Today I’m very excited to be hosting a wonderful guest post as part of The Violet Fox blog tour, courtesy of Faery Ink Press. The author and publisher, Clare, has written a great article about balancing writing and publishing. chance win an eBook copy. There is also a contest to win books and lots of book swag! Make sure you visit the other tour stops for more.
About THE VIOLET FOX
Release: 13 October 2012
Publisher: Faery Ink Press
There are two kinds of people in the land of Marlenia.
The Marlenians, who live on the surface,
and the Freetors, who are forced to live underground.
The war between them ended two hundred years ago, but the Freetors still fight for the right to live under the sun. Fifteen-year-old Kiera Driscoll embodies the Freetors’ hopes as the Violet Fox. In a violet cape and mask, she sneaks around Marlenia City stealing food and freeing her people from slavery.
Then the Elders task her with a secret mission: retrieve a stolen tome that contains the secrets of Freetor magic, something the Marlenians both fear and covet. Kiera must disguise herself as a noblewoman and infiltrate the Marlenian castle before the Freetor-hating Advisor finds out her real identity, before her brother is imprisoned because of the secrets he hides, and before she falls any more in love with the prince she’s supposed to hate.
More is happening in the castle than she realizes, and Kiera is faced with a difficult choice. Will she be loyal to her people and their fight for freedom, or will she be loyal to her heart?
Guest Post from CLARE
So I should probably preface this post by stating that I’m an indie author. That may be obvious to some, but you know what, it’s getting harder and harder to tell nowadays. When I published Within last year, a book blogger in the States asked me for a copy to review. I said sure, and gave her a PDF copy. Then she came back to me and said that she’d prefer a print copy, and asked which library she could borrow it from. Within is actually in the Halifax Regional Library system, thanks to the local branch manager, but it isn’t listed with other branches in Canada, or the States.
Becoming an indie publisher is a lifestyle choice. It’s deciding that you are going to represent yourself. It means standing up to the world and saying, I Exist, And This Is My Creation. It’s not being afraid to put yourself out there. Being a publisher also means accepting the positive reviews and the negative criticisms of your work, and your promotional efforts.
It also means you’ve just cut your writing time in at least half. Not only do you have to create the product, you’re in charge of producing, packaging, marketing, distributing, and selling it too! Traditional publishing exists because publishing a book is an extremely daunting job for one person. Marketing can be a full time job. So can distribution, if you’ve done a good job with the marketing. Unfortunately, you have to manage your time and wear many hats to succeed.
Here are three challenges I face as I balance the life of a writer and the life of a publisher.
1. Making Time to Write
As an indie writer, you have to split your time. It takes a lot of energy and focus, but it’s not impossible. Dealing with distribution and marketing especially can take up a lot of valuable writing time. The key is to discipline yourself. “I’m going to write 1,000 words today…after I watch this TV episode” isn’t going to cut it. Find out when your peek writing time is, and sit down, and write.
The excuse “I don’t have time” need not apply–you just need to make time. Even if it means getting up an hour earlier each day, or going to bed an hour later, or just scribbling a few hundred words when you’re waiting for something else to happen, you can squeeze novel-writing into your daily life.
Finding the energy to write after spending your day marketing your book can be tough too. You’ve got to reach within yourself and ask: why am I doing this again? Find that one happy thought that started you on this journey, and hold it high above the rest. Feed on it for inspiration when you feel like you can’t go on.
Remember why you do what you do.
2. When to do it yourself, or when to hire someone.
I like doing things myself. I like learning new skills. I like the challenge. But the most important thing we have is our time. It can take years to master Photoshop so you can design the perfect cover. And sometimes, no matter how much we fuss over our manuscript, having a second opinion can be extremely valuable.
Publishing is expensive. We have to spend money to make money. I’m lucky that I have the experience and the know-how to format my own books, and that I have an in-house cover designer (my partner, Dave), but not everyone has these resources or skills. I still spend a hefty sum on editing and with this book, a small print run.
If it’s going to take up your time, and you don’t have the necessary skills to complete the task, then it’s worth it to hire someone. Because in the hours and hours you’ve spent trying to learn Photoshop or InDesign, your contractor could have finished the job already! And think of how many words you could’ve written on that next novel instead.
Money can be re-earned: time cannot.
3. Is it worth it?
Self-doubt is a powerful, and sometimes destructive force. A comforting voice might tell you to give up, to take your manuscript and go back to your writing cave and submit it to a traditional publisher. And maybe that might suit you better. But don’t give up just because you’ve hit a snag, or because you’ve got a negative review, or because someone said you can’t do it. You CAN do it, if you stick to your guns.
You only fail when you stop trying.
I keep myself on track by writing up a list of things to do. Sometimes the publishing to-do things outweigh the writing things. Sometimes all I want to do is write. I know that my distribution is going to be small at first, but if I stick with it and work at it, it will grow. Persistence and focus are my two best friends. Maybe someday, you’ll be able to borrow my book from the library wherever you live.
About CLARE C. MARSHALL:
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Clare Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial up internet, and yet, she turned out okay. She has a combined honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King’s College, and is a graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. She founded Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design in 2010 for self-published authors and businesses looking for quality editing and design services. She enjoys publishing books through her publishing imprint, Faery Ink Press, and released her first novella, Within in 2011. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats.
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