So Much to Learn in Self-Publishing

It’s January and it’s Monday. Beginnings make me feel like it’s time to hurry up and get moving. I’m a morning person (when I’ve slept well) and mornings make me feel that way, too. Hurry up! Go running and eat breakfast and hurry to your computer! So much to do! (Or on more embarrassing days – Hurry and get to your computer! What do you mean it’s dinner time? I haven’t even taken a shower, let along exercised or anything else!)

There’s so much to do because there’s so much to learn. I spent all day last Thursday just trying to read through some of the online group posts about writing and publishing and self-publishing, and then clicking the links to the great posts those people had found, which led to more links and reading more posts. Sheesh! How’s a girl to get any writing done?

But there’s a lot more to being a 21st century author than there was to being a 1950s author. Not only do you have to learn a lot, you have to do a lot. I took Kristen Lamb’s class on Becoming a Brand two weeks ago and now I’m trying to do everything I’ve been learning about. I’m following more people on Twitter and Facebook, retweeting and replying, and commenting on blogs. I think I did a week’s worth of social media in one day.

I saw some immediate results (I tripled my Twitter followers and got my own blog up and rolling again), so I downloaded the Kindle samples of both of Kristen’s books, Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer and We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. I loved the samples, so I bought the books. I’m reading both at the same time now, and trying to apply something new every day. Wow.

There are a gazillion great blogs out there and I read a lot of them last week! (This week, I swear, is going to be more about writing and balance.) Instead of trying to explain everything I read, I’ll just give you some short descriptions and you can decide what you can use.

Oh, and in case I lose you somewhere amongst all these links, let me remind you that Author Crush Month starts on Wednesday! Yay!! We love Author Crush Month, and we know you do, too! We’ve got some really great guests this month talking about their process, their craft, their journey. Be sure to stop by every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in February.

Also, we will have a special guest joining us on the first Tuesday of every month beginning in March. You’re going to love her! (You might even already know her!)

And tune in tomorrow as we welcome Janice Cantore to talk with us about her new book, Accused. If you remember, Janice has been struggling to sell her books with a small press but last summer signed a 3-book deal with a major publisher! Her new book releases February 1st. Woo-hoo!

And now to my list o’ links:

Elizabeth Spann Craig explains how she uses Google Calendar to stay organized

An online self-publishing conference! I’m waiting by my Inbox for an email with details about registration costs.

The CEO of Smashwords gives us his thoughts on self-publishing in 2011

A Smashwords blog post about the Amazon Select program

I took an awesome online class in November about helping your brain work better, and the teachers wrote this guest post

I’m signed up for another online class next month on how to write cozy mysteries, and here is an article by the teacher (I’m hoping it will help me bring my superhero romantic comedies up a level)

A great craft post from Jody Hedlund on how to make your book play out like a movie

Another self-published author, PJ Sharon, shares her 2011 numbers

From Kristen Lamb’s blog, What’s the Problem with FREE?

Sharpen Your Blogging Habits, a 4-part series from Kristin Nador

Which could lead you to this brilliant post on creating better tag lines for your blog  (I just changed my tag line for my own blog. What do you think? Better? Not quite right yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!)

From Bob Mayer, a post that explains why I’ve never dreamed of being on a bestselling list, I dream of selling books for the rest of my life 

From Writer Beware, The Fine Print of iBooks Author, free software from Apple to create ebooks that can only be sold in the iTunes store

And the blog author’s reply to common misconceptions about what he wrote

Books I’m reading: Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer; We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media; Dollars and Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success

Guest Blog: Book Releases: Blessed Events

Great news. One of our blog readers had a book released August 1st. Ever curious about new releases, I asked her to blog with us about what a writer goes through when launching a new book. So, everyone, here is Elizabeth Spann Craig. (Oh, and be sure to check out her blog, too. Lots of good stuff for writers, and she makes me laugh.)

My second book, Pretty is as Pretty Dies was released last Saturday, August 1. In a lot of ways, having a book released is like the birth of a child.  There’s excitement, anxiety, and joy. There’s also a lot of frantic rushing around in preparation for the blessed event.

Getting the nursery ready for the new arrival:

There’s plenty of sprucing up to do when you have a new release.  Here’s a little glimpse into my prep work:

Had a photo made for my website, the publisher’s website, and promotional materials.  Tried not to wince. The photographer actually had to make funny noises at me to make me more relaxed. This is similar to having your photo made when you’re pregnant. You’re supposed to look all spiritual and earthy, and you really feel like you might need to use the restroom.

Spruced up my blog for visitors.  This is sort of like the nesting that went on when I was pregnant.  My blog got all pimped up with social media outlets, the book’s cover, my most appealing reviews, etc.  I scrubbed it until it was shiny.

Had a baby shower.  Well, not exactly.  But it’s sort of like that—you get goodies like interview and book review requests and share cover photos (instead of ultrasound pictures) with unsuspecting reviewers.

Sent out baby announcements.  Press releases: it’s a brand new cozy mystery! 206 pages long, trade-paperback length.  And has a specially-chosen name.  These announcements go to bookstores, libraries, reviewers, friends, contacts on your newsletter list.

For an idea what you should add to your to-do list for your release, check out Laura Baker’s article on “The Timely Approach to Promotion.”  She offers a timetable for various chores related to your book’s release.

Took a prenatal class:

I signed up for a blog book tour class that taught me what to look for in a blog host, as well as how to spruce up my own blog. Although Dani isn’t offering any more classes this year, you can get an overview by visiting:

Witnessed sibling rivalry.  My twelve-year old son said, “Your book is ruining my life!” (Okay, so he has a flair for melodrama.)

Suffered post-partum blues:

The guilt starts early….have I done all the right things, promotion-wise? Do readers like my bundle of joy out there in the big, bad world?   Sometimes you feel like you’ve spent too much time with your book (when you have other deadlines) and sometimes you feel like you haven’t spent nearly enough.

Reconnecting with family and friends helps with the problem.   So does getting a little extra sleep (if you can.)

Having a book released really is a little miracle.  Good and bad, I feel very fortunate to be experiencing it all.

Elizabeth Spann Craig

Pretty is as Pretty Dies