How to Not Get Overwhelmed with Indie Publishing

buried-alive-1241454-1279x955
Freeimages.com/SarahWilliams

In the indie publishing world it doesn’t take much to feel overwhelmed, and for some this means giving up before ever truly starting. It doesn’t matter if you’ve barely written a page of your book or have finished it (even going so far as to have it edited and uploaded to your preferred publishing avenue), there always seems to be more to do! I’m here to encourage you to keep at it regardless of where on the journey you find yourself.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with a new stage of writing or publishing my work I break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks, which sounds easy enough but can occasionally be a difficult thing to accomplish.

take a walk (11)

For today, here’s a first step to not getting overwhelmed:

  1. If you haven’t done it yet,  write down your motivation/goal/desired outcome for writing and publishing a bookWhat do you want to accomplish? Questions to ask yourself:
    • Is it to know I’m capable?
    • Is it to share a story with/about my family and/or friends?
    • Do I want to do this professionally or as a hobby?
    • Is it just for me?
    • Do I want to make an ebook only?
    • Do I want print books only?
    • Do I want to make ebook and print books?
    • Do I want strangers to buy and read my books?

Once you’ve figured out your overall goal then you can start breaking it down into smaller steps to accomplish little by little.

If your plan involves publishing your work there is only one should possibly-do-it maybe if-you-want-to must item I will give you: for indie publishing never ever be the only editor of your own book, even for proofing! You will miss things every time, guaranteed (that is unless you are a super wordinator from the planet Wordus Perfectus).

You might have off-the-charts grammar and spelling skills, are known to edit for your friends, and/or work with the written word on a daily basis, but even you may fall prey to the–duh-duh-duhhhhh–invisible error! Of course, it’s only invisible to us, while to our dear readers it can be a glaring, blaring zit on the beautiful face of our story. There’s a certain acceptable margin for error, but like mice if there’s one there’s always more. And let’s face it, for most of us it’s actually really helpful to have at least one extra pair of eyes read our work before presenting it to the world.

In my previous post, Beta What? Why Indie Authors Don’t Live in a Vacuum, there is some helpful information on getting into writing groups and finding readers who will critique and help you improve your work before publishing. While beta readers can often offer a lot of assistance in catching typos, spelling, and grammar, it is still important to find someone who has a devoted understanding of the written word to help polish your prose. So as not to overwhelm you today I’ll be putting together a post about the different types of editing services and get some links to the ones I have  previously researched available to you, too. But today is all about setting your goal!

When I first started writing in earnest I had no goal in mind except to get the story out of my head and onto the paper (and screen). I was so secretive about it I didn’t even tell my family I was writing a novel for over a month. It was ‘just for me’ at that point, but it didn’t stay that way. Morphing goals is fine! But don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture.

Think of breaking your goal down like taking bites of food. There is the old adage, never bite off more than you can chew, and that applies here. It doesn’t mean don’t have a goal as big as the largest round of cheese in the world, but it does mean, don’t try to finish it off in one bite.

Or maybe you can identify with this foodie example. Pet peeve of mine: chewing with the mouth open (and this includes gum, people!). Okay, so what’s the analogy here? When one of my kids takes a huge bite he can’t close his mouth, and inevitably food is falling back out into a mash of mush and messed up confusion, he’s choking on it, or he’s getting in trouble with Mom for chewing with his mouth open. None are pretty pictures.

What I’m saying is fairly straightforward: look at your writing/publishing (plate) and cut the publishing process (lasagna) into bite size pieces that aren’t going to (fall out and make a mess, or worse) choke you!

If you’re struggling I want to help. So, today just start by writing down your overall goal for writing and publishing. Once you’ve got that figured out then we can talk bits and pieces.

We’ll discuss more about the process of self-publishing, what all those little bits and pieces look like. And together I hope we can accomplish some amazing indie authoring goals!

Next time we’ll talk about making your publishing goal manageable by reviewing a simple breakdown of the main things involved. But I’m curious. What is your publishing goal?

 


63 thoughts on “How to Not Get Overwhelmed with Indie Publishing

  1. This is full of useful tips for writers who are at any stage in their writing. I agree that breaking your writing workload down into manageable pieces is much better than cramming more writing workload “food” into our mouths than we can chew. I like the analogy you used. 🙂
    I would like to pursue writing as a career and main income, because I love creating stories and hope people will enjoy them. At the moment I’m self-publishing, but in the future I might try to traditionally publish at least one book. We’ll see how things go though! 🙂
    Do you think you’ll try the traditional route some day?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad it’s taught you so much and been such a wonderful blessing. I wouldn’t have gotten to know you if it weren’t for indie. ❤
        Indie has given me a new confidence and forced me to get out of my introvert shell, so I will always be grateful for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A great post, Rachael! Overwhelming is exactly what self-publishing can be, especially considering the number of hats we need to wear: author, editor, typesetter, designer, promoter. It makes sense to outsource anything you are not expert in – that way you can present the best possible version to the world. And yes yes yes – you need an editor! Even if you spend no money on anything else, invest in a professional edit. And breaking the whole process down into smaller, more manageable sections, is a great way to start.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Rachael, I’ll definitely be reading and commenting as the articles come along – this is such useful stuff. For me I think getting your work in front of other people and getting feedback is sooo important, both in terms of confidence and picking up errors. Even though it’s quite confronting to do, it’s a hugely important part of the process. I remember sitting at an agent event and one of them saying ‘You have to let other people see your work,’ with an emphasis on ‘have.’ Writing the story is really only the beginning.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is really good advice. Lots of things tend to look overwhelming for me, so I’m familiar with the idea of breaking things down into smaller chunks. I like the food analogy though. 🙂

    At the moment I’m still writing, just getting the stories out. I’ve got one story I’m working on that I know I want to publish first. Still unsure whether to go for traditional or indie. But it certainly helps to know about both so I can make an informed choice. So I’m looking forward to the next post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks, Phoenix. It’s a familiar concept for sure! I think I tend to forget it sometimes and let myself get overwhelmed. I figure I’m not the only one. Haha I remember doing all kinds of reading before deciding to go indie. I’m glad I’ll be able Rio provide a central place to get info on how the indie side works. You could always go for both! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post and so obvious when you read it one wonders why I never thought about it that way before 🤔

    I do believe I’m at the find an editor stage…not that I can’t edit to a removable level but as you infer over familiarity is blowing decent revisions through inadvertantly text skipping. This has inspired the rethink…many thanks 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gary! I’m glad to offer food for thought. 🙂 Apparently I’m in a food kick today, but from the Rourke of your blog you are probably down with that! 😀 The good news is, if you’re a grammar whiz you’ve got a great place to start from. A copy edit is the least we as Indies should get, and that doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, though it still might require putting aside a bit of savings every week. There is also the assistance of beta readers and writing groups. 🙂 If there’s ever a question I might be able to help you with, please ask!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure Rachael…I’m finding your posts very useful in times of desparandum 🤔 Food seems on topic too….mind food and food food…I won’t say I’m a grammar whizz as such but maybe have an edge on most but DIY copy editing is just BLAH because it’s too familiar….I may have already said that! I’m looking at a copy edit now as it happens but beta readers would also be useful to keep the mind sane wrt the balance between like it don’t like it…that I ones a proper disturbing chafe 🙃

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m so glad to hear it! 🙂
          Beta reading, as far as I’m concerned, is incredibly important and useful. It may not a must depending on your end goal but definitely is a great tool for keeping that balance and knowing if you’re on the right track or a total train wreck. 🙂 Sorry, couldn’t think of a good food analogy there.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Juggernaut without a driver heading for a cliff?? Similar theme but probably just as accurate ! Beta readers I agree are important to settle the inner doubts that alone are (in me) omnipresent. I have two and both gave me good reviews but sometimes a strangers view point has more merit. It’s what drew me to blogging so excerpts could go up and see how total strangers reacted…except the blogosphere being what it is most of the followers are now becoming friends….a most unexpected outcome a priori….if I’d known it was this community based I’d have put blogging fears to bed ages ago 🤔

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Crumbs I hope not…I need to find a driver post haste 🤕 When I first signed up I was in awe of people like you that had huge followings and clear friends….no offence but it all looked quite daunting…until I started to engage…then I found nobody bites so I did it some more….and it’s now quite addictive…I just love meeting people and the fact that it’s a truly global place is totally amazing. I found yours from a link Simon threw at me about blog battles…but got side tracked by the writing posts. So…still no idea what one of them is….re-install newbie mode 🤔

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I’m a small fry, Gary. A truly small fry. My following is not that large, but it is a great group! My favorite part of it all is (first the writing, of course) the interaction and friends and support! I’m glad you didn’t give up or let the daunting nature of it stop you from delving deeper 🙂 Blog Battles! We’re getting that all changed up and figured out. For all the new stuff starting in May go here:
              http://www.blogbattlers.wordpress.com since I’ve been revamping it all into something even better (I hope!) 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I don’t know Rachel, you are surrounded by some good bloggers and I feel modesty has dropped in 🙂 This blog battle sounds intriguing…except…new words…pingbacks and…eh??? I only learnt how to embed links three days ago !!! I will certainly check it out though 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            4. Modesty? No, probably more like comparing to other blogs I’m following. Must be secret aspirations of grandeur? 🙂 I do feel really really lucky to have made the connections and friends I have in the social media world.

              🙂 It’s a little complicated, but it will get easier and I’m here whenever you have a question. If I don’t know the answer I’ll find it! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            5. I think you’re doing pretty well by comparison to me…and nothing wrong with such mighty aspirations either 😁 I also see folk mentioning your blog battle all over too so take the kudos 🙃 Thank you so much for the last bit too…right now I’m puzzling over a copy editor…finding them is easy but sifting wheat from chafe is a bit harder. I suspect the rise in self publishing has grown the do it through me sector hugely with some rather more reliable than others…a case of they want to decide if I’m any good means I’m going to vet them just as much 😊

              Liked by 1 person

            6. Well, thanks so much, Gary! You’ve encouraged me a ton today! 🙂

              Later this week or by Monday, probably I’ll be doing a post on editing and editors for the series. My own editor will be answering some questions on it for me and I’ll have a couple links to reliable sources to find and vet editors through, if you’re interested! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            7. I have ??? Well that’s good to know…I know all too well how lack of feedback or general supportive banter can impact moods. I’ve more or less done all my writing entirely alone…it’s a hard way to motivate! I’m definitely interested too 🙃

              Liked by 1 person

            8. You really did! 🙂
              There’s a lot of encouragement with blog battle, and if you’re willing to challenge yourself with genre, word, or plot then it will also help your writing improve over time. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            9. Then you just made my day too 😊
              Nothing like feeling good about helping someone else in whatever context it is! I’m willing to challenge genre…that is the whole issue I have with my current book…I’m confidant with horror,mauler natural fiction or fantasy fiction but this was proper outside the comfort zone and wracked with self doubt… I will have a serious look but it will be time dependant. But would love to have a go just for the practice 😇

              Liked by 1 person

            10. A 1000 words though….that seems such a tiny amount for a rambler like me…but it would help tightening word structure 🤔
              I followed the new version of the battle page though…I think I got that right, you are migrating that section of your blog to a new one yes? Oh and ping backs…do I just have to include the URL to the battle post inside my post in order for it to work (obviously enabling ping backs first)????

              Like

            11. It’s generally a challenge to meet 1000! The new battles will allow for up to 1500 words. 🙂 you did that exactly right. I needed to give battles a dedicated place so that eventually I can share the responsibility of it with someone else. And yes about the pingback. The only thing is with pingbacks you need to use a post url and not the main blogbattlers url because it didn’t accept pingbacks, which i think is a WP security feature. I’ve enabled pingbacks so it’s all set!

              Liked by 1 person

            12. You think? I get to 1000 and generally find it wanting to become a book chapter!! Sharing responsibility is a good idea too. When blogs get going time gets shorter !!! Re ping backs…. You’re probably right but your answer left me befuddled….which URL if not the blog battles homepage? Or is that the one you mean? Newbie idiot remember 😜

              Liked by 1 person

            13. Oh heck….not more projects to work up 😱

              Question…more I know…but by homepage do you mean landing page? I know you can set up static landing pages that act as home pages that readers can then migrate off to other pages. They act different to a blog because the blog lies under them…does that apply to ping backs targeted st both a static homepage and the blog front page? If my understanding is now right the ping back is purely active on a post URL. So if yiu were to throw up a blog battle announcement post and I used that URL in mind with ping backs on then it would work yes?

              Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL but that means you are not afraid to make it happen. Indie publishing is not as easy as cut, paste, click, and you are a writer whose got talent and courage. Besides, mistakes are the building blocks of invention!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the too much food in the mouth analogy. Makes a lot of sense. Good point on the editing/proofing too. Though I do have a question about. What do you do if you’re starting out and don’t have anyone to help yet? I know people suggest paying for an editor, but many indie authors can’t afford that. Are there groups to help one find beta readers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely an issue to find good editing, and trust me when I say I understand the dilemma of cost. I had to scrimp and save to pay mine. It takes time but is possible. Otherwise, it’s still so important to have someone whose well versed in grammar, spelling, and punctuation copy edit. Your question brings up a good point that we should probably touch on the different kinds of editing, too! As far as beta readers, my previous post was about that. There is a link for it just above the comments, but there again, if it’s not linked in the article itself, it would be wise to add it. Charles, as a published author, do you have any suggestions or previous posts about either topic that you could share with us? 🙂

      Like

      1. Doesn’t seem that I have a previous post outside of several reblogs. I went with beta readers after spending 10 years editing my first 3 books. Multiple beta readers there too, but I’ve been learning as I go. The challenge I was that scrimping and saving for an affordable editor wasn’t happening. So my suggestion for people in that situation is to get people you trust to look at it for spelling, grammar, and overall story structure. Also, even the professionals get a few typos here and there. A benefit of being an indie author is we can upload ‘repaired’ copies within a few hours. That isn’t ideal and you should get it as close to perfect as you can before publishing, but it does take some of the edge off. Writer groups that offer critiques can help too, but make sure they have an interest in novels or whatever it is you’re writing. I tried with a group that was more into memoirs and letters to the local newspaper editor, so my fantasy stuff didn’t get any takers.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great advice, Charles! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing that. If you’re interested in helping me out with any of these upcoming posts, I’d love your input. Thursday will be the “breakdown” into manageable pieces post, so after it’s published, if you want to check it out, maybe there is a section of the publishing process you are particularly excited about and would like to share your insight into, I’d love it! 🙂

          Like

  6. At this point, I’m telling stories to get them out of my head and onto the page (or screen). Most of the readers I’m aware of are co-workers and friends, or people directly connected to them. So I think claiming “I’m going to do this professionally” is at this point a bridge too far.
    And of course I always have the goal that a reader leaves entertained.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are great goals, David! You are not pressured to move forward, and you seem prepared to do so when or if the time is right. The greatest part is you’ve already begun to build that social platform by blogging and sharing your stories. You’ve got the building blocks to a future in writing all set. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic post, Rachael. I am just at the first stage of indie publishing, i.e. I have an editor and book is being edited well and I am happy. My publishing goal: I love writing and want it to be my career and to earn a good living so we can have the freedom we deserve. Having been so poor that I`ve combed the side of streets for money, this freedom is about living life comfortably. But, I want others to enjoy my books and hope perhaps that some of them will help people like certain books have helped me.

    Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment, question, or idea! I'd love to chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s