self-publishing

Changing “If” to “When”

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I have a tendency to say “if” I do something, instead of “when” I do this. For a lot of issues, this isn’t a super big deal. The mind set of wondering “if” you would complete a goal, compared to the mindset of preparing to complete goal.

Before I published, I was in the habit of using “if” phrases.

“If I publish…”

“If I become an author…”

“If I finish…”

“If I…”

This is where “if” becomes dangerous. “If” implies an uncertainty about the future of events. I didn’t even realize that I was using this word until one day my grandmother corrected me.

“When you publish your novel, not if.”

I hadn’t even realized my uncertainty until she brought it up to me. She was right. So I started to change the way I was speaking about myself, and in the end, changed the way I was thinking about myself.

By changing “if” to “when” we are encouraging ourselves on a subconscious level that we will complete the goal at hand. We will complete the task that we set out to do. We are also expressing to others our certainty and confidence in the completion of our task.

When I publish…”

“When I become an author…”

“When I finish…”

“When I…”

It is one word. One single little word that changes a sentence. As a writer, I understand the importance of words. The power that words can have over ourselves and others. By changing “if” to “when,” you have the power to change your life. It has changed mine.

Until next time,

GW

Tips for Procrastinators Who Write

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Hey!

For me, summer is the best time for me to get work done. However, it is also the best time for me to procrastinate. Especially since I finally paid my library fines, and I can finally check out books again. And boy have I been checking out books. I’ve checked out ten books in the last two weeks and am almost finished with the stack!

However, I am finally starting to get back on track with my writing.

I am, and always shall be, a procrastinator. I am not as terrible as some people (s/o to my sister, who is, by far, one of the worst procrastinators I have ever met in my life). However, I have learned some tactics to help manage my procrastinating.

TIPS TO HELP THE PROCRASTINATORS OF THE WORLD

  1. Set deadlines.

    • This is the one that everyone hears about, and people who are procrastinators simply wave at deadlines as they come and go. However, it is a necessary one. I personally know that I work better when I have a deadline. So for me, during the summer I am aiming to have 20 pages completed a week. I have another part-time job for the summer, so I am not able to write full-time. For me, 20 pages is about as much as I can reasonably commit to. However, I keep myself flexible. I mean for 20 pages to be a minimum; more is always better.
  2. Tell others your deadlines.

    • I am horrible at holding myself accountable. I will set a deadline for myself, but I am not always inspired to keep it. So, when I set deadlines for myself, I tell my editor what my goal is. She holds me accountable to meet my goal, or at least come close to it. No one can make you meet a deadline, but by having someone else in the loop about your goals, you are now accountable. There is some pressure to help meet the deadline.
  3. Reward yourself for meeting deadlines.

    • When you meet a deadline that you set for yourself, be excited and celebrate. How you celebrate or reward yourself is up to you, but it is perfectly okay to reward your good behavior.
  4. Avoid distractions

    • This is a hard one to do, especially if you are using a computer that has internet access. A great distraction is just a click away. Honestly, this one requires a lot of self-control. YOU have to make the decision to not go on social media or watch endless funny videos. That isn’t always easy, especially when you are trying to avoid writing. To help myself with this one, I will turn off the wi-fi on my computer. That way, getting to the distractions takes an extra step (which always makes me feel guilty), and I don’t get email notification across my screen.
  5. Find the reason why you are procrastinating.

    • This does involves some self-reflection, but you have to be honest with yourself about your reasons for procrastinating. I find myself procrastinating, in terms of my writing, because of fear. A lot of writers deal with self doubt. It is a nasty thing that really keeps me from putting words to a page and instead leads me to scroll social media during my writing time. I consider myself somewhat of a perfectionist when I am writing. I hate to write something that isn’t amazing or awe-inspiring. The fear of not living up to the expectations that I set for myself constantly keeps me from putting fingers to the keyboard and typing. Something that I constantly remind myself is that if I let the fear keep me from writing, I won’t ever write anything. Another thing I remind myself is that I can always go back and edit. Nothing that I write is forever (unless I put it on social media).

I hope you find these hints helpful!

-GW

Behind the Scenes: The Story Behind the Cover

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Hello!

I’m sorry it has been a while since I last posted! It has been a couple of months since What Little Remains hit Amazon! I am so happy with the response and ask that you let me know if you enjoyed the book! I love to hear my readers’ thoughts about the book!

It was a very long journey to get to March 18 for the publication of my book. Part of that journey was designing the cover. I received such a positive response to the cover that I thought I would share the story behind it.

I am very lucky to have people in my life who know how to do graphic design and were willing to help me through the journey. Before a graphic designer would be needed, I had to have a photo.

The Photo:

Over a year ago (before I even had the current title), I loved the idea of using roses on the cover. For a long time, flowers have had meanings. Now, the meaning behind flowers isn’t known to most people, but I love symbolism. Plus, roses were easy to photograph. My first “photo shoot” for the cover, I used three colors: white, red, and yellow. I had several of each. It was fall, so I collected all of the beautiful dead leaves I could. I also used fake blood in some of my photos.

I took over 200 photos and used none of them.

The next time I did a photo shoot, I decided against using the leaves. For one thing, it was the dead middle of winter. The other reason was that they really didn’t work in the photograph. I took the second set of photographs over my Christmas break (early January 2015). I shot the first day outside for two hours in twenty-degree weather.

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(As you can see, I look super cute. I am sporting thermals, sweatpants, a sweatshirt, my dad’s flannel jacket, a hat, and the lovely scarf I stole from my mom.)

Once I decided on the title, I thought that it would only be fitting to use ashes. So I spent about thirty minutes the night before burning paper (my old math notes).

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(BURN MY PRECIOUS! BURN!)

After about two hours in the cold weather, 400 pictures, and choking on the ash I was using, I got the picture that would eventually be edited into my cover.

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This cover is the background on most of my social media postings and is the photo used for the cover. To get this photo, I had my ashes, and I burnt the tip of my rose. (Yes, I played with matches again.)

The Cover:

Once I had decided on a photo, it was time to give it to my graphic designer. During this process, I was very fortunate that my publishing and marketing director knew a graphic designer who was willing to help us out.

For the first round of cover options, he sent us a very wide variety. Ultimately, the way the cover was designed in this photo was almost exactly what I was looking for.

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And after a few tweaks, we decided on this final cover.

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I am extremely lucky that throughout this process, I was able to work with such a talented graphic designer.

I will say that it is really important for you as the author to stick to your vision. It’s your book, so please don’t be afraid to stick with your ideas. However, if you do ask a graphic designer for assistance, please trust their guidance. Unless you have experience for graphic design yourself, you probably don’t have the same artistic eye that they have. Have a general idea of what direction you would like to take, then speak with your graphic designer.

You will be hearing from me soon!

-GW

5 Things I learned My First Month of Self-Publishing

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There is a lot of advice out there about self-publishing. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, and some of it is actually helpful. I want to share my experience to help save you some of the frustrations that I have faced and help you in areas where I have learned things the hard way.

I only self-published this past March, but I have learned so much in such a short time period. These are five things that really stuck out to me that I think every author should know before they self-publish.

  • Self-publishing should really be called self-publishing-promote-market-repromte-ing. You are truly on your own in this event – even if you have connections, you have to be the one to use them to your advantage. Nobody cares about your book until they know about your book – and nobody knows unless you tell them.

    • This is something that is super frustrating. It is talked about a lot, but you honestly don’t realize how hard it is until you are doing it yourself. I was also going to school full time when I was promoting my book, and it is really hard to find a balance. Be honest with yourself about the time that you can give to promoting your book so that you don’t get frustrated because you aren’t living up to your expectations.
  • Followers on Twitter/Facebook don’t automatically mean buyers/readers. Even your network has to be convinced to buy your book.

  • Sales are SLOW – even though my sales tripled my first day to my third, sales slowed down after the initial push. Getting readers who don’t already know about you to buy your book is crucial, but hard work. You won’t likely be a millionaire overnight.

    • This is something that I still really struggle with. When you write something like a book, you put a little piece of yourself in it. And you know that it is awesome, but you don’t understand why people also don’t see the awesomeness of your book.
  • You need a good team to bounce ideas off of or else you will go crazy.

    • I am very fortunate that I have someone in my corner that I can talk through my ideas with. My publishing and marketing director is a great person to talk through strategies with because she will tell me the truth and helps me to brainstorm so that I’m not alone in this process.
  • You shouldn’t give up! If you have something good to share with the world, don’t be discouraged if it takes time. If it’s worth sharing, keep trying.

These are just a handful of things that I have learned over the last two months. Let me know if this advice was helpful to you or if you have any other advice for first time self-publishers.

-GW

Why I Decided to be an Indie Author

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This is a post about why I decided to be an indie author. Not because I couldn’t get a publisher, because I chose not to.

For a long time, there has been a stigma about authors that publish on their own. Perhaps it was true, that more often than not, self-published authors only published because they couldn’t get an agent or a publishing house to pick them up. Today, with more and more readers preferring electronic books, authors have started to meet their readers on that platform.

My Journey

When I first started to get towards the end of the road with What Little Remains, I was very set on submitting it to a literary agent. I read tons of books on how to write query letters (something that you get to avoid when you self-publish). I bought a several-hundred-page book that explained the process of writing and submitting to a literary agent. Also, it listed almost all of the literary agents in the business and what they liked to receive from writers. I painstakingly spent hours going through that book, finding all of the literary agents that would most likely accept my manuscript. I narrowed the list down to twenty, then to my top five.

I was dead set on this road, until I started to talk with another author. I was, like many, under the impression that self-published authors only self-published because they couldn’t get an agent to like their manuscript. My author friend corrected me and showed me that in today’s world, that is simply not the truth.

More and more authors are cutting out the middleman publishing house (who takes a large chuck of the profit) and publishing themselves.

And for a first time author like myself, I would still be doing most of the work I am doing as a self-published author even with a publishing house.

So there were a few main reasons why I decided that self-publishing was the right path for me:

  • Money.
    • Authors don’t talk about this a lot of the time, but it was a big motive for me in deciding to self-publish. I didn’t think I would make tons and tons more money because I self-published. Rather, for a first time author with no fan base, I knew I had to build my platform, which meant that every single penny that I make goes back into my book. While some publishing companies might help with some promotion, they do take their part of the profit (which they are entitled to, because they did provide a service). Then a literary agent (if you have one) also takes their percent. When you run the numbers, for a first-time author like myself, it just made sense for me to self-publish.
  • Creative control.
    • As a self-published author, the story that you read is entirely my story. I had several editors who really helped me to hone my story, but this is my story. These are my characters and this is my plot. Not all writers that publish through traditional means have that same privilege. That is not to say that all books that are published are completely controlled by the publishing houses. I just mean that I wanted this story to be mine, entirely.
  • Pressure.
    • Don’t get me wrong; there is a lot of pressure no matter how one chooses to publish. For me, there was less pressure in the long run if I made a mistake. Having my book published as an e-book means that I can go back and change minor mistakes that I made. Unfortunately, I am not perfect and neither is my editor. There are only two of us and, after reading the same material so much, occasionally mistakes slip through our notice. Having an e-book allows me to easily go back and fix my mistakes. It takes a lot of the pressure off of having to have that one perfect draft.

To self-publish or not?

Ultimately, this is a decision that every writer has to make on their own. I highly recommend doing a lot more research on the topic. Don’t just self-publish because I chose it or someone else tells you to. Do it because it is what is right for you (if it is right for you).

I will have more posts coming later this month about self-publishing and my experiences with it. Follow this blog or follow me on Twitter to get updates as I post them!

(Want to learn more about my book? What Little Remains. Check it out!)

Until next time!

-GW

(P.S. If you are an indie author, I would love to know if you relate to this or not–and what your own experiences have been like with self-publishing. Leave a comment below!)