If self-publishing was easy, everyone would be a published author. Self-publishing my first book taught me that writing is a tough gig.
You Can’t Just Write the Book and Walk Away (Too Little)
The ins and outs of writing, publishing and marketing are new to most authors. The work surrounding writing, editing, cover design, formatting and publishing a book is an endless loop until the book is for sale.
Writing my memoir “NEVER a $7 Wh*re” was already hard. I was returning to a painful period in my life when I was not making the best decisions. The book was about my running away with a pimp when I was seventeen. Serendipity interceded, and I escaped.
I wrote my book because, despite my teenaged craziness, I ended up being a respectable married woman with a wonderful family and outstanding career. I was determined to write that book for the next person.
Although I spent many evenings researching self-publishing, I never suspected the number of new processes I would need to learn to accomplish my publishing goal.
Every new writer must have “learning flexibility” but rigid execution. There are too many choices regarding methods to accomplish each new task. Identifying each new task then selecting the best solutions decisions that must be made carefully, or you will constantly switch solutions. Such shifts delay publishing of your book.
Planning (Too Little)
I was not prepared for the extensive planning and hard work it took to publish the book. Although I took three to four hours planning my book timeline. It was not enough. The timeline focused on the physical act of writing instead of the overall task of self-publishing a book.
My first book was a passion project: driven by a desire to tell my story and help others. Self-publishing the book required tenacity. I worked day and night to write the manuscript getting up early and going to bed late. The timeline I planned was irrelevant after three days. I struggled with the technology needed to build my author platform and with the techniques required to market my book.
Team Management (Too Late)
Part of getting my book published, involved working with numerous subcontractors to:
design my cover,
edit my book,
proofread my book,
format my book,
create my landing page,
and upload my manuscript to the distributor.
The planning it took to coordinate my book through the six separate queues listed above was tremendous. I started the hunt for professionals way too late. Locating and booking the required professionals was frustrating and exhilarating, often on the same day at the same time.
The subcontractors are your team. Since this was my first book, I needed to assemble that team. I decided what I wanted from each professional. I researched the industries, then located each of the professionals above, checked their backgrounds, spoke to their references, and got on their calendars in the order dictated by the schedule.
The issue was that since I was booking them as I completed each prior step, I often had to wait for a slot to come open or select a different vendor. As a result, I did not get to use some of my first choices.
Self-publishing is a tough gig. After all that work, I had an e-book that was published on the Amazon platform that no one knew was there. Oh, my.