Sky’s the limit

 

Photo: Milky Way by DS Dragon Photography
Photo: Milky Way by DS Dragon Photography

 

I know everyone gives the same advice.
But it works.
I don’t know why that surprised me. After all, it must be tried and true or no one would get anywhere with anything.

When you’re a kid you get told – dream big.
So you do.
Then as an adult you look at that dream and you think it’s too big. It’s so big that you’ll never be able to achieve it. Most of the time, you bury the dream, put it on the shelf or let it go. After all, this is the real world. Who has time for childish dreams anyway?

I’m not sure of the exact statistics but something like 80% of people want to write a book; 20% do write a book and only 2% of those who write a book get published. So only 0.5 out of every 100 people actually get a book published. Or 1 in 200. Perhaps this figure is rising with the wide open doors of self-publishing avenues these days, but it’s still a low figure.

I am that 1 in 200 I’ve done something that 80% of people want to do. I’m there. I’m living that dream. But I almost didn’t.

I didn’t think I could do it. I thought the dream was too big. For years I’d buried the idea that I’d be more than a writer – I’d be an AUTHOR. I would someday hold a book in my hands that had a cover and pages. A real book. It would have my name on it and it would be mine. Not because I owned it, but because I’d written it.

Growing up, there was only one way to get your book published. Submission after submission to Literary Agents or Publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts for this week. Not so today. Today, there are so many self-published Authors out there. I know there are SO many more books of a ‘throw across the room as hard as you can’ standard, and the world of self-publishing has had a run of bad reputations. But there are also so many gems that you wonder why a Publishing house hasn’t picked this book up yet.

The world of self-published Authors or ‘Indie’ Authors is such a friendly place too. There are so many people out there that have been in the same boat as you. They’re only more than willing to share their experiences, warn you of the pitfalls and give you encouragement as you journey towards becoming a part of the 0.5% number.

It doesn’t mean the dream gets any smaller, in fact it gets bigger because you have to do all of the work.

And this brings me to the ‘tried and true’ I was talking about before. If you look at the entire mountain of self-publishing a book, you’d just curl into a ball and cry. Or you’d put your dream in the too hard basket and let it go the way of all childhood games.

But if you focus on one step at a time.

  1. Starting to write the story.
  2. Writing the next line.
  3. Write the next chapter.
  4. Write ‘THE END’
  5. Self -editing one chapter
  6. Self-editing the book.
  7. Self-editing the book again.
  8. And again.
  9. And again.
  10. And again.
  11. Talking to Authors to find out the next step.
  12. Finding readers amongst your friends and nominating Beta Readers
  13. Spend a few weeks reminding them that you’d like your book back with the feedback sometime this century.
  14. Finding an editor.
  15. Saving up the editor’s fee.
  16. Send off to editor.
  17. Deciding which edits you’ll keep and which one’s you’ll ignore.
  18. Doing this several times over.
  19. Talking to Authors to find out the next step.
  20. Find a cover designer.
  21. Save up for the cover designer’s fee.
  22. Talking to Authors to find out the next step.
  23. Start up social media sites
  24. Check your emails daily for correspondence from the cover designer.
  25. Remember that you have a family in all of this who may want to remember what you look like without a computer in front of your face.
  26. Talking to Authors to find out the next step.
  27. Find out what ‘CreateSpace’ is.
  28. Get super excited when the cover designer gives you the proofs for your cover and spend forty-five minutes staring at the absolutely perfect cover.
  29. Remember that you haven’t updated your social media in several days and spend the next few hours trying to think of witty, interactive and entertaining things to say.
  30. Give up on social media hopes at about 2am.
  31. Talking to Authors to find out the next step.
  32. Find out you may have to teach yourself HTML code if you want to have your book as an e-book format.
  33. Try for several weeks.
  34. Give up and go to a friend who designs webpages in the hope that she can understand all this gobble-de-gook.
  35. Practically live at said friend’s place for two weeks alternating between, learning from watching her, being in awe that she can do this so quickly, and converting copy after copy until all the formatting looks great on your Kindle.
  36. Posting off on CreateSpace.
  37. Getting the proof.
  38. Spend several days being so excited that you actually have a book in your hands.
  39. Read the proof.
  40. Fix errors
  41. Read the proof again.
  42. Fix more errors.
  43. And again.
  44. More errors.
  45. And again.
  46. Decide that it looks pretty darn good.
  47. With great excitement and anticipation – hit publish.
  48. Discover that you didn’t need all the HTML as CreateSpace gives you the option to upload the book version directly into KDP.
  49. Use friend created version anyway.
  50. Order a few copies of YOUR book on Amazon.
  51. Discover that by ordering your own book, you don’t receive royalties.
  52. Have husband bring your book into work hidden in an unassuming envelope because he happened to check the post the day your book arrived.
  53. Have an excited spazzy dance in full view of everyone.
  54. Go home that day only to have husband point out an error in the third paragraph. Missing words no less.
  55. Read the entire book on the weekend and franticly fix all errors.
  56. Find out that fourteen people have bought copies before the fix.
  57. Stress over that for a few days.
  58. Sit at the kitchen table looking at the book and realise that somewhere, while you were focusing on step by step processes you somehow managed to climb the mountain and achieve your dream.
  59. You are an Author. You are holding a book in your hands that is yours…not because you own it, but because you wrote it.
  60. Sit in stunned silence.

Now for marketing – but that’s a whole new journey.

Even if your dream isn’t to publish a book, even if your dream is to fly a plane, to run a business, to raise your kids the best you can – break down the steps, focus on the step-by-step and you’ll find that sooner than you think…you’ll have achieved your dream.

Sky’s the limit.

 

 

 

 

 

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