Crossing The Finish Line!

It started as a 10-page assignment for my scriptwriting class and somehow over the course of a year, morphed into a novel.  I had to make adjustments along the way.  I’ve always loved writing but never thought I did anything worth nurturing until that professor encouraged me in a way I’ll never forget.  I did have to change my expectations of myself, others, and just how this process would go in general, but today I am a published author!  I did not get an agent.  I could not find a publisher that would give me the time of day.

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Out of over 40 – not ONE.

I wanted to share this process for a couple of reasons.  One, so that I would hold myself accountable.  I used to be a person who would let my fears cripple me.  However, I knew that if I said out loud (or online) that I would see this through, I would DO it.  It’s true that I did not want to self publish.  I’d been asked several times if I considered it and in the beginning it was a hard NO.  I didn’t see the merit in it.  I didn’t think anyone would take my book seriously that way and honestly, they still might not take me seriously but screw it.

I knew my story was worth pushing through the boundaries I’d set for myself.  I’m not typically comfortable with doing that.  I like rules.  I like guidelines.  I like knowing the black and white and grey areas and nestling into a sweet spot that I feel I belong.  The more I let my book sit without being read the louder that voice in the back of my head became.  I had to borrow courage from my friends and family and put on a brave face a lot of the time.  I have been honest about my emotional struggles over the last couple of years but there are plenty of times I kept things to myself.

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Especially the self doubt.

Another reason was to let people know how difficult this can be.  Now that I have crossed the finish line, I want to share WHY it still feels worth it.  Why I am still worthy even though I chose to self publish.  What information I wish I had along the way that would have made this a LOT easier, technically speaking.  With my next book(s) I do hope to have the professionals.  I definitely appreciate their job a liiiiitttttle more now.  The reason self publishing seems like it isn’t that big of a deal, is because A LOT of people who want to be writers… but aren’t… publish their work without really putting in the hard work.  Without reading their own writing so many times they can recite it in their sleep.  They miss grammar issues (Guilty… which is why I am ever so grateful for my editing angel).  They miss spelling errors that spell check doesn’t catch, they miss proper formatting… the list goes on.  BUT – if this is your only option, and it has to be with little to no budget (also like me) – this is how I made it happen.

This time was just me and the small group of people who I picked up along the way while I shoved aside the thought that they just pitied me.  My “team” consists of people who were willing to give up the spare time from their real jobs, hobbies and families.  These people out of the goodness of their hearts helped to take my manuscript to another, stronger level that made me even more confident.  Although I am extremely grateful for the help they offered, I’m more touched that they believed in me before even knowing whether my book was complete shit or not.  It takes a special kind of person to do that.

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I was out on a playdate with my fellow writer/soul sister and our kids the other day and we were discussing how people view what we do.  Some people find writing tedious while it’s something we feel is necessary.  Our body and minds crave the creative outlet.  Just jotting notes on a piece of paper is enough to calm our brain because at ALL TIMES there are ideas and words floating around longing to be written down.  Now that this process has come full circle and I can complete one project, I have such a sense of release.  I feel like I can finally focus on my other manuscripts.  I can finally admit to myself that We All Fall Down isn’t just it’s own story, that I really want to expand on one of my characters in there.

Cue my THIRD book idea… juggling three books at once, all at different stages, will be tough.  But it’s what I love to do.  THIS is what I love to do.  So, I’m going to keep doing it.

I also want to share the specifics of publishing through Createspace.  It is the best of the options for self publication and for the most part, they make it VERY user friendly.  You set up your tax information right away, they help you with formatting, your cover art, book description… it’s all there for you to enter and their support staff is 24 hours.

I do have a few pieces of advice for those considering this avenue (And if you have further questions, please send them over and I will compile and do a more detailed post).  I am sharing this because I had to figure out ways to go start to finish on ZERO budget.

  1. Use Google Chrome. Your life will be SO much easier.  They don’t say up front that you will have to, but you do.  Createspace is absolutely free and everything is done within their website – DO NOT go downloading other software.  Unless you want to use something else for your cover art to upload onto Createspace.  I used Canva – it’s free and easy for dummies like me.  I did have a good friend help me with title placement/font size and another who did my technical editing – I REALLY lucked out in that.  Typically editors will charge you hundreds of dollars and cover artists are equally insane.  I know my final product will most likely still look amateur, but it’s the absolute best I could do with the tools I had and I am hoping the content supersedes the beginnerness of it and people don’t judge me too harshly.

2.   No matter what you use to write your book –  I used Word – you’ll have to format it once you upload to Createspace again.  BUT, if you can manually make your pages 6 x 9 and use a font that transfers well (Garamond – I tried Times New Roman and that did NOT work, nor did Palatino) and set your margins (1 in top/bottom, .75 left/right) properly, you will save OODLES of time.  Use page breaks instead of entering for another page as well – if you DON’T do that, it will screw up during the transfer and you’ll have to go back and fix it. However, I do prefer to get the whole first draft out, and the million drafts after… THEN go back and do the technical stuff.  You’ll make too many changes to focus on formatting upfront and you don’t need the distraction.

This article was very helpful:

3.   Go look at some of your favorite books.  Make your book look like those.  I researched pages and pages of information to find out exactly what I needed to make it aesthetically  pleasing.  Put your title in the header, number your pages.  I used an 11 font size, so I double spaced.  Keep your acknowledgments to 1-2 pages.  The shorter the better.  Have your author bio short, sweet and interesting as well as your book description.  What do you like about others you’ve read?  The one thing I remember reading is to not summarize your book…  it’s an AD not a summary.

This link was SO helpful

I also found this link amazing when I was figuring out what I was going to need to be ready for –

Createspace is non-exclusive as well which is a major plus should you want to share on other sites.

Thank you all for the continued support.  Thank you for sharing my anxieties, my excitement, my struggles and my triumphs!

I have a special link now where you can go and purchase my book and I hope and intend to fill it with more!  Please share with your family and friends!