Note: This is only a break from publishing. I still plan to be writing during this time.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been unable to shake off the feeling of being overwhelmed. No matter what I tried to adjust around my daily life, I couldn’t seem to work my way out of it. And then it occurred to me when I finished the first draft of One Enchanted Evening. I haven’t had a break from publishing books on a regular basis since 2015. And I’m exhausted. I need a vacation from publishing.
The writing part is no longer an issue. I got my enthusiasm back. The business angle, however, has taken its toll. I don’t have an assistant. I do all of this myself. In the past, I used to just write books, and then I published them once they were ready for the public. I didn’t plan out my publishing schedule.
Here’s what goes into the publishing side of things for each book:
- If making a pre-order, then do that before or after book is completed
- Create a Booklaunch page which gives information about the book with retailer links (useful if there’s have a pre-order), but this gives one link to send everyone to so it’s convenient
- Hiring a cover artist or making the cover myself
- Setting up the editors and beta readers to read over the book and working on an agreed-to-schedule
- Doing blog posts and other social media stuff to let people know the book is coming
- Making the email that will go out on release day
- Making the special scene or epilogue to go with the new release to send out to email list (some authors do something like this, and I’m one of them). This takes a week for me to write since I have trouble coming up with this.
- Work over final edits handed in by editors and beta readers
- Format ebook
- Upload ebook and fill out description page on retailer website and then check to make sure all of the ebook is there, and I upload on Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play
- Check each retailer (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Smashwords) and adding links to my blog (on my book page) and Booklaunch page (I update my website later)
- Announce new release in the email, on my regular blog, my monthly blog, on social media, update my website, etc
- Hire out for someone to format paperback or do it myself
- Work on paperback cover or hire cover artist to do this
- Upload the paperback book to Kindle Direct Publishing (used to be CreateSpace, but it’s all transferring to KDP now)
- Buy paperback copy and check for errors
- Buy paperback copies for beta readers
Anyway, today as I was thinking over having to go through all of that to get One Enchanted Evening out in October, I realized I didn’t have the energy to do all of that. I need to take a step back and give it all a rest.
I think the body gives us clues when it’s time to slow down. I don’t want to run myself ragged. While I’ve been doing good with getting regular sleep, avoiding bad foods, and spending time with my family on the weekends, I haven’t given myself enough time for exercise or to do anything for personal enjoyment (like reading some books that have been sitting on my shelf for the past year, or working on crossword puzzles, or just watching TV to let my mind decompress).
My goal is to get things going on the publishing side in December to get One Enchanted Evening ready for January. That allows me two and a half months to take some of the pressure off.
I’m afraid if I keep pushing myself on this publishing side, I’ll crash and burn. I just want to sit back and write for a while. So I’ll still be busy, but it’s a busy that energizes me instead of drains me. The business side drains me. I don’t mind having control over things, but it does require focus and time. I feel like I’ve been running in the “hurry up and get this book out” hamster wheel since the beginning of 2016. In addition to writing for passion, I guess I also need to stop the rushing to publish another book mindset.
The business side of writing greatly rewards authors who can get books out fast because it pays better than taking one’s time. That’s been especially true since 2014 or so. There was a shift that happened some point along that time period that made it harder and harder for indie authors to stay relevant unless they were constantly getting something new out there.
But sometimes people have to make hard decisions. Money is nice, but killing oneself to get more of it isn’t a good way to pursue things. I need to prioritize things in their proper place. God, my family, and my health have to come before the publishing stuff. (Some might say that putting my health before family would be best, but I’m a mom, and I don’t think moms can do that. We tend to be people who will sacrifice ourselves for our children.) Anyway, if I don’t get my priorities right, I believe my stories will suffer for it. So it’s a good idea to hit the refresh button (or whatever you want to call it) and figure out a strategy to get things lined up in their proper order.