Three weeks ago, I had a baby.
I also published my first novel.
Today, I’m drinking coffee. A whole. Lot. Of coffee.
(My first title for this post didn’t include the “without going crazy” part. But if I’m being completely honest, the jury’s still out on that one.)
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I wrote my first novel last year during my lunch breaks at the day job I finally quit at the beginning of this year. I let it sit in on a shelf in my closet for a while before I dusted it off, revised it, and sent it to a real editor who made it much shinier and prettier than I could myself.
Then, while my sweet lil cover was being designed, I worked the revisions into my manuscript. After a final read-through, I got everything else set up, including formatting and back copy.
Then, right as I was set to publish it, our baby arrived two weeks early.
Needless to say, life has been beautiful and exhausting since then. We’ve been loving on our little one and getting used to our new normal.
I’ve had to temporarily let go of my idea of a perfect schedule, an organized home, and a writing career that stays on track every single day. (Let me emphasize that it’s totally and completely worth it!!!) None of these things are out of the picture forever. They’re just on hold as we enter survival mode with our newborn and get to know each other as a family. Besides, my priorities look different now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But just because I’m a mom now doesn’t mean I’m not still a writer. I still have plenty of books to write and publish. I’m excited to do it with our little one by my side.
Anyhow, back to the point. It is totally possible to achieve your indie publishing goals even with other priorities and events happening in your life.
Here’s how I released my first book and had a baby in the same week:
1. I planned ahead.
For me, planning ahead included:
- Making a comprehensive checklist in Google Docs that I could use as a guide for what I’d already done and what I needed to do next
- Being aware of my timeline and knowing when everything needed to be completed (of course, when baby comes early you improvise!)
- Keeping myself organized daily, weekly, and monthly with this planner I can’t live without
- Reminding myself that sometimes schedules need to be flexible, especially when other people and major life changes are involved
2. I used social media to market my book before it was even finished.
Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, y’all. (I’m a slacker on Facebook, but I’m working on it.) I started talking about my book during the writing process. I shared my progress, details about my characters, and quotes from the manuscript. When my publishing date neared, people began asking me about the book and when and where they’d be able to buy it. Social media truly helped me generate interest in my book before it was published, which boosted my first week of sales.
Note: I still like to post to Instagram manually, but scheduling tools have been KEY for Twitter and Pinterest. I currently use Buffer for scheduling tweets. For Pinterest, BoardBooster has been epic. I took an afternoon to set up a few campaigns for my account, and since then it has been pinning for me and increasing my followers daily. With no effort on my part. I’d love to sit and pin all day, but I can’t. (Especially now that there’s a growing baby in the house who wants to eat constantly!)
Have you downloaded this free social media cheat sheet for novelists yet?
3. I didn’t try to do it all myself.
Confession: I can be frugal to a fault. If I can do it myself without having to spend any money, I will. (Which would explain why I’m still wearing some of the clothes I wore in high school, but anyway.) Unfortunately, when you’re trying to run a business or make a good impression, you have to spend a little to make a little.
That’s why I decided to shell out for a good editor and cover designer. Those are two crucial details of publishing a polished, sellable book. If the manuscript is disjointed and riddled with plot holes and grammatical errors, no one will want to finish it. And if the cover is shoddy, then you probably won’t sell many copies in the first place.
Yes, you’ll have to pay for a good editor and cover designer, but it’s one of the best ways to make a good impression. And it’s a worthwhile investment in your career as an author.
4. I used Book Design Templates.
Imagine an infant trying to tie her shoes while reciting the alphabet backward. That’s how good I am at formatting things. So when I discovered Book Design Templates, I did a victory dance and immediately ordered the perfect template — along with the multi-use license — to use for all of my books.
Book Design Templates makes it easy for indie authors to format their books to the industry standard and to publish books that are polished and consistent. They also provide helpful how-to guides and videos for using their templates the right way. (I became very familiar with these!) I’ve made some purchases I regret since becoming an author, but this is definitely not one of them. I couldn’t be happier with Book Design Templates — unless they actually formatted my books for me. 😛
5. I kept blogging.
Sometimes it’s good to take a break from what you’re writing to work on something else. Keeping up with my blogs, including this one and this one, was a great way to do that. When I got stuck on something in my book or just plain tired, I popped over here to write something else instead. On top of that, blogging consistently has allowed me to grow my email list, which is essential for any indie author.
Want to set up your own blog or author website? Here’s how I did mine.
You don’t have to give up on your writing just because your life has changed. Your schedule may look different. Your pace may have slowed. But slow progress is still progress. You’re still a writer, and you have books to publish. Don’t give up!
Are you an indie author? If so, how did you make the writing and publishing process easier on yourself? Let me know in the comments!