them periodically so you can address the changes, any questions they might have, and then you don’t have to worry about time slipping away from them as easily as it did for my editor. I didn’t hold us to a schedule, and that was my first and probably biggest mistake. Also, give the “editor” your phone number and e-mail address, so if they need to contact you before you meet, they will be able to. That will help things move along faster, too. And most of all, which probably goes without saying, DO NOT FORGET TO THANK THEM! You would not be able to publish your novel without their help! You should probably give them a free copy, too, so they can see the finished work you guys spent so much time on. That’s what I did.
Everything regarding “Ice” improved from there. I set out on foot putting up flyers around town, talking to shop owners about anyone that might be interested in selling a book by a local author, or simply interested in letting me put up a flyer. A lot of people couldn’t help me, but there was some valuable advice, too. Kelli of the Okie Crowe helped me tremendously! Her wonderful, darling shop is located on South Boston in the Philcade Building. She is really nice, her store that is full of unique things, as well. I love the shops in Downtown Tulsa! Everyone is selling either locally made items, and/or novelty treasures I haven’t seen anywhere else! I remember I bought a beer fizzing bath bomb from her, and it actually looked like beer! It even had foam on top! There are a lot of cute gifts in her store. I have been meaning to go back ever since. Kelli told me about William, and his store Decopolis, and how he was looking to work with local authors!
I set out to Decopolis from there. I remember I was too scared to ask if they wanted to sell my book, so I asked them if they would be interested in letting me put a flyer in their window, told them I was a local author, and if they knew of any shops that might let me advertise in their window. William said yes, and told me about some other shops, and as I started to walk away, he called out to me and told me he would like to sell my book, if I was interested. That was the start of a beautiful friendship!
Thank you, Kelli!
(By the way, I will have links to the stores mentioned at the bottom of this post.)
I had two book signings in 2013! I got my first royalty payment! (Yaaay again!)
No, I did not get a car in 2013 like I wanted, which I think must annoy some people I know, because a few people have really given me a hard time about it, going so far as to try to embarrass me in a room full of people. My book always came first, so I have no regrets. I am a writer, first and foremost, so that is how it will always be, and I will only have regrets if I don’t prioritize that way. You might think it irritates the people who drive me to work. But it doesn’t. They tell me the same thing: your book comes first. If I lived my life any other way, THAT would irritate them.
Publishing a book has a lot of unexpected expenses, which a lot of people don’t understand. Here’s my advice to you: if you are going to publish a book, it really does have to come first and other things are going to have to wait, otherwise, you will never get published! For example, I had used my parents computer to write most of “Ice” (I started it on a little Netbook which became the victim of a clever virus), and when it came down to the formatting business, their computer crashed. I had to suddenly buy a laptop, an expense I hadn’t been planning on. I purposely bought a Windows, because I was familiar with Microsoft Word. Well, I was in for a surprise: Windows computers no longer come with Microsoft Word, so I had to pay $110 for it! Then there was virus protection, since the free trial only lasts so long, a website…the list goes on and on.
In 2013, I made new friends and reconnected with old friends.
In 2013, I lost people dear to me, including my Aunt Billie, one of the people “Ice” is dedicated to. I often wonder what she would think of the book. Really think of it, not just what she would tell me because she loved me. She was always so excited to read it. I tell myself she would probably genuinely love it, just because it was by someone she loved, and that she would be proud of me no matter what my book was about, because that’s the type of wonderful, caring person she was.
Now that “Ice” is done, and 2013 is done, I can focus on the sequel, plan for future projects, and finally get that car!
I am so excited for the new year, and what it will bring for all of us! I look forward to hearing from you guys, and THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Happy New Year!
Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me, and who has read “Ice”!