Happy Memorial Day! Take a moment to thank a service member and remember the soldiers who have given their lives to protect our freedoms. I know with COVID and masks and the vaccine and the lockdowns and everything else, we may feel like our freedoms have been suppressed or that the government is trying to take control of our lives. Sometimes we forget that being asked to do something as minor as wearing a mask to the grocery store isn’t impinging on our rights, but may in fact, help someone. I don’t want to turn this into a political blog post–we’ve had enough of that in the past fourteen months. But sometimes we have to give a little in order to get a lot back and that’s true in all walks of life, not just wearing a mask when you run to Walmart for chips. Our military members give us the ultimate sacrifice willingly, without complaint. Take a moment to thank them and remember just how much you have while others live with a lot less.
A friend of mine shared this on Facebook today, and it really resonated with me and this journey I call indie publishing.
When I decided to indie publish, like many I didn’t know what I was doing. I did my own cover, did my own formatting, for the most part did my own editing, though I did have some feedback (thank you, Joshua!) and learned how to upload the files to KDP. I did all the research, got a reminder from some friends on Twitter that KDP supplied interior templates for the paperback after crying in front of my laptop because I couldn’t get Word to do the page numbers how I needed them. All of it was a real learning experience, and while I can shake my head and think, “God, what a mess!” I wouldn’t be where I am today without those small steps.
Because I did my own covers in Word (I didn’t know about Canva then, thanks Aila!) I understand the concept of bleed. I understand the math, the principles behind how to make the canvas the size I need to make it to do a full wrap in, yeah, Canva. And even though I use Vellum now, I know I can make a nice interior paperback file using the KDP templates (use the template with sample text), if I had to go back to basics. There is something to be said for learning the little bits and pieces and understanding the little parts that make up the whole.
I thought back then I was doing crappy busy work, a means to an end, but what I was really doing is building a strong foundation for my writing and publishing business. I may have felt like I wasted hours learning how to run Amazon ads, but one day they’ll be an important part of my marketing plan and I know how to create and monitor a campaign that won’t waste money.
Of course, there are some things I tried to jump ahead on, like publishing before building a newsletter, but that’s probably a blessing in disguise. On the Corner of 1700 Hamilton isn’t the kind of genre I stuck with, and building an audience based on that first book would truly have been a waste of time. I jumped full into publishing before networking in my genre (what genre?! I didn’t figure out what I wanted to write, until, well, last year, I guess) and I published ten books in contemporary romance without making many, if any, professional contacts.
When you look at your day to day of writing, publishing, and marketing, no step is too small, no step is too insignificant to skip over. There is a learning aspect to everything we do, every podcast we listen to, every connection made, every blog post we read, every non-fiction book we read and recommend to another writer.
There are a lot of quotes out there that say the same thing along the lines of, keep moving, don’t stop; it doesn’t matter how slow you’re going as long as you’re moving forward. Lots of sentiments about never giving up. But instead of pushing forward, let’s flip that a bit and start saying that every little bit helps. Any little thing you learn could turn into something that could elevate your career to the next level. No small step will be useless.
We need to start on the rung closest to the ground, or we’ll be like that person trying for a rung s/he can’t reach.
So, remember, as you plan the rest of your year you may not be publishing a book, or you may be launching but don’t have a significant plan (look at Jami Albright’s for ideas!), or you may be struggling with genre and what you want to write next, and that’s okay. No action is ever wasted as long as you take a lesson away from whatever it is you do.
Good luck and have a wonderful holiday!
Until next time!