Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Here We Go Again: An IWSG Post

 Today is the first Wednesday of the month which means it's time for another installment of Alex J. Cavanaugh's increasingly popular Insecure Writer's Support Group where writers all over the blogosphere shout out (or whatever) their insecurities and receive back words of understanding and support from those who have been there and survived that.  Click on the link for more information or for a complete list of participants.

So, last year at this time, I was writing a post about my new endeavor to self publish my novel.  I was going to publish that novel by April June September October November December 2012.  I even won a giveaway and had little 'promotional' stickers made up:



that are now delightfully incorrect, like a newspaper declaring Dewey the winner over Truman. You know, only without all the significance to the actual world.

But then I didn't.

(I know. You're all like "Really? Why didn't you say something? I mean, it didn't really sink in the first 500 times you mentioned it but now I get it!")

So I'm kind of starting over this year. 2012 turned out to be a learning year. A building year, like when a baseball team loses all its starters and has to start from scratch.  I fortunately don't have to start from scratch so 2013 will be the year my team wins the World Series.  Or, since it's football season and my team's in the playoffs, 2013 will be the year my team wins the Super Bowl.  Or, at least makes the Super Bowl.

And I am slowly starting to be okay with that. Slowly. I don't want to dwell. I know I have been and I don't mean to dwell and be hard on myself and kick myself when I'm down. I want to jump up and knock this thing out of the park. I want to split the uprights and... whatever the equivalent of a home run is in football. And I think I can do it. I like to think I'm smarter and wiser and closer to the finish line than before.  I like to think that come January 2014, I won't be writing this post over again. You all have been a wonderful group and I feel bad— really bad— about my broken record-ness.

So it ends now.

And if it's not too much to ask you for a favor... If you're a self published author and there's something you found out about the experience that you wish someone had told you before you started wading in these waters, I'd love to hear about it.

Here's the inspiration behind today's post's title:




ONE LAST THING OF NOTE: Author Christa Desir has come up with a great idea: The Jan Plan.  You may have seen it on other blogs or on Twitter but the idea is starting the year off right by actually finishing something.  The something is up to you. Maybe it's a NaNoWriMo project. Maybe it's your laundry (or is that just at my house?). Whatever it is, it doesn't matter. But it's a great thing for writers in which to consider taking part. If you're interested, be sure to head over to her site to check it out...



84 comments:

  1. You know, it will happen when it happens. I have been super impatient with my first book getting out there to the point I thought of self publishing it. I got so upset about it being put off by my publisher a couple of times, but life happens. Don't rush it, it isn't worth the stress. Trust me.

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    1. I really don't think I'm rushing it. I'll certainly not put it out before I am completely happy with it.

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  2. You already have the one thing that I learned the hard way: have a good cover. And you have it by the best, so you should be good.

    BTW, did you manage to grab "Christmas on the Corner" while it was free?

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    1. I do have a beautiful cover. That's true.

      I didn't get "Christmas on the Corner" when it was free. But I did buy it. Finding time to read it (and the entire Shadow Spinner series)... that's still to come.

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    2. Well, I look forward to your reviews :)

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  3. Things about self-publishing I wish someone had told me ... after the first time you hit "publish" - it becomes quite an addiction lol!

    Good luck this year! :D

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    1. That's an addiction I think I could live with. Thanks, Kyra.

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  4. That vid is awesome. Wish I'd have thought of it. lol
    I think the trick with self-pubbing is you're never sure if you're truly ready. You always wonder if it could be better. I self-pubbed under a pen name 2 years ago for a cause, not for a profit, and I did pretty much no marketing/promo. Very little. Which meant the book has gone nowhere. I haven't had time to invest in it. So my recommendation to you is have a marketing plan and spend a few months after publishing in blog tours and marketing any way you can.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I love the "ice skating" part of that video so much. If I attempted it though, I'd end up falling and hurting myself. I'd still try it though.

      Thanks for the advice. I haven't worried so much about marketing yet but it's there, looming in the back of my mind.

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  5. I wish you all the best with winning your Super Bowl. I know that you can do it. I am glad that you learned so much in 2012, as that experience is priceless. Best of luck.

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    1. Yes, I learned what not to do so I should be on the right track now.

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  6. You CAN do it, MJ. No excuses. Just win your Super Bowl.

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    1. That's the plan. I just hope my book doesn't sprain its ankle during the playoffs.

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  7. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, but it doesn't mean we need to stop. Just means we need to learn how to get something done.

    You'll get there. I know you will.

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  8. I still say it's okay to dwell for a bit if you need to - the trick is to come out of it sooner rather than later. This will be your year, MJ!

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    1. I don't know that I ever need to dwell. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

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  9. I think 2013 is the year you finally give birth to that book (and looking forward to it). It may not be the year the Patriots go to the Superbowl, however, since they have to go through Denver. :PP

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    1. Thanks, Luanne. But wait... didn't the Pats already beat Denver once this year? =)

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  10. I think there's something to be said about taking your time and learning and doing something right too. You WILL get there. Sometimes it takes a little longer than we think it will, but in the end it's worth it. :)

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    1. Yeah, making sure I'm doing it right is most important to me.

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  11. Where to begin? I had to find out so much myself. Then I joined a Yahoo! Writing Group and gleaned much wisdom and advice from them. If you haven't, try joining a Yahoo! Group. I highly recommend it.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into it.

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  12. I started out on a Yahoo! Group too, Stephen. How funny. I ADORE Christa. What a brilliant idea. And MJ, 2013 is a NEW YEAR. Anything is possible. You CAN do this!!!!

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    1. Apparently, a Yahoo! group is the way to go. And yeah, Christa is brilliant.

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  13. I'm not self-published, so all I can do is offer you the very best of luck. Being completely sure the book is ready is more important than sticking to a deadline!

    I look that clip :-)

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    1. I'll take luck. I'll take anything I can get.

      And I agree with you. That's a big part of why I haven't put the book out before. I didn't think it was ready yet. But I think so now. Some times.

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  14. Winning the Super Bowl is overrated. You put in all that work and all you get is this crappy ring.

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    1. A shiny crappy ring...

      In this metaphor, me just publishing the book will be a win.

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    2. Actually I hear the rings are quite nice. I was just making an incredibly terrible joke. I've lost track of the metaphor, as one does.

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    3. It was a pretty labored metaphor to begin with. Thank the cold medicine. I should never blog while under the influence of cold medicine.

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  15. A learning year is just as valuable. I have a ton of manuscripts sitting on my shelf that will likely always be learning tools. Doing it slowly and surely, you can do it! :) The Jan Plan sounds cool. I need to get a project done before the end of the month myself.

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    1. Then you should definitely look into the Jan Plan. It could be just the thing you need.

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  16. My experience with publishing is darn close to self-publishing so here's my advice:

    1) Before you officially publish it to buy, get some ARCS out to trusted readers who will write and post some awesome reviews on Goodreads so that when your book goes live on Amazon they can cut and paste. The reason: There are trolls on Amazon that WILL hit you with a 1-star review. Trust me. They are bitter, horrible people that don't want anyone to succeed (I suspect they are authors). You need a cushion to buffer that one (or possibly two) one star reviews that your work will gather. Heck, they might not even read your book...just one star you out of spite.

    2) You want to have a paperback version so you can do a goodreads giveaway.

    3) I would also do a book tour. It's all about increasing your footprint so that people can find your work better.

    4) The way you've got this blog set up is terrible. You need to install pages that link to excerpts of your book on hidden pages. Please check out my book page on my blog and click on some of the excerpts and you will see I have invisible pages. You should do this as well and make it part of your signature so that anyone that clicks on your name will go back to your "book" page and not your blog. You want all of your work to be available to buy in one easy place. If you want advice on how to do any of this formatting in blogger, just shoot me an email, and I shall instruct you.

    Now I'm not a best selling author, but I do have a few people outside of friends and family who've written me fan mail. Marketing via blogs and twitter is pretty darn useless. You need to figure out a way to reach people beyond the blogs (which are dominated by writers). Reviews are becoming more and more useless every day. I don't think advertising works either. But it's something you should think about.

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    1. Oh, I know this blog is terrible. It's been on the list of "things I should maybe do something about" for a while now. All the excerpts and stuff are on my equally terrible webpage. I need to merge them into one super page, just haven't gotten to it yet.

      But I'm definitely planning to have a paperback edition.

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  17. I love that video! Hadn't seen that one in ages so thanks for the smile.
    I think a learning year is important sometimes, and I wish you all the best on your quest for the Super Bowl ring. I don't have any advice but I definitely want to say good luck and Happy New Year to you. I think 2013 is going to be a rocking year for all of us. :)

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    1. And I think we all deserve a rocking year.

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  18. Oh wow, I'd be falling on my a** on those treadmills!

    Yeah, new year, new goals. I kinda fell down on 2012 as well. Reading blogs and writing tips helps me focus sometimes, so i feel I had a learning year too :)

    Go forth and conquer 2013 Mary! And that Jan Plan sounds awesome. I have a couple book reviews that need completed. Perhaps that will be my goal for this weekend.

    ......dhole

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    1. We are thankful for a learning year. It may not have been the year we envisioned, but we are (eventually) grateful for it nonetheless.

      And you should check out the Jan Plan.

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  19. Keep fighting the good fight and watching Ok Go videos. That's what I do, except with the enthusiasm of Steven Wright. Which is why I'm much further behind than you are. See, there's always a bright side. You could be me!

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    1. I never get tired of watching Ok Go videos. They're always so creative. Why can't I be creative like that?

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  20. Do check out Indie ReCon in Feb - an online conference dedicated to self-publishing. You might find it useful!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely look into that.

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  21. You can do it. I have faith in you.

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    1. Thanks, Liz. That's kind of you to say.

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  22. one thing about some self pub books i've read is they did not seem to invest in an editor...do that!
    i have seen lots of indie support sites, angela brown & gwen gardner would be good sources to ask, they recently released their books and might have some advice for you.
    your genre has many many fans and once they start talking about your book, it will go down in Effigy!

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    1. The editor thing is something I'm working on. I had one guy lined up but that didn't work out so I'm looking for another.

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  23. There's no time like right now M.J.. "Slowly" is fine, just set your goal and do it--at whatever pace. I just self-pubbed my second story, so I'm no expert, but if you have anything you're curious about as it relates to my experience, just ask. Whatever I know is yours to know too if you want it.

    I had lots of questions about the process as they came up (much of it I didn't know to ask until I was knee-deep in it--which is fine, incidentally). The overall thing I'll convey is: It's work, but completely doable.

    I'd truly be happy to help you reach your goal. :-)

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  24. I'm cheering for you to win the series. 2013 is the year.

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  25. 2012 was your learning year and you can use all you've learned to hit your home run this year. Biggest thing I learned with self publishing is to never worry about rushing. Take your time and get it right.

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    1. It is nice to be in charge of your own deadline. I'm always willing to give myself an extension.

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  26. Plan and do work ahead. Guest posts, promos, pres releases, etc... Just be available for the social aspect and be done with the work. IMHO

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    1. The social aspect scares me more than anything.

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  27. Good luck with your book launch, I'm cheering for you. Full steam ahead and Happy New Year.

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  28. Here's to getting Effigy out this year. I want to read it for sure. :)I look forward to having you at The Imaginarium for an author spotlight. :)

    Go Pats!

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    1. Thanks, Melissa!

      And sorry about the Bears. I was pulling for them.

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  29. Hey,

    I feel bad for sucking your December writing time away!! But, on the other hand, I am so appreciative that you sent me so much feedback - my chapters are *SO MUCH* better!

    I think you should go into business as "OXY-M.J. "The cleaner and brighter ms-maker :)

    HAPPY New Year, and *MUCH* success with WIP/polished ms.

    Looking forward to hearing GREAT things :)

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    1. You don't have to feel bad about my December writing time. There was an excellent chance I wouldn't have written anything anyway. You kept me from completely gathering moss.

      I do like the sounds of "OXY-MJ"... maybe I should have business cards made up. =)

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  30. Knock it out of the park this year! We all know you can. I wish I could give you some awesomesauce advice, but I've never published anything, well, except for the article about house infesting ants in a pest control magazine years ago during grad school..... (;

    Maybe the one thing I could suggest is try to have some fun with this. Life is too short. So glad you've made this year about Effigy, it'll be GREAT!!

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    1. Having fun with it is excellent advice. I do always forget that part.

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  31. Here's to a great 2013 and getting you book out so that reader can enjoy it!

    Thanks for sharing the link to the JanPlan. I'm off to check it out.

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    1. Definitely check out the Jan Plan. It's a great group of people doing great things.

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  32. Thanks for the video...and wishing you all the luck in your endeavor!

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  33. I am certain you can make it this year. Self publishing is hard, but so is any kind. And marketing can be a bit tricky at times, but considering one must market their work if they go traditionally...I suppose it is somewhat the same.

    Something I wished someone had told me is to warn me about covers. You said you had one, correct? In that case you might be set, if not you should start working on it now because they take a lot of time. Also formatting, that one also caught me off guard, and coming up with ways to make my book stand out of all the others being self published. (I'll pass on more warnings if I can think of them. A heads up is always nice.)

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    1. I've been trying to work on the Ebook formatting. Everytime I think I have it figured, I find some new problem.

      But I do have a cover. And a pretty one at that.

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  34. Hehe, love the video. Have you heard of the Indelibles? It's a group of self-pub authors who've banded together and seem to be doing very well. Here's a link to their Resources page. Anne Gallagher at Piedmont Writer and M. Pax are other authors who seem to have done an amazing job navigating through the self-publishing maze.

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    1. I haven't heard of them but I'll be sure to check them out. Thanks for the link!

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  35. I know nothing about self-publishing, but I wish you well on your journey. May 2013 be your best year yet. :)

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  36. Ha, I love the idea of building year in writing. I think we all need those from time to time. Cheers for a great 2013!

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    1. I didn't realize I needed one until it was over.

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  37. I missed a deadline for a self-published story that was originally supposed to have been published in September. it's friggin novella and I've been working on it for a year come February. Stupid thing. I hate writing.

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    1. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my cover? Because I do...

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  38. MJ:

    Make sure you proofread it ALOT. If you're going to a print copy, make sure you by the proof copy and go through it.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. Sometimes I feel like all I do is proofread this thing. =)

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  39. 2012 was a good learning year. Self-publishing has both its ups and downs. It's important to come up with your best work no matter what, so make sure you find a good editor and someone to make you a great book cover :)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  40. I give SO much credit to those who selfpublish. Carry all the responsbilities with themselves. That takes guts. Kudos to you! Happy New Year!

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  41. Good luck! Hope 2013 is a great year for you!

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  42. Good luck with your self publishing experience!

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