Friday, July 18, 2014

Going Indie – A Book in the Hand is Worth…Everything

In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .
                               
Staring change and opportunity in the eyes.

Musical Moment ~ “Blue World” The Moody Blues

© Photo by Joe Dempsey
I haven’t been perfect with blogging the last few weeks, but that’s because the Indie publishing side of my life was pushed into overdrive. My book, The Hoppernots is coming out on August 5th and the last few weeks have been filled with work: hiring and working with the awesome book formatter Ali Cross of Novel Ninjitsu, uploading those formatted files to all the places you can find and purchase by book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press, Smashwords, Apple iBooks, and Kobo and (the hardest and longest process) I signed up with IngramSpark (my paperback book provider) and created the cover jacket of my paperback book. What a steep learning curb I had. I had to use Adobe InDesign to create the book jacket for in the template IngramSpark provided. I’ve never seen InDesign, never used InDesign, but now I (somewhat) know what I’m doing. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. (And yes, it looks like any book you would pick up at a bookstore.)

Anyway, last night I came home from work and found the UPS guy had gently laid a package on my doorstep. Yes folks, the proof copy of The Hoppernots arrived and I am overwhelmed with happiness.

I did it.

I FREAKING DID IT!!!

I set my mind, my heart, and my intention toward becoming a publisher and I not only created Pug Paw Press, but I officially became an author. This dream has been bubbling in me for years and I took the bull by the horns and steered it in the direction of my own choosing. It’s been a fun, sometimes scary, sometimes challenging ride, but a ride well worth it.

That’s it for right now. I’m going to bask in this moment and then it’s back to business:

The business of marketing and publicizing my new book.

The business of working on book two – THE HOPPERNOTS: CAUGHT IN A WEB.

The business of writing my next Going Indie blog post­­ because the process is just as important as the desired result of being an author and you can never have too much information on Going Indie.

The business of enjoying this feeling of accomplishment because…

I FREAKING DID IT!

Good luck and Good Writing,

Deb

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Thought...

You know what I've learned in my life? When days suck (or weeks or months), they can suck the life out of you and change your perspective, but when your days are glorious, happy, and filled with laughter and love, you need to grab on, hold tight, say "thank you, thank you, thank you" and let those emotions and thoughts grace your every day so that when your day sucks (or weeks or months), you can still remember the good and blessed moments and ride that high through to the other side. Be strong peeps.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Going Indie – Having A Plan


In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .
                               
Basking in the warm winds of summer.

Musical Moment ~ “Space Heater” Geggy Tah

Photo By: therecoveringpolitician.com, googleimages

Going Indie is a lot of work. It’s satisfying work, but it’s a lot because in this self-publishing gig, all or most of the work falls into your lap. You need to have a plan on what you need to do, when you need to do it, and you should identify when there are things you need to outsource to someone else, like book cover art, illustration, formatting, etc.

In my “regular” job I am a Project Manager, so I had an idea of how to tackle and identify what needed to be done to get me to publication. I created a Work Plan, which identified the following categories:

 Vision – Mission Statement, Business Plan, 5-Year Plan

  Editing - Finding an editor, Copyediting, Developmental editing, etc.)

  Marketing and Publicity – Kindle, Magazines, Online Journals, Facebook page, Twitter, Book Trailer, etc.

  Book Cover – Illustrator, Book Cover Designers

  Formatting – ePub, Mobi, PDF, Formatting for paperback, etc.

 Writer’s Organizations – Identify and join organizations to network, learn the craft, critique groups, etc.

  Conferences/Workshops – Find places to network, learn the craft, etc.

  eBook Retailers – Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, etc.

 Merchandise – If you decide to give out swag (i.e. bookmarks, pens) or sell products (t-shirts, cups, etc.) associated with your book(s).

  Website Design – Do it your self or find someone to hire (I did it myself).

Financial – You need to think about how you will keep track of your revenue and expenses, taxes, hiring an accountant, purchasing accounting software or creating your own accounting system to report to the IRS.

  Legal – LLC, Sole Proprietor, registering your company with your state (if creating a small press), etc.

  Miscellaneous – Business Cards, ISBN, Attorney, Metadata, etc.

These are just some of the items I have on my Work Plan. Every Work Plan will be different depending on your needs and goals. But I think it is necessary to have one in place to keep you focused and help you identify everything you need to accomplish your publishing dreams.

It looks daunting, but it is completely doable and, I believe, if you know what you face in choosing to walk the Going Indie path, then you can plan your next steps, manage your expectations, and even decide if Indie Publishing is the right path for you. Going Indie is not for the faint of heart, so know what you are getting into before making the deciding to go indie.

Do you have a working plan? What is your process to getting your books out on the market place?

Good luck and Good Writing,
Deb

Friday, June 13, 2014

Going Indie - Conferences and Workshops- Should You?


In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .

Wistful for my potential to be realized.

Musical Moment ~ “Velvet Show”  King of Leon

I’ve been off the blogging train for a couple of weeks basically recovering from May. May was a whirlwind of conferences and my annual girls weekend. While I was at the conferences, I had many conversations with people who had debated whether they would attend the conference this year due to cost, workshop types, travel, etc. I decided to chat about the pros and cons of attending conferences.

Keynote Speaker at NESCBWI: Laurel Snyder (She's amazing, but my pic not so much as I was live tweeting, because she is amazing.)

The early and mid-part of May I attended two conferences: the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (NESCBWI) in Springfield, MA and the Romantic Times (RT) Convention held in New Orleans this year. I love these conferences. There is nothing better than being apart of “your” community of artists who love what they do and want to share their books, art, and knowledge.

I debated whether or not to attend the NESCBWI conference this year, not because of cost or travel, but because I decided to Go Indie with my own publishing company PUG PAW PRESS.  Did the conference have what I needed? You bet it did. This year there were a number of workshops with Indie writers/publishers where I learned a ton of info on marketing, writing, book reviews, eBook formatting, ISBNs, craft, etc., and I got to meet other people contemplating Going Indie. The group was small, but it was the first year multiple workshops on this topic were offered and I believe the tide is changing for writers in all genres’ to creatively think how to reach our audiences, even the more challenging Middle Grade category which my upcoming novel THE HOPPERNOTS falls into. I felt validated. I felt that the path I have carefully chosen will be challenging and require flexibility and fearlessness, but is definitely the right choice for me. I also met and hung out with children’s writers faithfully sticking with the traditional route.

On the flip side, the RT Convention had so many Indie published authors (as well as traditionally published authors including E. L. James, Sylvia Day, Eloisa James, and Lisa Kleypas) that it felt as if I were stepping over writer’s especially the Indie-focused ones. Plus, extra benefit, the RT Conference is geared heavily toward readers, so I met and learned from readers what their interest were and how much they LOVED indie authors who now have the opportunity to write what’s in their adventurous heart’s and not what’s “hot now” or requested from their publishers. (Freedom, people!)  At RT, there was a ton of Indie workshops with a slew of people – traditionally, indie, and hybrid published, and those contemplating their publishing path. It’s definitely an experience going to two such different conferences, but well worth the time and money.

The is "The Darker Side of Thrillers"workshop at the RT Convention with (L-R) Andrew Peterson, Christopher Rice, M.J. Rose, Leo Maloney, Allison Brennan, and (my awesome friend and writer) Gennita Low.

The basis of the NESCBWI and RT conferences are the same: to network, meet your favorite authors, learn what publishers are looking for and open for submissions, meeting and learning from agents and editors, learning craft (Point of View, are you a Pantser vs. Plotter, the (hated) Query letter and Synopsis writing, Worldbuilding, listen to amazing keynote speakers and their inspiring stories, and…goodness the list of benefits go on and on and on.

But are conferences and workshops “have to do’s” to become published? No. It is not necessary, but it is valuable. If you can afford it (Cost can be from $50 - $500) and the time it takes (these particular conferences went from 3-6 days away from family and home) then I say do it. However, there are many resources online that are free or for a nominal fee where you can obtain great information (IndieRecon.Org, for instance). The biggest benefit of conferences and workshops is the connections to others you can make. You can meet your next best friend, your critique partner or group, or even make a connection with an agent or editor if you pitch your book idea just right.

Attending conferences/workshops provides valuable opportunities to network, learn tips and tricks on craft, give you ideas on making your own work bigger, better, and more powerful, as well as infusing your energy and intention as an artist. Seriously. I couldn’t sleep for a week after attending NESCBWI as my mind and muse would not shut down for all the ideas I received and implemented.

If you can’t attend either, read, read, read…or watch videos. You all know I am a huge fan of Harold Underdown. Check out his website, become friends with him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or anywhere else he’s online and socially active. He attends conferences and holds workshops in person and online and is a whiz on answering all kinds of industry questions and he is generous with his knowledge. He also has links to others in the industry who graciously share information. Or simply, let Google and Youtube be your best friend.

In the end, the answer is: No, it is not necessary to attend conferences or workshops, but give it a try at least once so that you can see what is offered and determine if they can benefit you.

Do you attend conferences/workshops? What benefits have your received?  Or not?

Good luck and Good Writing,
Deb