Anyone writing for Medium or Substack?

Hi Friends,

Just a quick question for those of you who blog here and/or in other places: Do you have any experience with blogging for Medium?

The platform was recommended to me for visibility in getting some of the messages from my first book out into the world. I’m not sure if it is worthwhile but I do love to write so it seemed like a reasonable experiment to try.

Others have mentioned Substack and the paid newsletters that are out there, but I’m more interested in giving free content away to those specifically interested in the topic.

Thanks for any feedback or experiences you may have writing for other platforms!

Be well,

Cristy

The virtual book party

It seems fitting that yesterday, at the beginning of the Chinese New Year and the celebration of Imbolc (in the Celtic tradition) that my first dozen author copies of my book arrived to my home.

I decided that I wanted my books to “hang out” with other books I’ve enjoyed and authors I love. So while my little writing muse (Willy) was dressed in his tuxedo best, I created a display to celebrate.

Cat sitting in a display with book: Unleash, Unlearn, and Enliven and books by Brene Brown, Martha Beck, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Jenara Nerenberg and Katherine May

While I know I have a long way to go in my author journey, and I’m not at the level of the amazing authors sitting next to my book. But I also know they had to start somewhere, and so did I.

Taking time to celebrate this event felt like the right thing to do. So grateful I got serious in 2021 about getting this process started and finished.

What’s your next big goal? How do you plan to celebrate when you achieve it?

Delightful nourishment

Happy 2022, dear friends!

Are you anticipating new projects on the horizon? I am excited to consider a few creative intentions for the year. I’m not one to make resolutions but I see intentions as a helpful guiding compass for any new period of time that feels right.

Typically I set intentions each month, around the new moon, which tends to be an energetic cycle of contemplation for me. This month and year what kept coming forward was a combination of two of the core desired feelings I set as intentions back in July (which is what I think of as the beginning of my “fiscal” year).

Delightful nourishment (in noun form)

Delightfully nourishing (the adverb)

Playing with those terms a bit, I wanted to phrase that in a way that makes sense in a “quantum question” type of format. Here’s my idea:

In what ways can I create assets that are delightfully nourishing for myself, my husband, my clients and my business?

After creating my first book in the past year (though I’m still anxiously awaiting the paperback proof due to me this week) I considered all of the joy and love that went into that creation. While it was difficult at times to keep going, especially during the editing phase, overall the process was delightful nourishment for my soul. For much of the process, I devoted just an hour a day to the project, but as it kept moving forward and taking shape, it was enormously satisfying.

The shadow side of that process is that since late last summer, I’ve noticed slight but steady weight gain. Only about a pound or so per month, but it is a contrast to the first 4 months of the project, when I seemed to have some effortless weight loss. It was though I was being “fed” by my creativity. With my training as a yoga teacher, and my emphasis on somatic wisdom in the book, I feel somewhat sheepish at admitting this, but it feels related.

The pure joy of creating a draft and working with words is delightful nourishment to me. And the process of thinking about how my work will go out into the world, speculating how it will be received is another matter. It seemed to bring up all my past demons with food as a way to dull difficult emotions. It probably didn’t help that the pandemic uncertainty and anxiety about contracts and jobs also came up.

I find the beauty of sunrise to be delightfully nourishing, especially when I take the time to appreciate it.

Rather than chastise myself about this, though, I am bringing self-compassion to my struggle. It can feel so vulnerable to bring our work out into the world. So much so that many people have manuscripts in drawers, and many never share their gifts.

Overeating is never delightful nourishment. It can be subtle and tenacious though. This year I want to turn to forms of spiritual nourishment instead of food, like writing, abhyanga (Ayurvedic oiling), reading delicious literature, walking in nature, drinking in the beauty around me, being present with my loved ones, and creating more books, or maybe a podcast. All of these activities feel delightfully nourishing to me.

What kinds of delightful nourishment are you planning for yourself in 2022?

Finding a Creative Publishing Team

I recently published my first eBook and it felt like such an achievement to me. After taking the time to work through a couple rounds of editing and then thinking through more changes after the Advance Reader Team helped me see where it could be improved, I felt ready to upload to IngramSpark to generate a paper version. Hurrah!

For me, a book isn’t “real” until I can order a paper format. Much as I love how digital products can generate royalties for their authors and creators, until I can hold something in my hands, it feels like a figment of my imagination. I crave the embodiment of something with weight and a cover that I might pick up in a store.

IngramSpark didn’t accept the fact that I didn’t yet have a professionally designed cover to add to my file. File rejected: bummer. I had hoped a “placeholder” cover would suffice could put off the process of locating a designer while I reviewed a bound and printed version.

What was I waiting for? I’d found my editor, Kay Grey, by putting a post in LinkedIn for an editing project. Within hours I got 8-9 applications. But only one person read the post closely and reached out to me to find out more about the budget. I was delighted when after viewing her website we connected and it seemed like a fit. Kay has made the book miles better than it could have been with my own editing.

Why couldn’t I find someone via LinkedIn for the cover design as well? Most professional designers might not work with just a one-week turnaround, I reasoned. But if I found someone who knew upfront that’s what I hoped for, maybe I could find them out there. Indeed within hours I received 8-10 applications again. I closed the post and took a look at the portfolios. One stood out in particular. I reached out. She scheduled a conversation. Turns out we have so many common interests I was delighted. She was able to take the art that I’d commissioned from a friend of mine, and turn it into a cover I really love.

Mock-up of the cover design; slight changes will be in the final version to be released in January.

This was not something I could have generated on Canva. It required an eye for visual art, competence with InDesign and an understanding of my vision for the overall project. And while there are many free tools that exist for eBook covers, I believe a physical book needs a professional to make it shine. So grateful to Natalya, who helped me visualize how this book might appear on my shelf (and hopefully for others) someday.

As authors, we can find the support of editors, artists, and cover designers to focus on our gifts. I have a deep appreciation for beautiful art, but that’s very different from actually making it. As indie authors who publish work ourselves, this can seem daunting at first. But taking it one step at a time, and being patient, it’s not so hard to find collaborators.

I’m already at work on the next book(s), which have been starting to present themselves in my morning freewriting sessions. Grateful to have worked with some amazing professionals that may accompany me on future book journeys if their schedules align.

Where have you found your best collaborators? I am curious to know.

Warm wishes for a lovely solstice or whatever holiday you celebrate.

Cristy

Is your brain (also) a drama queen?

Yesterday my brain decided to have a tantrum about “all the work” it would take to send the files to my cover designer and finalize my cover text, etc.

This will TAKE TOO LONG, it screamed.

What if you make a mistake? it wondered

What if the book is not worthy of the cover art? it speculated.

So instead of doing this task like I planned yesterday, I felt myself digging into a familiar cave of podcasts, audio books and other forms of distraction to avoid facing the task.

My brain did let me make my plan for the following day. Thank you, brain.

This morning I got up with my head less foggy. I used my prime hours (the 2 hours after waking, when I’m most clear, after my coffee, and before my breakfast) to get the files uploaded to the shared drive for the cover designer. I told her my back cover copy is 95% complete and that I’ll get a final edit to her by end of day.

Was the task worthy of all this drama? It took me only about an hour and 5 minutes to get this stuff done when I put my phone and other distractions away.

That’s how it goes. I’m ONTO YOU, drama queen brain. You can’t fool me. I know you’re trying to protect me from embarrassment about making mistakes. I appreciate that. I’m going to make my plan, and then stick to it, one step at a time. That’s how everything important gets done. I love you, but I won’t always listen to you.

Love,

Cristy

Photo Credit Link: Stephen Andrews (Pexels)

Going wide with Draft2Digital

Hello WordPress writers and readers!

How goes your December? What fun things do you have planned?

This is the placeholder cover, and I love the art by my friend Heather, but I don’t love the design. That will be changing in the next 10 days or so!

I spoke with graphic designer yesterday who will make my book cover way prettier and more professional than it looks now. Yay! I have a different idea of eBooks versus actual books in terms of how they operate and what readers expect.

Since I’m not personally fond of eBooks, I’m not devoting a ton of attention to the formatting for that this time around. I wanted to get it “up and out” but to focus more on the paperback, since that’s what I tend to idolize on my own shelves.

That said, it is fun to mark the milestone of completing the Draft2Digital launch, opening the distribution of my eBook to plaforms outside of Amazon. If you’re curious, I’m pricing these pretty low and there’s a 20% first week launch deal on D2D. Books for the cost of a latte. Don’t you love the digital era?

The indie publishing journey is proving to be fascinating, challenging and invigorating. To make a product from start to finish, hiring editors, artists, and cover designers along with recruiting an advance reader team… it’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.

So off I go for an annual “bonfire of the brushpile” trip with hubby for the weekend. Where I may take a few pages of the last draft as kindling for the fire.

Be well and enjoy whatever projects are brewing for you!

Cristy

P.S. If you are curious about the book and want a $3 pdf version, you can get it directly from my website. Thank you for supporting indie authors!