The Good, Bad and Sometimes Very Ugly Realities of Self Employment

Good morning! Boy do I have lots to fill everyone in on about the comings and goings of business, writing and life in general in my home office.

But I’m going to tell it fast, furious, and as briefly as I possibly can.

You see, about a month or so ago I fractured my left wrist.

Now, I’m a righty so this isn’t the worst tragedy on earth but still, typing? Wasn’t happening.

The good news is that I caught up on a couple shows I never finished watching and reminded myself of the importance of naps, pain relievers and grippy things that help you open jars.

The bad news is that without the ability to type or even move very much, my working life slid into oblivion.

Just as Kate & I were getting the Blogging Your Book blog off the ground, I had to go and limit my working ability!

Can someone say, frustrating?

It’s a pro and con to run your own business

The pro is that there’s no pressure, no one is beating down my door to finish the next blog post or newsletter. So I can take the time I need to rest and heal.

The con, of course: no income!

But I had to let some stuff slide so I could be smart about healing.

As A+ as my personality is, it was important to get the rest I needed in order to have a functional arm for the long-term as opposed to busting out a few hundred words in the short-term.

But I couldn't just sit here forever. I was starting to go a little crazy. So I purchased voice to text software, started writing in a journal with my one good arm and transcribed everything by talking.

It feels pretty great to be working again!

Which is good because…

In addition to Blogging Your Book, I’m also taking part in NaNo for the 4th time this November.

Yup, as in starting this Saturday!

For those of you who have never attempted or heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month. This is a challenge put out to the world by the good folks at The Office of Letters and Light, an organization dedicated to helping people pursue their creative passions.

I’ve done 2 NaNos (writing a 50,000 word novel in only the month of November) and won both times. In fact, my first self-published novel came from one of those crazy November word-purges.

And I also failed once at a Camp NaNo but did so on purpose.

Camp happened in August of 2012 and that’s when I wrote the majority of Reckless Abandon, which I self-published in October of that same year. As far as I’m concerned I may not have “won” the contest to hit the word count, but I got another book written and released so I won in many other ways.

And that’s what I’m looking forward to this year!

For the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of time to think and plan and it hit me: Kate and I teach book marketing but my last book was released 2 years ago. It is high time to get back in the saddle again.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been planning to give Shaw McLeary, my sometimes fearless main character from Reckless Abandon, her very own series for a while now.

Well, here we go, boom!

Building stages of plotting have begun for the next 3-5 books in the series so if you enjoyed her the first time around there will be more to come!

So where am I with all of this healthwise?

I can type with 7 fingers for about an hour before my arm starts to feel sucky. A vast improvement over 2 weeks ago, but I obviously still have a long road ahead. That’s why I’m so jazzed about the voice conversion software.

Because 50,000 words within 30 days won’t be easy.

But I’m absolutely looking forward to every crazy minute of it!

Have you done NaNo? Would you consider writing 50,000 words in one month? Share your experiences in the comments and then look me up over there and let’s connect as Writing Buddies! 

Putting my Talents and Skills to Good Use with a New Business Venture

Okay, I'm not going to apologize for this but I know it has been over two months since I shared any kind of update over here.

Like I said, I won't say sorry because life and other priorities do sometimes get in the way of blogging, even when blogging is your life and priority! But what I will do is share with all of you the amazing things that have been coming together over the past couple months.

There has been a very good reason for why I disappeared.

I’m in the midst of starting a new business with a great friend and colleague, a fellow writer and blogger and I am really, really excited to finally share it with all of you!

But before I get to the good stuff let me ask you a question:

Have you ever had an a-ha moment?

That one moment in time that causes all of your everything to come crashing together in a collision that both expands your mind and pinpoints the exact thing you’re supposed to be doing with your life?

When I was about 14 years old I had one of those. I started writing fiction and it was like everything clicked.

I felt like I’d finally found the thing I was good at. The thing I could put my entire personality into. To me, writing fiction was like being sucked into a black hole where I’d lose hours of time but it never felt like a loss because I was living in another time and place. One that I invented.

Fast forward through my life and take a pause in August 2012. That’s the month I wrote my second book, Reckless Abandon. That experience – writing a book that seemed to flow so easily out of my mind and fingers - opened me up to my second a-ha moment:

I knew I finally had enough life experience to use all that fiction writing to become a big famous fiction author!

Um, I know what you’re thinking…

What the hell happened?

Trust me, I thought the same thing.

And I thought it daily.

My sales went nowhere. My marketing was pitiful. I had no clue what I was doing and realized that no matter how good I was at the writing part, all that other stuff was so much more important to being the big famous fiction author I wanted to be.

How did I find that out?

Plain and simple research.

That research led me to read about a lot of tips for marketing online. Tips for how to use a blog to my best advantage.

Then I learned I could write blogs for clients. For an income. That I could actually find people that would hire me to write stuff for them online.

A-ha moment 3.

I’d already been blogging for 5 years. Maybe some of you have stumbled across my Randomness and Lunacy. I loved blogging and always wondered if I could do it for a living. Apparently I could.

But it was going to take a small shift. I needed to stop blogging about my crazy inner ranting and start sharing useful information about my experiences. Then I could blog for myself and others and make some money while I tried to get my fiction stuff off the ground.

I took classes. I practiced. I got some clients to pay me to write for them. I got some longer term people to hire me to write lots of interesting content that forced me to research a lot about a lot.

I made some money. Money that even helped my husband and I complete some home renovations and take vacations.

Not enough to live on just yet but I listened to all those people who taught the classes and wrote the blogs I loved. They said to be patient and work really hard. That I too could make six figures a year as a blogger!

It sounded all kinds of awesome.

I was seduced by the cash. Drawn in by the promise of better paying clients with great work.

I kept waiting for that part to happen while writing and writing. I pitched, wrote consistently and couldn’t get anything going. I would make a tiny bit of money so I’d stick it out. This was my daily routine for well over 2 years.

And I left my fiction in the dust.

I shoved my passion in a drawer.

Want to know the truth?

I missed it. A lot.

But I had all these newly learned skills that I wasn’t quite ready to give up on. Mostly because I paid a LOT of cash to get them and I thought that meant I had to use them in the exact way they were presented.

That if I learned about copywriting I should be a copywriter. If I learned how to write success stories that’s what I needed to offer as a service.

The reasons I’d first started writing seemed so far behind me.

A writer with no purpose or direction, I simultaneously felt like I had far too many potential career paths set out in front of me.

I was struggling with my worth as a writer, struggling with financial independence and struggling with reasons why I shouldn’t just go get a job as a bagger at my local grocery store.

Then I went to my writer’s meeting last spring and every single a-ha moment came into clear focus.

They formed the true and total a-ha moment I’d been spinning toward for years.

My colleague Kate and I sat next to each other, ready to learn from the speaker.

But what we ended up learning that night was that we both needed to stop relying on clients for our income.

We needed to take control of our businesses.

We needed to use our skills to provide a useful service to people like us.

One a-ha moment to rule them all

By the end of the night we realized we needed to work together.

I won’t go into all the details of the creation, (if you want to read about that you can visit our About page) but long story short:

Kate and I found a way to draw on both of our experiences writing for the web as well as our background in fiction to start this business.

It's called Blogging Your Book!

Blogging Your Book is the culmination of the past 27 years of my writing life.

Blogging Your Book is an opportunity to help aspiring authors.

Blogging Your Book is the only thing I want to focus my energy and attention on.

Let me see if I can explain what this feels like…

Imagine a fully finished puzzle sitting on a table. Each piece is attached to a piece of fishing line. At the exact same moment all those lines get pulled into the air, flinging every piece into a state of suspended flotation.

But someone was filming the whole thing.

Now, watch that scene in slow-motion, in reverse.

Every single piece of the puzzle falling so perfectly into their proper place on the table. Like a bird’s feather falling back to the earth to land with a whisper exactly where it belongs.

Years of studying, cramming, practicing finally making sense.

Yup. It’s pretty rad, calming and satisfying.

We’re not 100% up and running yet, our official workshop launch is happening in about 4 months, but you can subscribe to our newsletter now and I really think you should especially if you’re:

  •          An author who doesn’t know where to go with your book.
  •          An aspiring author who hasn’t published yet.
  •          A writer considering penning a book someday.
  •          Someone who enjoys blogging.
  •          In need of inspiration on your own writing journey.

So what does all this mean for this blog?

It means some formatting changes are likely happening in the next couple weeks.

That posting is likely going to cut to only 1-2 posts per month while I focus on writing for BYB with Kate (blogs, workshops and webinars).

Posts here are going to move back toward Author tips (and I’m so thankful for having learned the craft of blogging for business so I can bring the best advice in the best way!).

And I’m pretty likely going to find some time to start working on my fiction again.

Because what good is it teaching authors how to blog their book and find their fans if I’m not doing the same?


Don’t forget, sign up for the Blogging Your Book newsletter now so you can stay on top of the great tips we’re already sharing as well as the details for our workshops launching next spring!

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5 Ways to Look Like an Internet Idiot

It has long been said by many a famous and infamous person that listening is a far more important skill than talking.

Those people would have been mortified by the internet.

Because in today’s day and age, it’s less often we find ourselves in a room full of people having conversations and far more often that we end up “in” a little electronic box full of people’s typed ramblings.

So my question:

Is “talking” on the internet the same thing as an in-person meeting and does listening even apply to the internet?

In my humble opinion? It applies even more online than in a face-to-face setting.

Stephen R. Covey said it well (and you should listen!)

Here’s a quote I really like that kind of sums up exactly what I’m going to detail in this post:

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." -- Stephen R. Covey

Covey must have been talking about people who post comments on the internet! Because, more often than I’d like to see, people online run rampant with their opinions, bad attitude and complete disregard for the hard work that writers put into their work.

These trolls essentially talk without listening.

People can be very self-centered, that’s human nature to a point, but that emotion is so heightened online because we’re in control of the words we write and no one can interrupt or cut us off from saying them. 

Talking and talking about whatever floats from your brain into your fingers can be a scary prospect though. And it can alienate your readers until they all go away.

Death for a writer. Don't let it happen to you, check out these 5 tips to stop being an internet idiot.

You might be an internet idiot if…

1. You don’t notice that no one’s listening anymore.

I’m not talking about newer writers trying to establish an audience with no comments yet. I mean seasoned writers who have lost their audience engagement (this could also be due to any of the next 4 points as well so keep reading).

We’ve all been at those parties where the annoying person keeps rambling on, oblivious to the fact that the people around them have checked out, stopped paying attention and maybe even walked away. Don’t be that person online!

If your posts used to get great engagement but of late you’re finding they have little to no traction then it’s time to go back to writing about what people wanted to read.

Engagement and conversation is the key to a healthy internet network. Listen to your readers by their clicks and comments and give them what they want to hear.

2. Your comments lack any connection to the original post.

This one is tricky because there’s a fine line between adding to the conversation and hijacking someone else’s post for your own gain.

There are going to be times when you read something that stirs some kind of emotion inside you. Your instinct will be to post a comment sharing your experience. Great! True connection is so crucial when chatting through the typed word.

What isn’t great? Making it clear you didn't read the original post and your reaction is purely due to the headline.

Comments can bring traffic too and lots of people use them for that very thing. But it's tacky. At least make a point to skim a post when a headline draws you in.

Click first. Comment later.

3. You never promote anyone but yourself.

Hey, I get it. In this business shameless self-promotion is sometimes the key to getting your message and name out there. But what about all those useful things you read that inspired your posts?

Sharing, as they say, is caring.

If you don’t take the time to at least offer something useful outside of your own writing, what do you think your connections will think? They’ll think it’s time to walk away from your selfish ways and start promoting others who are more reciprocal.

Because making things happen online is all about scratching each other’s backs. If you never extend your arm, why would you expect them to do that for you?

4. You don’t act genuine, or, you’ve got two personalities.

A certain level of professionalism in all of your online correspondence is never a bad thing. We leave our imprint on the world with the words we use in any given situation – our blog posts, forum posts, group chats, social media conversations and more.

But that doesn’t mean you should become someone else entirely. Just be you!

If “you” is a jack-ass then that’s what I expect to read in your posts. Don’t be flowery and shiny in your posts and a snarky bastard in your conversations.

That’s how you lose listeners.

And there are listeners, readers, even for a snarky jack-ass. People who relate to your voice will read.

You don’t have to connect with everyone. There are far better ways to engage than to be fake just to reel people in.

There are way too many internet trolls out there already, don’t be one of them.

5. You have no connection to what you’re writing.

It’s important to learn new things and experiment with new writing styles. We writers love to dive in and do research then report on our findings.

However, if you don’t care about your article, have no real interest in the subject matter and only write it in order to stay at the top of search engines, your words will feel impersonal and cold.

And like Goldilocks discovered, too cold is yucky.

If you don’t know enough about what you’re writing then do more research. If you don’t care about what you’re writing then write something else.

It’s more likely people will listen if they feel you have a true connection to the material you’re sharing.

Bottom line?

Listen to your readers. Engage in meaningful conversations in comment sections or forums. Actually read what other people write and congratulate them for the hard work that went into creating that post.

Listen to their words, appreciate them, and they’ll do the same for you.

We’re all out here trying to fill the internet with better writing so remember – no one ever got anywhere on their own. Help them and they will in turn help you.

Image courtesy Victor Habbick on

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5 No-Fail Ways to Come Up with a Blog Topic

You probably noticed that I took last Friday off from posting. I didn't have any posts scheduled and with a huge surge in business that had me running like crazy, I was thisclose to taking today off too.

Then it hit me.

This is the time to post, not the time to take a break!

In the busiest of times when work is going great, all’s smooth on the pond, it could be tempting to stop marketing. But keeping up with your marketing and connections is more important than ever when you’re busiest.

Why? Because you’re able to share what you’re learning in real time advice.

Your current experiences are timely, personal and that much easier to write because you’re so connected to the material. There’s going to be a healthy dose of passion behind your words.

I’ve struggled with keeping balance between my two writing worlds – blogging and writing fiction. When I’m killing it in one it seems like I run out of inspiration or time for the other.

And what I usually end up leaving in the dust is the blog. Why? Because the book only has one plot. I have to come up with creative and fresh posts every time.

I wanted to make sure I kept blogging even if I was at a lack of inspiration.

What worked for me was asking myself these 5 sure fire questions to come up with a post even when I’m running on empty. See if they'll work for you:

1. What have I done in the past few days aside from writing?

Even those of us who work from home do something every day outside of work. That might be nothing more than running 100 loads of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, having dinner with your family or watching a favorite television show.

All of those personal errands can become a post. You just have to be creative in how you think about them.

Running laundry? Write a post on why a clean and organized house helps you focus so you can write with ease. Watching a show or movie? Write a review from the point of view of a writer – talk about the script, what you did and didn’t like.

2. What are my friends, family and connections up to online?

When I’m in an uninspired mood I find myself drawn to the Facebook black hole of time suckage. But instead of using it to play Farmville, I use it to farm inspiration. Among the vast number of articles and graphics out there, sooner or later I’m bound to read something that prompts a response.

The response is what I write. Connection to your passion about the topic will put passion behind your words and readers will be able to relate.

3. What’s my favorite thing about being self-employed?

I hate being forced out of bed and feel that alarm clocks should be put on a boat, sent to a remote island and destroyed. And that’s the best benefit of self-employment to me – rising when I naturally feel like it.

Which leads-in to writing about any number of topics - time management, self-employment schedule benefits, self-employment benefits in general...

Even if you aren’t full-time self-employed this trick can work. Just think in reverse – what are the things you don’t love about your full-time job that you would change when you’re self-employed? Write it out!

4. What’s something you’ve always wanted to know about but never learned?

Research is one of the most important skills any writer can have. Yes, even above and beyond the ability to write! So when things aren’t flowing you can use those research skills to explore an entirely new topic and share what you learn.

I love keeping my finger on the pulse of the Green industry. New products, services or other eco-options that companies can use to be more environmentally responsible are things I love to write about in down times.

If you’re a B2B writer you might want to study a specific company, product or service and write a non-biased overview of it. Even a fiction writer might discover a new skill for character development and post about the specifics.

5. What’s going on in my writer community?

We all get pressed for time. After all, life happens in addition to all that business related stuff.  During times like that I ask myself if there’s anyone I can promote, talk about or suggest to the readers of my blog.

The other bloggers I read, the writers I love and the classes that helped me become a better writer are always things that could help someone else too.

Promoting them with a short post can be a great way to keep a consistent schedule on your blog, help others and give a shout to someone you respect. Win-win-win!

If you’re anything like me you’re going to experience times where your words don’t seem to flow and that’s okay. Just ask yourself a few questions about what’s going on in your life outside of work and it will open up your eyes to a whole slew of new blog post ideas.

Image Courtesy Stuart Miles on

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Without Visualization there can be no Persuasion

I keep finding these terrific topics that seem to apply to both fiction writers and bloggers who freelance for income. That’s so cool when it happens because I feel like my two writing worlds are giving each other a big, cozy hug.

What came to me today might seem like it wouldn’t apply to both but it does indeed make a huge difference when writing either. What’s the topic?

Without visualization there can be no persuasion.

You might be asking – how do I persuade in fiction? What makes this device necessary when creating a world from your imagination?

Encouraging the reader to care about the characters will mean they want to stick around for the outcome, AKA, The End.

Encouragement = persuasion because that’s the part where you add the flowery details that make your narrative resonate. That’s the stuff they can envision so they get drawn into the story.

In fiction we persuade through many devices – sentence length, use of adjectives, scene, structure of the story, structure of the page layout, the things our characters do...

Bloggers might think they don't build imaginative worlds.

But don't they?

In blogging we persuade through many devices in the writing – sentence length, use of adjectives, scene, structure of the story, structure of the page layout, the things our characters do…

Wait, isn’t that the same thing I just said about fiction? Yup. Because it’s true for both.

For bloggers, persuasive language is the key to writing posts that are enjoyable to read but help convert the reader to take action.

At the end of the post most if not all successful Bloggers generally make a sales pitch or share some other call to action they want their readers to take.

To get that click, you might add a story about someone you know who was able to take advantage of the benefits of whatever it is your post is selling – services, product, subscribers, etc.

To tell a complete and compelling story means you’re encouraging a reader to stick with you to the end and, just like in fiction, encouragement = persuasion.

Readers will devour blogs or fiction when they have a hook

Something that teaches, inspires, shocks a reader. But most important, answers their questions.

Fiction writers can do this by unveiling a character trait in such a way the reader can visualize the scene in their mind.

For example, a little old lady next door who seems sweet and innocent for the first ten chapters is seen by a neighbor repeatedly slapping her wheelchair-bound husband in chapter eleven. Whoa!

As the writer it’s your job to detail answers to the reader’s questions through the remainder of the narrative and dialogue. The ones you know they’ll have like:

  • Why did she do that?
  • When did it start?
  • Is there more to their story as a couple?
  • Is she evil or is he evil?
  • Just how deep do their problems go?

You unveil as the story goes on, bit-by-bit, and the reader is hooked right up until that little old lady’s final breath.

Bloggers have a little less space to craft the hook that has a reader sticking around to the end. But it’s still our job to build that 800-2000 word world where a reader is shocked, gets inspired, or comes away with more knowledge than they had coming in (welcome to the party!).

Sometimes we use flowery prose that makes or breaks a reader’s feelings about a particular product, service, etc. Plus, the piece needs to be organized well, flow with ease and have a particular voice.

When you write a blog the headline should be the shock factor – it’s the little old lady slapping her husband, and your reader is the husband. Through the rest of the piece share personal stories, quotes, shocking revelations you discovered in your research. All things that keep readers reading!

You structure the piece to answer one last question and then – boom! – right at the end you reveal the answer and wrap up the post quickly so your reader can comment and share.

Whether a reader longs to be whisked away into an imaginary world or learn how to make more money online, fiction writers and bloggers can use persuasion to send a reader wherever they want them to be.

Image courtesy Stuart Miles on

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Why No One Talks About What Makes Self-employment Difficult

Do you mind if I confess something right now?

Sometimes it's really hard to be self-employed.

And though it hurts to admit it out loud, there were things about working for a company that really rocked.

Steady paychecks, predictable tax rates, only having to do one job.

Research and development, sales and marketing, and all things technical were handled by departments other than mine. It was great!

Wasn't it?

Self-employment is definitely a much bigger challenge because of the lack of guarantees but on any given day I'd prefer to be in control of all those other things because it means I carve out my own success.

And what's more fulfilling than that?

Limited potential to grow as an employee

As an employee I didn’t have to worry about much other than the general state of the economy. On the other hand, when I found a decent position with a company it became almost impossible to move up.

And therein is the real reason I went out on my own. As an employee I wasn’t really in charge of my own destiny. I had no say if the company stayed open for business. If they went under, I did too, no matter how good I was at my job.

Being self-employed means never having to be limited by anything other than my own drive to make my company as successful as I want it to be.

However, that's the thing that no entrepreneur likes to admit. The thing that no self-employed person is supposed to acknowledge because it might make us sound whiny or weak.

But I don't care about that because it's high time it got out there.

Sometimes, finding the drive to work is the thing that’s most difficult to find.

Sure ambition is key to success but, is it just me or do you struggle with getting the gumption every single day too?

In a company you only get so many sick or personal days, you had no choice but to show up. Being self-employed means setting your own schedule and sometimes that includes time off.

And time off is one of the reasons most of us wanted to work for ourselves in the first place, right? So taking a day here or there when you’re just not feeling it is perfectly fine.

The key is not taking too much time off.

Keep pushing even when you don’t want to or risk losing all drive

Yes it’s true that there’s freedom in being on our own. However, that freedom only comes after a good deal of hard work.

Don't feel like writing your book today? Write a blog post. Don't feel like writing a blog? Write some tweets. Don't feel like writing anything? Do research on a character, work on something else creative (helps open creative channels) or get out of your environment for a while.

Then come back and start writing.

Because in the long run it might seem really attractive to abuse our powers of freedom and flexibility but it's way tougher to get back on track when you fall off in the middle than it is to just keep rolling down the tracks.

No matter how slow you go.

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Self-publishing Versus Traditional Publishing - A Guest Post

Today's post comes to us from Lorna Riley, a self-publisher of children's books and a fantastic informational blogger for children's self-publishing topics.

You're in for a great read, enjoy!

• • •

Why Self-publishing is Better than Traditional Publishing
by Lorna Riley

Self-publishing – the gaping wide mouth that swallows up lost and weary authors, adrift on the sea of rejection.  Like the Kraken, it wraps its tentacles around them, pulling them down and down, deep into the murky waters; never to be seen or heard of again.  Except, when the mist draws in, it is said that disembodied voices may be heard drifting across the twittersphere: come buy, come buy, my free books do try…

But, is it really all that bleak?  Is it possible to make a success of self-publishing?  I hope so!  But it doesn’t happen by magic, you have to work at it.  Do you have to work harder than a traditionally published author?  Not necessarily, but you do have to be more self-motivated and make your own opportunities. 

That’s not such a bad thing, though.  Is it?  Actually, when you really think about it, going it alone could be the best thing that ever happened to you.  But, just in case you’re not entirely convinced, here’s why…

1) Editing your Manuscript

So, you don’t have an army of professional proof-readers to go through your work and pick out all your mistakes and correct them all for you.  That means you’ll have to do it yourself.  The problem is, you never did quite get to grips with when to use a semi-colon, and the rules about when and where to use commas seem to change depending on which book you read. 

Well, you know what, now’s the perfect time to figure it out for yourself.  And the lovely fellows at the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts are here to help, with some fabulous exercises to straighten out your grammar and punctuation. But be warned, you will become one of those annoying, know-it-all grammar nerds that sighs at every comma splice you find.

However, once you’ve given it a good once- / twice- / thrice-over yourself, you really should get a professional to look at it, too.  Research shows that those earning the most from self-publishing are those that have gone the extra mile to make sure the product they’re offering is the best it can be.

But, when you’re in the midst of wrestling with your work-in-progress, don’t assume the traditionally published author has got it so much easier.  First of all, they will have needed to edit and polish their work to get it accepted in the first place.  It’s only then that it will be subjected to the scrutiny of lots of different pairs of eyes.

Sounds great doesn’t it?  Not necessarily.  Because, with lots of different people comes lots of different opinions, and the next thing you know your book’s got a few extra sex scenes and your main character is doing things you hadn’t originally envisaged.  Maybe they’re right and it makes your book all the better for it, but would it still feel like it was yours?

2) Marketing you Book

Fair enough, editing your own manuscript may not be such a bad thing.  But, surely, as far as promoting your book is concerned, the big publishing houses hold all the cards?  Right?  What do we mere writers know about sales and marketing? 

Well, if you’re anything like me, not a lot.  Yet.  But there are plenty of lovely people out there, in the same boat as you, who know a whole lot more and are willing to share their pearls of wisdom with you. 

Like Jenn, for example.  And, with the rise of social media, we’ve got a much better chance of engaging with our readers than ever before. 

So, go on – get out there and set up your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your blog, your website and whatever else floats your boat.  Let the world know that you and your book are ready and waiting. 

If you are willing and able to properly engage with your customers, they will develop a sense of ownership, a sense of loyalty, and start promoting your book for you.  That’s when your sales will really start to grow.

It may be a long hard slog, but it’s all on your own terms.  You get to choose how your book cover looks (but do get a professional to design it for you!), you get to choose how to pitch your book and where it fits best in the market.  You get to write the blurb on the back of your book - making sure that it entices, without giving too much away. 

On top of that, you get to choose when, how and where you’ll travel to promote your work.  Want to go to one book fair, but not another?  Fine.  Don’t want to travel at all?  Fine.  Want to take some time out to write the next one?  No problem.  The only person you’ve got to answer to is yourself.  

3) Sales Figures

Now this is where you’ve got me.  Of course the big publishing houses are going to be able to generate more sales than a single author all by themselves.  I’m not going to argue with you there.  However, do you know how much of the sales revenue actually filters down to the author themselves? 

Well, this can vary, depending on the author or whether it’s a hardback or paperback, but you’re looking at around 10% of the cover price.  Although it can be lower, particularly if you’re a picture book author splitting your royalties 50:50 with the illustrator.  eBook royalties are usually around 25%.

But, when you’re self-publishing with a print-on-demand publisher like CreateSpace, for example, you’re looking at about 25% of the list price of a paperback and 70% of the list price on an eBook.  So, whichever way you look at it, it’s a much higher percentage when you go it alone.  Roughly three times more than what you’d get through a traditional publisher. 

It can’t really be that lucrative, though, can it?  Surely, self-publishing is just vanity publishing under another name.  If the big publishing houses aren’t interested, then it’s because it’s just not going to sell, is it?  If you don’t believe me, then check out the research and see for yourself. 

It is possible to make a decent living as a self-published author.  You’ve just got to make it all happen yourself. 

Images courtesy:

About the Author

Lorna Riley was an average mother of two… until one fateful day when The Stories, mischievous little creatures that they are, crept into her brain whilst she was sleeping.  And she’s never been the same since.  Sir Nibbles, The Famouse Cupboard Raider Extraordinaire, is Lorna’s first foray into self-publishing and, with the help of the fabulous illustrator John Balsley, it should be ready later on in the Spring.

If you’d like to say hello, here’s my website and I can also be found twittering here.  Sir Nibbles is on Facebook and is due to have his own website later on in the Spring, too.