Saturday, April 19, 2014

Self-Publishing Overwhelm-Top Five Time Wasters

This is a picture of my friend and fellow teacher, Susan.  She is putting together an arts festival for our school and an arts career day while helping with testing and teaching her usual 25+ classes a week.  Can you relate?  You're trying to balance your day job, your family and social life and then on the side you have this dream of writing and publishing a book.  Who am I to tell you it can be done? 

You know that I've done it but I probably had time you don't have.  Maybe I have a family that isn't full of drama and demanding of my time and energy.  Maybe I have a job that pays me to just show up and I can use lots of free time to write and research. Maybe I have plenty of money and resources. Let me assure you none of these things are the case.

Moving forward on a dream, a goal--any goal takes time and focus.  It takes setting priorities and identifying ways to carve out extra time and energy. Here's the top five time wasters that I've had to to address in order to be creative, write and publish five books in four years:

1. Plan and prioritize--Spend some time each day and each week in setting priorities and establishing your focus.  So many people jump out of bed, rush around to get to work on time and once they get to work, address each task as it rears it's ugly head.  This is responding to the urgent rather than the important.  Take time to plan and prioritize first thing every morning.  You'll be amazed what a difference it makes.
2. Planned neglect- This is the second technique that I've used to accomplish my goals.  It means that you resist the call of so many simple things that eat into your time.  It is deciding that you will wait to unload the dishwasher until later, maybe tomorrow.  It is skipping those things that can easily be done but that suck up your time relentlessly; checking email, posting and reading on Facebook, fixing another cup of coffee and chatting with a co-worker.  Of course we all need a break and a little reward from time to time but make sure it comes AFTER you have completed your first priority.
3. Work in your strengths-I hire people to do many of the things that I either don't do well or just plain hate to do.  Does it cost money?  Of course.  But my time is better spend creating content that I can sell and make money with rather than saving money by cleaning my own house or doing my own taxes. You probably have lots of things that you do but someone else could it do better and more efficiently.
4. Networking and Learning-I belong to a women's networking group and a Christian authors' guild that meet monthly.  I'm involved in an online coaching class that meets weekly and I'm in a ten week uplevel my business class.  I attend several conferences every year. Is that part of my overwhelm?  Yes and no.  I do tend to overdo it a bit, but continuing to learn and grow is one way to stay energized.  I am also constantly learning new concepts and techniques to improve and streamline what I do.  Don't sacrifice learning and networking in order to accomplish your dream or you will quickly become burnt out and frustrated. 
5. Celebrate small victories- Sometimes we get so focused on the work we forget to stop and celebrate our accomplishments.  I finish the book but now have to focus on publishing.  It's published but now I have to focus on launching and marketing.  You get the idea.  Take some time to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing each milestone.  Schedule a celebratory party and enjoy!!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Top Five Questions about Self-Publishing

I get a lot of questions from writers who are interested in self-publishing their book.  I've been self-publishing books since 2010 and I still remember that first year when I felt so lost and unsure of how to start and what path to follow.  Here are the top five questions I get from aspiring authors:
  1. Where can I find an illustrator for my book?  Sometimes you can ask people that you know.  I found an illustrator by asking art teachers at the school where I work.  There are other possibilities though.  Online you can use or find an illustrator.  Another possibility is checking with the art department of a high school or college to see if there is a student that would be willing to illustrate your book.  
  2. Who do you use to publish your books?  At the present time I use Createspace which is through Amazon.  I have used various other online publishers but the most economical and user friendly is definitely Amazon.  It is fast, customer service is available 24/7 and the quality is equal to anything else I have tried.  There is an affiliate link in the sidebar of this page.
  3. What do I need to consider when choosing a publisher?
    • What is their customer service like?  Can you contact them in the evenings and on weekends?
    • Do they charge extra to make additions and changes?
    • Do they provide additional services such as formating or illustration?  What does it cost? 
    • What will the final cost be to you to purchase books? 
    • Will they obtain the ISBN number or copyright for you?
    • Can you obtain a proof prior to giving the final okay printing?
  4. Are there other options for publishing books besides online publishers?  If you are going to be selling your books yourself, perhaps as part of seminars or workshops that you do, you might want to consider getting your book printed by a local printer.  If you chose this route, you will need to obtain the ISBN number yourself and have someone format the book for publishing. 
  5. Where do I get an ISBN number?  If you use an online publisher like Createspace, they will purchase and provide the ISBN number for you.  If you are going to actually print the book yourself using perhaps a local printer, you will need to pay for and obtain your own ISBN number.  Here's the link  You can buy one or several ISBN numbers at a time.  It is more economical to buy several which is what I did.  When you are ready to use them, you just go back into the site and add the title and other information about the work. 
Well there you have it.  The top five questions I get most often about self-publishing.  Would you add anything to the list?  What have you learned self-publishing?

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's Time to Get Off of Your Big But!

In my last post I wrote about the many dreams of our Called Woman Conference  participants.  Most people that I talk with know they have a dream.  Sometimes it's still a little vague and needs to be developed but still, most people have a sense of a calling or purpose for their lives.  What keeps us from  moving forward and taking the next step? What keeps us from defining that calling and developing an action plan?  I think most of us are challenged by some big BUTs.  I'd like to write a book, BUT I don't have the time.  I'd like to change jobs, BUT I don't have a college degree.  I'd like to make more money, BUT the economy is too bad.  I'd like to make a difference in the world, BUT I'm not talented enough, smart enough, educated enough, rich enough.  Do you have a big BUT that is keeping you from accomplishing your dream?  Listen to this story of a young man who took a simple idea and didn't let a big BUT hold him back...


It's time for all of us to GET OFF of our BUTs and take our dream to the next level!  It's okay if the next step is a baby step.  The important thing is to begin where we are and move forward one step at a time.  What is the next step that you need to take to move forward? 

Need some help creating a plan?  Listen in to our free teleseminar on The Amazing Power of a Mastermind group, Sunday, March 30th at 8:00pm EST. You can learn about it and register here:

Join our Reinvent You mastermind group and harness the power of an accountability partner and coach to take you to the next step.  You can read all about it and sign up here:   Registration closes April 5th.