May The Force Be With You

‘May the force be with you,’ Lu Hursley wrote in an email to me after reading my last blog. At times, the process of independently publishing St Viper’s School for Super Villains has felt like going up against The Galactic Empire.

But no longer a Padawan am I. A publishing Jedi like Yoda, I think. Proficient in formatting, contract negotiation, producing illustrator briefs, finding suppliers, selling to bookshops, distributing books, balance sheets, blogging/tweeting/facebooking, facilitating creative writing workshops in schools, I have proved myself. Yet, very little time for writing this has left me.

For the last six months I have made very slow progress with the second book in the St Viper’s series. I pick it up in fits and starts and it takes me ages to get back into the story. I’m not in a playful, creative mood either. The business hat I’m wearing won’t come off! Alarm bells are ringing.

In the Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, Mark Croker says, ‘Most of the bestselling authors at Smashwords publish more than one book’. Journal articles talk about how successful writers write every day and set target word counts and top earners spend more time writing than marketing their books. Writers find that blogging ‘can eat up far too much creative energy ’(see below for ref).  And that’s just blogging on its own. However, ‘Blogging is one of the most important and cost effective ways that companies have to promote their brand and spread their message,’ according to http://www.netlz.com/seo-blog/2010/01/02/the-importance-of-blogging-  It’s a dilemma ─ no doubt shared by every professional writer.

I must confess it’s been exhilarating to take control of the publishing process and bring a book to market myself with the help of my wonderful friends, the other Electrik Inc co-founders. The mystique has gone out of book production. I know exactly how long tasks take to complete, how much they will cost and most of the pitfalls (I’m sure a few more problems will jump out on us as time goes on!) The more I do myself, the more I feel I can do. Set up our own on-line bookshop ─ makes perfect sense. Consider publishing other people’s books ─ we have the skills. Distribute books nationally ourselves ─ it just needs some research into warehousing and transportation. However, there is a price to pay.  Everything takes time away from my writing.

Book one needs less attention now it’s published but I have only just started to write again. So I have to think carefully about how much I take on in the future. I am perfectly capable of doing it all but is it the best use of my time? Children want to know when they can have the next book. Write must Jedi writer.

Kim Donovan

Electrik Inc

*Reference not available on-line:  Kona Macphee. Blogaholic. Mslexia. April/May 2012

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