Writing Tips

Learning By Doing

I’ve always been one who learned best through doing an activity. There’s nothing more educating than going through the actual experience. I have recently applied this thought to my writing career.

See, I want to know as much as possible about the industry. Learning about the writing process is just one step of the whole picture.

After having four picture books traditionally published, I once again stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a tween novel. I finished the first draft in January. Just comprising the novel was a whole other process. Then I started paying attention to some indie publishing groups on Facebook. I’ve studied them for a few years- watching what they do, the questions they ask, the tips they suggest and I knew one thing: independently publishing was hard, back breaking work. Yet I wanted to try it.

Why? For one,the route allows you more creative control. You also earn out better royalties.

As my novel is finishing up the final editing stages, I decided to prepare for the next hurdle: the print run. Ideally, it is best to have enough funds for a decent first run – at least 1,000 books.

How do you come up with the money to fund such a project? This is when I learned another new thing about publishing independently. If you don’t have the funds to do this, you need to look into crowdfunding. Much like I stated before, I have been following authors who have been working on these crowdfunding campaigns and I have seen how much work they are.

But, I decided to go ahead and try it. I could still publish by way of Print on Demand if I didn’t raise enough for the print run. Before I committed to that, I did what I often do: educate, educate, educate myself.

I found a course that helped me strategically plan out my campaign. A friend of mine suggested I contact Lisa Ferland and check out her course. I am glad I did because even my small successes are due to her tips. (If you’re considering a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, see if she can help you.)

As I am halfway through this campaign, I am learning so many lessons at once. I’ve learned that I love every bit of the creative process from creating the book to hiring my own hand selected artist.

I’ve learned the rest of it is hard work, but it is an interesting side to publishing that I haven’t experienced closely before. What I am finding tough is that it is taking away from my writing time. This is a huge drawback for a writer. Is independently publishing something I might do again in the future? It’s possible- I am still mid process right now, but I just don’t like how much time I haven’t been writing. So, we’ll see what my final thoughts on this are in a few weeks.

As for now, if this is something you are considering, definitely do your research. Join several writing communities on Facebook. Build your audience. I’ll say that again as this was a weaknesses for me. BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE. And if publishing independently is an option for you, definitely get a head start on your crowdfunding by checking out sites like Lisa’s.

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Writer’s Cafe – a Cool Writer’s Hangout

How did I not know about this before? Was I living under a rock? I recently discovered a great site from a teacher friend (gotta love those teachers) called Writer’s Cafe. It is a free writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, make connections, etc.

I am just getting familiar with it as it is a recent discovery for me. It has the option of connecting with Facebook (another way to promote your books, etc with out the BUY MY BOOK post we occasionally come up with). At times, it is difficult to get reliable critique partners, so this can be a nice alternative. 
However, as a published children’s author, I want to remind my readers to be careful what you put up there. If you’re looking for critiques on work you will send to a publisher, do not put it online as it could be viewed as “already published” or seen in its entirety publicly, which greatly reduces the ability to sell your work. If you are honing your craft or are writing a piece just to write, this is a great place to start. Other experienced authors will give you positive and constructive feedback. 
When the time comes you want to write something to submit to a publisher, pick a few of your most trusted critiquers either from your Writer’s Cafe friends or your own private critique group and privately send your work to be critiqued. 
For authors of books, you can use this as another way to promote your books. Just go in to the Add Writing section and from the drop down menu select “book”. This is meant for people to write a book there, but you can do what I did and just add your book’s blurb. If you connected your account to Facebook, it will show on your  Facebook newsfeed. 
My blurb on A Star in the Night at Writer’s Cafe

There’s plenty to do there at Writer’s Cafe. If you’re there, look me up at   http://www.writerscafe.org/jengladen

See ya there!