Space to Write

I have constant stories twirling around in my head. I play with words. Create sentences. I’ll hear something interesting and make a note to myself to remember it for later, when I have time to sit down and write.Unknown

But time is my constant enemy. The demands of life mean that I don’t get time to sit down and write. I know this is not an excuse though. There are many times during the week, when I’m sitting sloth-like in front of the TV. I know that I could be writing. Only problem is that I am brain dead and can’t manage to strings three words together.

In fact, it’s not the time to write that eludes me. I know this because I managed to write a novel last year by getting up half an hour earlier each day. My problem is that I have no space to write. By this I don’t mean physical space. I mean space in my head. It’s crowded up there. All those great bits and pieces that I want to write down are stored up there and possibly irretrievable.

Right now, I am home alone. I cannot pinpoint the last time that I was home alone. I have been doing a happy dance. I have space to think. I have been shuffling around the house for almost two hours, not speaking but thinking. And no one is here to answer me back or make any demands of me. The quiet is almost too loud.

It’s good to be reminded that space and solitude are very important to creativity in this busy world that we live in. That’s why taking a walk, meditation or doing something mindless with your hands can help to clear the mind. I vow to try to make some space for myself and my writing every day. Excuse me while I go do some of that now.

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Don’t Let Ego Take Over

typewriterFor the uninitiated, the self-publishing journey can feel like a minefield. I hear horror stories every day (no exaggeration) of people paying out $20,000, even $30,000 to publish, only to end up with boxes of unsold books stored out in the garage, collecting mildew. This is why the self-publishing industry has a bad name and why I make it my mission to bring back the fun, joy and even financial gain (yes, you can make money from it!) in self-publishing.

At the end of the day, an author should experience the joy of bringing their book into the world, celebrating with a book launch and making more than it cost them to publish it.

I hesitate to write this post for fear of it sounding like a sales pitch. But I feel very frustrated and even a little angry about the state of the industry that I work in. This may be because I am not just a publisher but also a writer, so I care about the people I help. They are essentially a reflection of me.

They could be me.

Publishing a book is scary. Not just because of the time and money that might go into it but also because the author is putting herself out there. She is investing in herself and putting a piece of work, no matter the genre, out into the community. She will be under the spotlight while the readers decide if the book is worthy of the time they take to read it.

There are so many great stories out there, waiting to be told. Some will get picked up by the traditional publishers and receive a royalty of the sales, others will be self-published. My problem is that there are many companies out there masquerading as ‘real’ or traditional publishers. For the uninitiated, how do you tell the difference? It’s very easy. If ANY money changes hands, you are essentially self-publishing. If you are not handing over any money and receive a percentage of the sales, then that is traditional publishing.
Do you know how these companies manage to get away with this? EGO. They are telling people that they love their work and they should publish it. They say that they will publish it but you have to buy 1500 books at wholesale price (putting you out of pocket by around $25,000). Or they’ll sell you a reasonable package, only to on-sell you large marketing packages (of around $30,000). Then they will continue to hound you for months – even years – to buy more books, publish another book or add more marketing bundles to what you already have.

My blood is boiling just thinking about it. How can a person make back their money if they’ve invested that much already? Probably by now they are so despondent by the whole process that they have fallen out of love with their project that was so exciting when they were told, ‘We love your book.’

So please, authors, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Ask lots of questions, get lots of different opinions. If you are handing out more than $10,000 for the physical publication (unless you are getting illustrations or photography) of your book then you may as well flush it down the toilet.

My favourite part of the publishing process is seeing my authors at the book launch, seated at a table behind a pile of their books waiting to be signed. It never gets old. I get little  butterfly flutters in my belly. I don’t like the idea of authors crying over the horrible experience that they may have been subjected to. Publishing should be exciting, fun and even life-changing!


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