That is what went through my mind often as I ventured into the land of indie writing and publishing. That phrase was the followed with,
“I must be crazy!”
Writing is the easy part, it is the editing, formatting, cover design, promotions, and everything else that goes along with doing this on your own. I have had to repeatedly visit each avenue of indie publishing. If it wasn’t for a some great friends, groups like Clean Indie Reads and Christian Indie Authors, and a spot on sermon by my amazing pastor, I would have quit.
I never dreamed that I would write a book, let alone publish it. I thought I would always be a doting wife to my amazing husband, Jonathan, and loving mother for my children. I seriously thought that this was going to be my lot in life. My ministry was teaching my kids about God and His ways and making sure that they got a good education. (I homeschool our three kids) I have never been an overly intelligent person in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. I rely on Grammarly and my editors. As far as all the formatting, I had to read blogs and learn by doing. I very seldom know what some of the technical terms mean when it comes to publishing a book. Bleed, that’s what you do when you cut yourself, right? Nope, not in the world of writing and publishing.
I have had several people ask me about becoming a writer and what it takes. I laugh a bit inside, not to mock them, but the list of things that flow through my mind at that moment would be overwhelming for them if I began listing things off. So I thought I would take this opportunity to give those who are thinking of writing, a few tips.
- Make sure you have time to commit to it. When I started writing back in August. I had time, it was summer. We were not in school. The vacations were done. My husband had a schedule that allowed me to write without taking time from us. Now, as I am eager to get going on my next book, I am struggling to find an opportunity to focus on my craft. I tell my kids,”If you want to read better or dance better or play basketball better, you have to practice every day.” The same goes for writing. I have had to rearrange my schedules just to make time to write. If you can’t take at least an hour out of your day to write, you might want to re-think.
- Take your time. Don’t feel like you have to hurry to get this done. Take it from this impatient woman. Slow and steady wins the race. I probably epublished my book too soon. Even after I had an editor look at it, several times, and had 5 beta readers read it, one reader managed to find A LOT of mistakes. When it came time to put the book into print, I probably jumped the gun a bit and without asking too many questions, I had my book printed and ordered 60 copies. They all came with some major issues. That leads me to #3.
- Do your homework. If you are unsure of your knowledge in literature, writing, punctuation, refresh yourself. If you want to know how to write a gripping and compelling story, find a few blogs on the matter. If you want to put something into your manuscript but you have little knowledge of the situation, do your research. We have this wonderful tool called the Internet and it provides you with a wealth of information. Use it.
- It can be a lonely profession. I have had several fellow authors comment in the last week how lonely this profession can be. The friends you could once go to and talk about anything and everything now look at you like you have three eyes.It isn’t that they don;t want to know, they just don’t understand. They don’t get how your brain works. “Every situation has the potential to be a story.” They will support you by purchasing your books, but you can’t monopolize the conversations with plot ideas and timelines. You will lose them. Find some new friends. Those who write and you can bounce ideas off and they get the direction your brain is going. Save meeting your other friends for a time when you don’t want to think about writing all the time.
- Independent or Traditional? Do you want to take the time to find a traditional publishing company and agent? Or, are you like me and you want to do your own thing at your own time in your own way? Do your homework on this one too. I won’t go into all the pros and cons, there are more than enough blogs out there about this topic, but look them and weigh your options. Then, talk it over with someone who’s opinions your respect. Pray about it too. (If You pray)
- Pray!!! If you are wanting to get into faith-based writing, pray before you begin writing. Especially if you are struggling. I am a Christian writer. I will write nothing but stories were faith is part of the story. This is my way of sharing my experiences and the strength I have gained because of my faith. It has been I life line for me more times than not. The things I have seen and been through in this life, how could I not want to share it?
- Have fun! Need I say more? I love doing this. I get to let my mind go to places in a story that I would never get to in the normal word and still be considered sane. How could that not be fun?
At the end of the day, I love what I am doing. Writing has become an amazing outlet for me to express myself and share with those who read my stories the lessons I have learned so far. I hope you enjoy them.