The Struggle: Doin’ It Myself

A Brown Girl’s Journey into

Self-Publishing

 

Hey guys + dolls,

Welcome to the struggle, my journey to successful authorhood. Everyone has their idea of what an author is, what a writer is and the various differences between the two. I often think of ‘author’ as a title, something earned, and the way to earn this title would be to be published {more importantly to profit}. Anyone with a pen and the basics of language can write but to become an author is to toil for your art and ultimately profit from it.

 

The Profit

Money, acclaim, accolades, and a deed well done are a few ways we as writers can profit from our work. Legit, there are writers who profit from their writing by simply having written. From the time I was able to write up until my sophomore year in college I e24861f33601ea2200419389322f02bbwrote for myself and enjoyed it, even forbidding anyone from reading my stories. One night I felt brave and posted one of my shorts to Literotica.

The feedback was overwhelming. It opened my eyes to another way one can profit from writing, acclaim. People, who aren’t me, have read my story and had opinions and felt moved to share them. Needless to say that had become a motivating factor in my writing. I spent the majority of my time and energy on writing and enjoyed the comments and feedback from posting. Then life cut in with its bills and its mundane adulthood. After a few months of posting I was offered a ghostwriting gig.

Here enters the third and most satisfying way to profit from one’s writing; Money. Those first fifty dollars I made off of a short story I had written felt so sweet I didn’t want to spend it. Here is borne The Struggle.

 

The Decision

The decision to become a profitable author was quite the easy one. I love to write, I love to be recognized for that writing, and I love being paid for said writing. Simple. Now choosing how to be profitable isn’t as easy. I can go the way of Octavia E. Butler and F. Scott Fitzgerald and collect a closet full of rejection letters until I attract the attention of a traditional publisher or I can assume the role of publisher and boss bitch in charge of my own publishing house. In the spirit of getting in Formation, I aligned my endeavors to become more Yonce-like. I chose the Boss Ass Bitch route. For those of us unsure I’ll go over the pros and cons of each.

 

Traditional Publishing

Self Publishing

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Your focus can be on your skill+ craft
  • Bookstore Distribution
  • Book Advances
  • Literary Prizes
  • Slow process
  • Contracts
  • Low royalties
  • Slush-Piles
  • Creative control
  • Fast to market
  • Niches
  • Higher royalties
  • DIY = The Struggle
  • Initial investment
  • Little prestige
  • No physical book

 

All jokes aside, I chose self-publishing for one significant reason, creative control. Self-publishing allows me to build my career achievement by achievement and novel by novel. By building my career this way I learn more about not only my craft but the industry within which I operate. It’s like being a tenured teacher, a job you can’t fire me from once I know enough. Also Self-publishing can pry open those doors to traditional publishing. This means the potential for literary awards, prestige, movie deals, and even Stephen King like notoriety. More so, such things will be all the sweeter having been achieved by hard work and not by winning the slush pile lottery.

The Goal

Now that the decision has been made the next 9462817bcdb9edd8256df233861d4318step is to set a goal. Success is easier to attain if you know what it looks like. Every author has their own personal goals, like a French castle, but in order to judge successful author hood those goals must be tangible. For me, the ultimate goal is complete self-sufficiency. You guys, I don’t want a job anymore I want a career and a business. I want my writing to support my shoe and gummy bear addictions. More specifically:

  • Launch 2 novels to market per year
  • Develop a community of readers {that’s you}
  • Make over $5000 in novel sales first year {its more than they make now}

 

The Struggle

Now that I know the path that I want to take and the goals I want to reach both long and short termed all that is left is the strategy. I’ve done my research and have developed a plan to turn my word baby into a full grown novel turning tricks on Kindle. Though I have no experience and a loose grasp of industry knowledge I am armed with tons of books, blogs, and bullshit advice as well as unwavering optimism. Here’s my strategy in three phases like a 90s heist movie.

Phase I – If I am the publisher of my novel I must in turn think like a publishers and it all starts in acquiring the goods. I asses my ideas and half-finished projects, poorly written old stuff and I make it a workable profitable piece of literature. This phase includes outlining, mood boards, research, oh yeah and writing. My current work in progress is Delia. I’ve just finished phase one and it is now ready for…

 Phase II – This is where things get a little more complex. I have planned three rounds first is just me give it a nice little polish, the second is my best friends and serial readers, they can be honest with me and that’s why I love them. Lastly I take it to a professional. The world isn’t as lenient as my most honest of besties. I plan to exploit the cheap free labor of my twin sister to design and photograph a cover for me. Sorry, sis, family struggle with family.. As my sister helps me get my cover on point Ill be moving onto what I generalize as legalizing. Which means obtaining copyrights, LCCNs, ISBNs, and any other Letters necessary to legitimize and protect my word baby and growing business.

Phase III – Probably the most vague and daunting of the three is Launch. This phase includes Distribution, getting my novel out to the world, and marketing , letting everyone know my novel is out and proud. For distribution Amazon has made launching eBooks to market quite simple and services like Create Space has streamlined this process for every other outlet. Distribution seems like uncharted waters and by comparison marketing seems like the deep sea but I’ll let my resources be my compass and will develop a detailed marketing strategy and when I do I plan to share the wealth.

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I’ve done my research and have developed a plan to turn my word baby into a full grown novel turning tricks on Kindle.

 

This journey will not be an easy one nor a quick one but I am strapped with strategy and perseverance. I can make this happen and I want you guys to join me. Partly because I’m scared and know I’m not the only one. I want to build a support system for all of us #BlackGirlWriters. If your with me let me know your biggest fear in this journey and maybe we can tackle them together. If you’re a alum writer drop some wisdom for us in the comment box. To stay updated join my mailing list or follow me on IG.

Ciao-Bella

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Struggle On