(or How I Did It, a “.doc”-umentary)
So far in January/February 2022, I:
• Got approval from the zoning board to operate a business out of my home and filed an application for a business license.
• Purchased the domain name for my new business. (Get it quick, before someone else does! See note below.)
• Started an Excel Workbook to list all the resources brought out in the LaPoma Udemy class, with notes on each (links, cost, what kind of resource it is, when I sign up, etc.) (Still need to send him a suggestion to include a similar list as a handout.)
• Started another Excel Workbook in which I am putting ALL my other questions, to-dos, and so on, so that it’s all in one place. One of those things is a sheet for tag-line ideas since I’ll need one of those for my cover!
• Signed up for a free trial of Grammarly–already working in every program in which I write, including this blog post, and every single email. (I should listen to it more.)
• Signed up for the two-week trial of the One Stop for Writers web resources, where the Emotion Thesaurus is joined by numerous other thesauruses. Immediately began putting it to use in the edits of my current MS. After less than a week, signed up for a year’s membership.
• TOOK A COUPLE OF NIGHTS OFF — THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. Also started limiting the amount of time I spend on this business every day so that I have time to squeeze some fun and relaxation into my life. Hubby suggested that on weekends, I work for an hour, then take a brief break, and following that advice has been a huge help. I don’t want to burn out!
• Got my business license. Yay!
• Got the first proofs of my cover art, and can I just say they are FABULOUS! Duncan is the best, and so easy to work with! He even asked to read the manuscript before starting on his designs, so that he could have a clearer idea of how best to represent the story. I highly recommend Corvid Design.
Still on the to-do list:
• Plan and start a newsletter.
• Purchase my ISBNS (This is one of the reasons I wanted a business bank account; if I understand it correctly, the name of the ISBN’s buyer is the one to whom the work will be registered forevermore. So if I purchase them with my personal credit card, then they will show *my* name as the buyer/publisher, instead of Niveym Arts. For more info on ISBNs, check out Bowker, the only ISBN source for the U.S.)
• Open a bank account (Not sure if I’ll do this; my tax accountant says don’t, but his son—who will one day take over the business—says do. Now I’m torn. The other reason I formed an LLC was to give myself some level of financial protection in case there are ever legal issues with my books down the road. The only way to do that is to completely separate my own finances from those of the LLC’s publishing business and the works published under its banner. I need to research this more.)
• Check out Pro Writing Aid.
• Design a no-budget marketing plan. (See notes below.)
• Take one or two of the other classes I’ve purchased. (Again, see notes below.)
It’s been a minute since I posted, and I’m sorry about that. Two Big Things happened that have dragged my other activities in this regard to a crawl.
First, I got my manuscript back from my editor, who is fabulous, by the way. Most of the changes were pretty simple, and I completed them within a day or two. Then I got to the list of Words I Use Far Too Frequently. That’s when everything
s l o w e d d o w n.
(This is NOT the fault of my editor. She was absolutely right to point them out, and I’m glad she did. Going through the manuscript and seeing, for the first time, how often I used words like “head” was embarrassing–what if I had published this work without an editor? Yikes! Overuse of words in this way is one of my worst writing habits, one I hope to find some way to break in the future.)
Second, my husband and I learned we must move in two months. Same city, different apartment/home/condo/whatever. So, between frantically searching for a new place online, driving around to find/check out potential places, and other assorted moving necessities, my available time to edit has been slashed. Also, the funds I had set aside to pay for ads must now be allocated for a deposit somewhere else.
Ah well. Life throws us interesting curves sometimes, doesn’t She? It might slow me down, but it won’t discourage me (for long) or stop me. We’ll figure it out. I might publish a little later than I’d hoped (though that’s not the plan), but I will publish.
I would recommend to anyone who is planning to self-publish that they be as flexible as possible. Life doesn’t always go the way you expect, and the stress of trying to keep to a rigid schedule while navigating choppy waters is … exhausting. Be kind to yourself, and to those who support you.
Here are a few things I wish I had done differently:
• First and foremost, I wish younger me had not listened to my elders or others who told me, “Writing isn’t a suitable career. It’s only a hobby. Find a real job.” While my writing has improved in all the years I’ve been working toward this, I still wish I had started earlier. I would have been farther along by now.
• I wish I had budgeted my expenses. While I’m not sorry for the choices I made that carried a financial cost, I ended up spending more than I could really afford. Next time, I will try to do a few of these steps myself and save money. (Not the cover though. Never scrimp on the cover.)
• I didn’t register the domain name for my new LLC until the day after I registered the LLC. Luckily, the name I chose wasn’t a common one, but there are people out there watching for new business names to show up in the registers; they then buy the domain names and park them in hopes of making money from their sale or use. They could easily have bought niveymarts.com first, and I would have been out of luck.
• I wish I had educated myself about font licensing and other legalities of this business. For example, I’m pretty sure (now) that Times New Roman (the font included with my software and in which I usually write) is a font that, legally speaking, requires a license to use in things like published works. There are all sorts of threads to this tapestry. I am still following them to learn the legalities and may end up using free fonts in future books. We’ll see. This time, though, I’m using a designer for the interior, and he has the licenses so in this book, at least, I’m covered.
With our move looming, I may be even more distracted than usual in the coming months. I am keeping notes about my process as I work my way through publishing my first book, and it is my intention to keep posting about my experience as time allows.
Stay tuned and know I’m wishing all the best to you in your self-publishing journey!
**Please note that I am not a professional. Outside the writing part—for which I have taken numerous classes and workshops, and for which I’ve seen enormous improvement over the years, but which I am still learning—I mostly have no idea what I’m doing. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on, looking at how others who have been successful have done it, and learning this process as I go. I don’t want any reader of these posts to think I’m teaching THE way to self-publish; there are as many ways to do this as there are writers on the path. I am only sharing how I have done it. Your mileage may vary.