Self-publishing continues to gain popularity. Authors now have the choice of submitting copies of their manuscript in hopes of having someone take an interest in it or taking things into their own hands. Self-publishing can be done by anyone but before deciding which route is best for you, consider some pros and cons of both.
If you choose to go with Self-publishing, my best piece of advice is to use an editor. You might have the novel of the century but if the basic sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are sloppy, readers and peers aren’t going to take you seriously.
I’m sure we’ve all heard people say, “A cluttered desk is the sign of a busy person”. To this, I say “Nonsense!” A cluttered desk is the sign of an unorganized person. The only time you’ll see my desk scattered with papers is when I’m in the middle of a job and, even then, it’s more like a temporary, organized clutter with a purpose.
When I decided to convert the TV room into a home office, I didn’t want it to have the same business feel as my desk at the accounting office. That one is organized with the essentials for an administrative assistant (computer, calculator, trays for various files, stapler and basic tools used constantly within easy reach, a phone, notepad, and big cup of coffee. Plus there’s always room for a family photo).
I wanted my home office to maintain a warm feeling so incorporated ideas that worked with the space. Other than the splash of bright flowers I like to add now and then, my space is very neutral in colours. This is because I work under florescent lights in a bright office most of the day so coming home a toned down space is calming for my mind and spirit.
Here are some ideas to help you organize your space:
Keep only the essentials on your desk top.
In my case, I have a laptop, desk lamp, note pad and pen for jotting side thoughts. You may want to keep a prop or photo on your desk that relates to your writing topic. I usually like to have a vase of flowers or potted plant just because it brightens my space and makes me happy.
Keep reference material and supplies offsite but close at hand.
Do you really need a whole mug full of pens on the desk? How many do you use at once? Is it necessary to have your dictionary, thesaurus and reference books all piled up on the corner?
A shelf or cabinet within easy reach allows you to access all of the necessary items without them cluttering up your workspace.
A quality chair is a must.
You can spend hours sitting at the desk so make sure you have a chair that is comfortable on the legs and back.
Baskets are a great way to add décor while storing your paper, mail, or supplies.
Create a Comfy Corner
Create a comfortable space where you can curl up with your manuscript or research material. After working at the office all day, I don’t really want to come home and sit at another desk so instead, I’ll take a cup of tea or glass of wine and curl up in the big armchair. A cozy fire makes this my favourite place on a cold evening.
Good lighting is important when reading, writing or performing any task that can strain the eyes. Make sure your space has good lighting for working, with the option of toning it down for a more relaxing atmosphere.
Views from one of my favourite writing getaway locations. I love Vancouver Island :)
Sometimes we get so busy it’s hard to find time for our personal interests, so how will we ever get time to write a book or work on our other art or hobby?
How can we eliminate distractions and regain focus?
While travelling through Saskatchewan, my sister snapped a few photos that show what parts of the Carlton Trail looks like today. Long gone are the days when it was the overland route of fur traders and explorers. Even further are the years when it was used by aboriginal hunters to track wild game. However, we can still see evidence of years gone by.
The Carlton Trail started at Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) the administrative center for the surrounding Red River colony and the launching point for the gold seeking adventurers in the story Freedom Reins. It travelled across the prairies and on to Fort Edmonton. A common mode of transportation was the red river cart.
Fort Garry is also the site of what is known as the Red River Rebellion led by an outspoken leader of the Metis people, Louis Riel. Although this event took place in the years following this novel, it is an important piece of Canadian history.
Get out and EXPLORE CANADA !
It’s “Tax Season” again, as it is referred to in the accounting world. That time of year when people gather all their information and prepare the annual income tax return.
I’m not an accountant so would advise you to contact one for more detailed information pertaining to your personal situation and also recommend exploring the Canada Revenue Agency website.
However, as a bookkeeper, I do help small businesses prepare for this process and would like to share with you some of the business related expenses you may be able to claim to offset your income as a self-employed author.
· Office supplies (paper, pens, printer cartridges, …)
· Office equipment (computer, printer, fax, copier….)
· Office furniture
· Courier, postage, freight
· Service charges for (printing, photocopying, binding…)
· Research materials (books, magazines…)
· Membership dues for writing organizations
· Payment for an assistant
· Advertising and promotion costs
· Business phone
· Equipment repair
· Bank charges (if you have a separate business account)
· Writing courses
· Writing related conventions (limit two per year)
· Travel expenses (transportation, accommodations, meals)
· Vehicle (fuel, repairs & maintenance, loan interest, insurance).
- Keep track of the kilometres used for writing-related purposes.
· Home office (a percentage of your home could be used to claim deductions on your utilities, property tax, mortgage interest and more)
· Separate business office outside of the home (almost all of the rent, utilities, and other expenses can be claimed)
*** Remember to keep all your receipts. If you are ever audited, it will make the process smoother.
A book launch is a great way to celebrate your accomplishment while introducing your book. In order to plan, you need to start with 3 things.....
· A celebration with family and friends?
· A networking opportunity?
· A chance to advertise and make some sales?
This could influence how you run your event.
Will it be a private party in a home with family and friends? Will you hold it in a public venue such as your local bookstore, coffee shop, museum, library, or a retail outlet? If your book is about health and fitness, contact your local gym. If your topic is local history, try the museum.
I held my book launch at The Book Nook @ Café Guido in my hometown. I invited friends and family, ran a press release through the local paper, put up posters and announced it through social media. The coffee shop is known for its wonderful specialty drinks which was an excellent bonus.
PLAN YOUR SPACE
We set up in a comfortable seating area where guests could relax with their drinks and desserts while taking in the reading, which was followed by a period of questions and discussions. Off to the side, a book trailer was available at a click on my laptop to attract attention and promote conversation before the event began. There was a display of books at the front counter and, since it is about travelling across western Canada to the gold rush of 1858, I included gold coin chocolates and ‘gold rush’ bags of gum.
Thank you The Book Nook for your support and a huge thanks to all the wonderful people who made is so much fun.
Congratulations! You finished your book and now it’s published. Share the news and celebrate with your family and friends. Thinking you can sit back and reap the rewards? Time to start the next story? Well, if the purpose for publishing was self-satisfaction, then cheers to you! However, if you want your work to reach people, then it’s time to slip off the creative hat for a while and put on your business hat.
Having chosen the self-publishing route, an option which has grown in popularity, I've learned there are a number of roles to play if I wish to see my book sell.
I continued through my mental checklist plus the information provided by my publishing company and was feeling very confident until I got to the section on the dreaded ….. Marketing and Promotion. I’m confident with the administrative tasks but, like many people, the thought of having to physically get out in public and promote myself is somewhat out of my comfort zone. Now I had to add:
I’m excited about the release of my book Freedom Reins. It’s been an ongoing project that began as a hobby but is now a published novel.
Join me for the official book launch on Saturday, January 18th at Café Guido’s Book Nook, 7135 Market Street, Port Hardy, BC from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Writing has been a hobby for a long time. Even during the busiest years of parenting, working, community volunteering, and so forth, I still managed to fit in some aspect of the craft during my free time.
Once my kids became adults, I decided it was time for my A-type personality to slow down. First, I would finish the story I had started years ago. The feedback and encouragement were so overwhelming that I went the extra step and had it published.
I now work as a part time administrative assistant and have more time to work on my writing projects including a website where I hope to use my experience juggling the many hats of a busy person to offer tips and encourage others.
I finally decided to take my own advice of an earlier blog where I encouraged others not to let fear hold you back but to enjoy the creative process and express yourself.
Story writing started as a hobby. At times it was a way of expressing myself and other times it was like stepping out of the real world. Then somehow, over the past few years, between holding two jobs and raising a family, I wrote a book.
There it sat for months until one day when I looked at a “bucket list” I had made listing item number 3 as “Publish a book, article, or short story”. This sent me straight to the computer to pull up the story, read it over, edit, and print it out for a few people I knew who were avid readers with different tastes. Their feedback and encouragement was enough to make me get over my fear and strike that off my bucket list.
I have no idea how it will be received but I am really happy about my decision. Some people write to share thoughts, to teach, to inform. I write because I enjoy the process and, with luck, people will enjoy the outcome.
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a secret place that is my own. When stress builds up, I hide there. When I want to be alone with my thoughts, I find peace there. When I feel the need to express myself, I find freedom there. I’ve learned that it is the place frequented by artists, musicians, writers, crafters and dancers. This magical place is the creative mind. You don’t have to be an expert to go there. You don’t have to be published or have your piece hanging in a museum. You only need to be willing to let your free spirit lead.
So now you’ve found that place. There’s something waiting to come out but you don’t know where to start. If you’re a writer like me, just turn on the computer, put your fingers on the keyboard, picture a scene in your mind and start writing. Don’t worry about sentence structure or grammar – just write. It might turn out like garbage, but get your thoughts down and worry about details and editing later.
I’m by no means an expert but I do know that it’s healthy to express yourself. Dance, paint, strum, write. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t worry about the finished results. Just enjoy the creative process and express yourself!