SelfPubCon in less than 15 hours! 4am for me!

Hello Friends,

I am not sure how many of you are in the Self-Publishing space or consider yourselves “indie” authors. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Self-Publishing Advice Podcast from ALLi. For a reasonable annual fee that works out to be less than the cost of paperback book per month (at least the trade paperbacks), they have a treasure trove of resources for their members.

Free 3-day pass if you become a member of ALLi.

Since I’ve been working away at my first book, I have delighted in the idea of being my own book publisher. While I realize the final product will be different from something that Penguin Random House or HarperCollins would produce, I hope any neurodiverse folks like me (or anyone who feels like “cover” some aspect of their identity at work) receive it as an offering of love.

Though I realize the knowledge sphere (and the blogosphere) is a crowded and noisy space, but it excites me that past gatekeepers are so much less relevant than they used to be. I won’t give up reading the authors I love (of course) and enjoying books that are produced in a high quality way. I squeal with delight when Liz Gilbert, Martha Beck, Glennon Doyle or Celeste Ng publish anything new. And yet, how many undiscovered voices become discoverable when the (largely) white, male, neurotypical, ableist gatekeepers no longer get to bar the doors ?

I realize there is potential for right-wing scary types of people to publish as well. Hate speech is also increasing in this time of algorithms and weird amplifications of dangerous ideas (maybe that’s what led to the January 6th debacle at the U.S. Capitol). To me that makes it even more imperative that marginalized voices, whether they are BIPOC sisters and brothers, disabled, neurodiverse, non-binary or LGBTQ+, or any other flavor of human can connect and form communities.

Self-publishing is one of those means, and I think it holds the potential to amplify voices that publishers have scoffed at in the past: “There’s no market for that!”

Just because they cannot “see” or acknowledge our market does not mean we do not exist. And as the marketplace of ideas allows for more perspectives, it excites me to imagine the possibilities for the more sensitive and imaginative folks in the world to find their voice.

Okay, rant over. Anyone else joining me for this one? Or will I be alone at 4am central time with my coffee and in my pjs?

Cheers, happy writing & happy weekend, whatever is ahead for you!

cristy@wedefydefinition.com

Shipped draft to my editor

Whew!

Even though my manuscript draft likely needs substantial developmental edits, it felt great to ship it out today.

About two weeks ago I got a strong impulse to find an editor. A couple of friends had volunteered to read the draft, but I realized after I had a few friends read the introduction the first time, that I really needed to have someone with experience to help me edit. I got great feedback, but it was not detailed enough to make decisions on the overall book.

About 15 years ago I finished the draft of my master’s thesis. It was only 40 pages, and it nearly killed me to write! I sometimes tell the story that it cost me my first marriage, my home and my job. But that’s probably an exaggeration. Just my marriage and my home then… 😉

This time around the book will likely be 110-130 pages. All in all, it’s a short book. But still, the number of decisions it takes to complete a project like this felt overwhelming to me. So I decided I would hire someone to professionally edit given that I am self publishing this time. Even if it costs me something, I want to spare my reader too much wandering from the main point.

So I posted a little ad on LinkedIn on September 10th for a freelance editor and in 2 hours I had 8 applications! Only two of the prospects actually read the posting carefully enough to see that I asked them to email me if they were interested. She reached out to ask about the budget and I told her I have no idea what I’m doing. But her quote (per word per round of editing) sounded very reasonable!

We decided on a small test project (an article for LinkedIn on the Shapes We Ask of Our Bodies) and I sent her $50 via Venmo for some accountability on that project. She gave me a wonderful edit and quick turnaround on that one. I was so happy, I Venmo’d about half of what I expected the next edit to cost me just to give myself the accountability to get it done by a week later.

So now my self-imposed deadline has been met. I expect I will also work with her on a second edit for line and copy editing and possibly a third for the proofread as well.

My relief is palpable. Nobody has read the entire thing, but I am confident that with her compassionate surgery on this project, it will turn out so much better.

Question to you: If you write books, do you work with an editor? Why or why not? And how did you find them?

Cheers,

Cristy

P.S. If you want to work with someone for an article or book edit, check out Kay Grey’s website. It may have been her amazing shot of her bookshelves that sold me… anyone that reads that much and has already improved my work is a great find. I just hope she doesn’t find the book-length project to be too scattered. I want to be worthy of the editor’s time!

On the joy of missing out

Hi Friends,

I just returned from a few days of blissful off-grid time for my birthday over the weekend. I was in a tiny cabin near the north shore of Lake Superior without wifi, electricity and running water.

Full confession here: I charged my cell phone via my car charger when I went for visits to “town” or picked up groceries or had a spot of lunch in the places nearby. And I used the flashlight feature when I lost light in the evenings and still wanted to read.

But for the most part, I moved to the slower rhythms that all of the usual over-stimulation does not seem to allow in our post-modern life, even post-COVID-19. It was amazing and wonderful, highly restorative.

During the first day I struggled with not being able to “post and share” about my adventures. But after days 2 and 3 I relaxed into the rhythm of delightful simplicity, the way we do on a vacation where we have not planned much, besides the bliss of letting our minds wander.

If you have time this summer to spend a long weekend, or even an entire week off the usual “grid” of social responsibilities and obligations, I highly recommend it. I’ll be sharing via LinkedIn and my other web presence a few things I observed during that time. I’ll probably post some photos here once I get around to indexing them… but today I am embracing my slowness.

In the meantime, I wish you much off-grid time to daydream, write, read and be WITH YOURSELF during this summer season.

Much love,

Cristy

Starting the query journey

Hi Friends,

I hope you are well and enjoying the glorious month of May! Last week I reached out to my networks to ask for a few people who are willing to read my query letter draft before I start reaching out to agents.

When I began researching agents via QueryTracker, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few prospects that seem like a fit for my manuscript. I looked on Manuscript Wish List for more information and got very excited. So I set about researching how to write a query letter.

I am curious about the “hook” and wish I could read examples of others’ winning query letters. If any of you writers out there have advice, I am open to your advice!

Cheers & happy writing,

Cristy

P.S. I have received both of my vaccine shots! So excited to be able to get out and about again, though this introvert will be pacing herself. Wishing you health and wellbeing for the season ahead.

Saturday Share – 10 Eye-Opening Writing Rituals from Great Writers — Victoria Ray

The author should die once he has finished writing. So as not to trouble the path of the text. Umberto Eco The truth is (social distancing or not), I am still a very disorganised author. How could I publish so many books? 🤨 I don’t know. That’s why I’m diving in into some rituals of the greatest,…

via 10 Eye-Opening Writing Rituals from Great Writers — Victoria Ray

For those of you who would like to establish a writing routine during quarantine, my friend and writer Victoria Ray has pulled together a few ideas for you.

Cheers & happy weekend,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Saturday Share – Getting back into it — Libre Paley

In my last post I mentioned getting back into writing again (Passion lost, passion regained), and also referred to the potentially excruciating experience of revisiting an old draft. I selected something I composed, very roughly, several years ago, about 25,000 words of it. Well, a few passages were more ‘refined’, those that had been redrafted […]

via Getting back into it — Libre Paley

I really liked this post about getting back into a project after you’ve taken some time away. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Happy weekend, friends!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com