I wanted to give you all an update of where I’m up to with Love & Other Stuff. It’s been a fascinating project to work on and I’m glad I made the decision to go ahead with the book. I will be more or less able to stick to my revised publication time frame of February 2015, barring unforeseen circumstances, of course. It’s been relatively straightforward to convert this blog to a book, and I would urge anyone who has been blogging for a while to consider publication. It’s also been enjoyable rereading old posts (the book spans the years 2006 up to the end of 2014).
I also wanted to share with you some of my learnings, because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t, and it might help other would-be authorpreneurs* in their quest for independent publishing status.
I was only a couple of weeks into the compilation when I realised Word wouldn’t cut it as writing tool. I had too much content to organise for cutting and pasting to be effective. I couldn’t easily navigate around my manuscript. I knew about Scrivener, and I had heard that other authors loved it, so I downloaded a trial copy and imported Love & Other Stuff into Scrivener. I enjoyed using it so much I ended up buying a full license.
One of the really cool things about Scrivener is that you can export a complete manuscript, fully formatted for either print or for ebooks, in a wide variety of file types. But while it’s cool, it’s also tricky, and I am working hard to master the compile function (I’ve spent lots of time on YouTube lately). I’m nearly there, and just need to fiddle around with the output a little more. Other than that, it’s an intuitive program to use and makes life as a writer much easier.
One of the things I’ve noticed that marks an e-book as “amateurish” is the cover. If I see something on Amazon et al with a cover that looks like it’s been done in Word, I tend not to bother reading the blurb or reviews, let alone consider buying it. A professional cover is crucial to attracting the attention of the market. After all, there’s a lot of competition out there these days, given that anyone with an internet connection and decent software can be a published author.
I don’t profess to be a graphic designer, but I do have a good eye for design and composition (previously working in marketing communications and having photography as hobby has paid off). And there are some really cool tools out there to help people with graphic design. This is where Canva comes in. It’s a graphics creation site that has awesome templates, elements and tutorials that can make anyone look professional, and it’s easy to use. I’m about 99% happy with what I’ve developed: I just have to do a tiny bit of tweaking and I’m there.
The sales and distribution plan for Love & Other Stuff was always going to be 90% e-book + 10% print on demand (POD). People have said that they want a printed copy, particularly a signed one, which means a book launch (or similar). Even though I loathe event management – I’m too much of a control freak to enjoy it – I will do a minor print run (maybe a hundred, maybe less) for the launch, but I’ll make the book available for pre-ordering which sorta, kinda makes sense and will make print sales easier to coordinate afterward. No need to bother with warehousing etc.
I haven’t thought terribly hard about marketing, and I know I should. Given the competition, a “build it and they will come” approach will be unlikely to guarantee success. I’m taking two weeks off from my paid job over Christmas, and this will be when I’ll pull together a plan. Again, having worked in marketing communications and public relations is a distinct advantage here.
I’ve registered a business name (Delicious Publishing) and registered my domain names (deliciouspublishing.com and deliciouspublishing.com.au) and intend (at some point in the not too distant future) to publish other books (I’m working on a short story collection, a novel, a business book and a travel book). I’d also like to be able to provide a digital printing and distribution service for other authors.
All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a creator.
*This is what I’m calling myself now. I coined the term – I think – and it’s a pretty apt description of where I want to head with all this: a working author who’s an entrepreneur. In other words, an authorpreneur.