I’ve been listening a lot to The Creative Penn podcast and it has made a serious difference in my outlook on many aspects of my writing business. It still feels strange to say that, writing business, when you consider how little income I will collect for all of 2017, but still. Keep in mind that I didn’t consider myself an author until after my second book.
In any case, if you are jonesing to make your writing pay, you really need to check out The Creative Penn website and start listening to her podcast. You can also follow her on Twitter. My only trouble now is in how to get all of the things I have learned in the past four weeks into some kind of action plan that doesn’t blow my circuits.
An example from the newly formatted Gliese 581: The Departure
A recent blog post by Joanna Penn on formatting sent me on yet another mission to upgrade what I’ve already got out there. I realized, upon clicking on some of the links, that I could do a lot better with my interior formatting. The professional covers pull them in, but I want my readers to have an eyeful when they get inside of the book as well.
This led me to check out Book Design Templates, ooh and ahh over the look of them and decide to get my crap together and make my own version. If only because I’m dollars poor and time-rich.
Another way to look at it was this. I spent TWO DECADES in offices – creating templates, and working closely with Word and other word-processing software. Sure I could pay $89 for a template, or I could spend a little bit of time to create my own.
I dabbled with finding the perfect “chapter art” as I am calling the designs within. Adding lines, breaking up the chapter number, the title, and even increasing the size (and changing the font) of the first letter of the text.
I’m very excited about the new look!
Each book will have its own unique chapter art. I may even do some Zentangle mandala and use that.
Take a Step Back
I realized this morning that I’m burning the candle at both ends and need to focus on one thing at a time. So, first things first, get ALL of my books I have written whipped into shape, inside and out.
Then, and only then, will I resume my writing projects.
I just desperately need to get this housekeeping work of formatting and engineering the best look possible out of my books before I jump into any more projects.
I’ve also determined, based on sales data for nearly two months, that I need to branch out to other host sites for my non-fiction books, and possibly for Gliese 581: The Departure. Right now, I’ve committed myself to Amazon only by agreeing to the KDP program, which demands exclusivity. For War’s End: The Storm and War’s End: A Brave New World, this might make sense. But for my other books? I’m not selling ANY of my non-fiction books.
So Step 1 is get my formatting done. Step 2 is branch out to other ebook and print sellers. This also means another learning curve and days spent understanding the different online bookstore and even (hopefully) finally learning how to put together all of the different versions of epub, .mobi, kobo, nook, et cetera.
Build It and They Will Come
Back in 2005 when I started my housecleaning biz, I struggled with getting my name out there. With no budget for advertising, I had to somehow market my business without spending a ton of money.
And thank goodness for Craig’s List! The site was relatively new at that time, and I got a ton of business by just having a smart, and simple, ad in place. I stopped advertising on Craig’s List a couple of years ago. Honestly, all I need to do these days is to post occasionally on Facebook if I am in need of more clients. More often than not, they find me.
Today was one of the latter – a potential client who had met me while on a garden tour (Our garden The Deadly Nightshade was on the tour three years ago, folks!) and asked if I had any openings. I did, and I’ll meet with her next Saturday and probably start cleaning her house in January.
It was a reminder that, if I build it, if I keep working at this day in and day out, that the wave will continue to build and I will begin to see a steady income from my writing.
It might be slow-going, but it is already building and that’s an exciting thing to see.
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