writing business

Stepping into self-publishing (so far)

I’m on a path to self-publish. I would have gone the traditional route, but the agents I asked to represent me told me no. Most of the time, I didn’t get past the intern.

As of now, this is the path I’ve taken:

  • I wrote a novel.
  • I did my own editing, several times, which meant I rewrote the novel several times. (When people ask how many novels I wrote, should I include the number of rewrites?)
  • I joined a small critique group where we meet in person. This took some doing since I live in a small town, but I think it was important. I tried online critiquing where I did much more critiquing than I received.
  • I sent my (again) rewritten novel to a professional editor who I paid.
  • I’m accepting or rejecting each comment by the editor. Soon, I’ll have a final novel (final because I’ve got to move on with life).

Getting to this point was easy because I knew where to go. The next steps include relying more on interacting with people, processes, and software where the details are unfamiliar and unclear. Like learning how to swim while drowning.

Here are the next steps (as far as I know):

  • Get a book cover and inside design. I know what I want, but I need a trustful designer and exactly how to use a cover and book design.
  • I want to go “wide” making my book accessible on several platforms meaning different companies and their software. I know what platforms, but not the details on how to use them. That room is dark.
  • Marketing is a whole other thing, menacing and also dark. Very dark.

I’ll push on looking for the light switch or a flood light.

Where to Lead Yourself

There are many choices for a writer when they publish. As an example, a writer can decide to write for money, write for attention, or write to produce quality writing.

Of course, all three would be good, yet generally only one takes priority. It depends on what the writer wants out of their writing life. Whichever way a writer chooses when publishing, each provides readers with a variety of reading choices (a good thing).

Many times, writing for money means volume writing (such as many novels in a short span of time). Writing for attention means getting on someone’s best seller list or get an invite to an award’s dinner. While producing quality writing can help with these priorities, it is not necessary.

In my case, writing is not about the money since I have another income (although I could use more income). It would be nice to have some attention, such as an award, but toys take up all my shelf space. This leaves me trying to write better.

This takes time, at least for me. It will be a long time before I have multiple box sets. It’s already been a long time and I have yet to publish my first novel. I hope to change that in the next few months. I also hope I don’t get an award. I like my toys.

I did not form an LLC

In a previous blog post, I stated how I was forming a limited liability company (LLC) to publish my books. For the LLC, I completed the short application and long operating agreement, then decided to see what the wizard Google had to say about all of this (you would think I would have done this first).

I originally got the idea from podcasts and articles by authors who publish multiple books. They made me think it would be a good idea to start off self-publishing under the umbrella of a company. “Treat your writing like a business,” they proclaimed.

From my advisor Google, I found articles from authors and others who questioned the advantages of an LLC. At least for beginning authors. Most people publish under a sole proprietorship, meaning they are personally responsible and liable for everything.

Forming a company does not necessarily isolate an author from liability. However, liability was not the reason I considered an LLC.

It was to help me be serious about self-publishing and treat it like a business. I rethought my decision after one author wrote about the need for beginning authors to minimize expenses.

Forming an LLC in North Carolina cost $125. The annual report (really a tax) is $200 a year. This also got me thinking about complications since every year I would need to file a report (and the tax forms!).

Self-publishing is already complicated enough. Did I really want to add to my already complicated self-publishing attempt with managing an LLC?

I decided not to form one. I’ll still treat my self-publishing like a business. However, first I’ll get my books published and see where that goes. Hopefully, someone will read what I wrote.

A New Year

Since this is the last post for 2018, I have resolutions for 2019. This is a surprise to me since I don’t make resolutions. If I start or stop something, I do it when I’m ready and not wait for a specific date. If I did wait, I’d probably forget what I was planning to start or stop.

One resolution is to continue blogging. This is my 48th blog post and I know this because I number each file. Otherwise, I’d have to do a lot of counting. I plan to continue this blog, alternating between grant writing and creative writing, as I do now since it shows I’m consistent at something.

The other resolution is to get at least one book self-published. I would prefer getting an agent, yet I do not have enough Facebook likes or Twitter followers and I don’t do Instagram or other social media sites. Per a popular literary agent, social media connections are more important than what is written. Mainly, I’ll self publish because I’ve already querying many agents without success.

To start the self-publishing path, I’m setting up a limited liability company in a few weeks. I’ve read and listened to a lot of people about self-publishing and this is the path I’ve chosen. It also includes getting an editor and someone to help with this website since I keep forgetting what I taught myself.

Self-publishing is time consuming, so I freed up time by resigning from some of my volunteering duties. I was getting way too involved in way too many things, anyway. I learned that having enough time to do things leads to a better chance of success.

In 2019, I’ll focus on the volunteering that I feel good about and helps more people. With the extra time I have, I’ll send myself off into the self-publishing world.