The last 48 hours have been a delightful blur. Like when you’re a kid and the cotton candy at the baseball game is larger than your head. Everywhere you look is sugar. It’s sticking to you. You literally ARE sugar.
Yesterday I learned that my book, which published a week ago during the terrible Texas ice storms (AKA Snowvid-21) managed to sell without me trying. It was amazing. And it was a #1 New Release!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you everybody. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord, thank you Universe, thank you Love.
Writers help writers! As I sold my first preorder yesterday, I wanted to pass on some useful information on the publishing process and share some helpful links that guided me on my journey.
First, let’s go over some definitions.
A traditional publisher is a publisher that charges you absolutely nothing throughout the process. When they acquire your book, they pay you an advance, and help distribute, sell, and promote your book. You have a certain percentage of royalties from books sold and do not usually retain rights to your book, thus relinquishing the creative process.
A hybrid publisher makes you pay a fee, but helps promote your book. It’s halfway between a vanity publisher and a traditional publisher. An example of this is Greenleaf Publishing.
A vanity publisher makes you pay exorbitant fees to create an inferior product. They make you pay for copies of your book that you must sell yourself. You do not have rights to your book. Vanity publishers do not help promote your book, nor do they have no connections to distributors or retailers.
Self-publishing is the DIY route. The most famous is Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. There are some vanity publishers preying on writers as self-publishing firms. Save your money and hire a freelance editor and book designer, have a beta reading team, and social media. There is out of pocket for self-publishing, but it is significantly less than hybrid or vanity. There is only out of pocket depending on your skill set (for example, you are a graphic designer, work for a PR firm, etc.) but always hire an editor. This route can also be completely free if you completely DIY with Kindle Direct Publishing.
Agents are people who pitch your book to traditional publishers. Most of the time an author will need an agent to get inside a traditional publisher. Legitimate agents do not charge to read your work.
Beta Readers are people you trust who routinely read your work before you send it anywhere to critique it. The more Beta Readers you have, the better off you are.
Query letters are like cover letters about your book sent to agents and publishers. They are one page and contain a synopsis of the book and your marketability.
Book proposals are documents including the book’s synopsis, market research, your author bio, and a few sample chapters. These are typically for nonfiction books only.
ARC Readers read your book once finished before it launches with the expectation they will leave a review.
Never pay to have someone publish or read your work!
A professional organization of writers who gather to discuss the craft of writing and the publishing industry. This is useful for self-publishers as well as those going the traditional route. They do charge fees, so check out the link below. Writer’s League of Texas Free YouTube Videos
Writer’s Digest is a treasure trove for those out on the hunt. You can do market research, learn new writing techniques, and figure out how to draft the perfect query letter or book proposal. They offer a query letter editing service for a fee. This is the only time I suggest paying someone to read your work, other than hiring an editor.
Kindle Direct Publishing The world’s biggest self-publishing hub. It’s a little clunky and hard to use, but they have a 24/7 helpline that calls you in one minute after you submit a help request. Editor For a high quality, affordable editor I recommend Liz Dexter at LibroEditing. She is UK based, but is fine for US based writers too. The biggest issue with self-publishing being a money pit is the editor. Liz went through my manuscript fast and did a great job at a price I could afford. Many freelance editors may put your book on the back burner and not get to you for 3-5 months, if at all. If you desire quality, speed, and a low price, I recommend Liz. Cover Designer Jasmine Lopez-Hipolito has a great design background. She is a recent grad working at the very affordable rate of $10/hr and will negotiate with you. Her artwork is gorgeous, as I linked to her portfolio above. How to Sell Your Books Kindlepreneur is a fantastic resource for drafting a marketing plan. They are a treasure trove of information. It’s worth it to give them your email, download PublisherRocket, and get VIP access to articles and videos. ARC Readers
ARC Readers are people who read your book for free before it comes out with the promise of leaving a review. ARC stands for Advance Reader Copies. I use BookSprout, which you can use for free at the 20 ARCs level, linked above. You will have to advertise and gather your 20 ARCs, so as soon as you begin your marketing campaign and the book is complete, take thyself to social media and emailing lists. There are other ARC websites where you can pay to guarantee someone reads, and this is the only other time I suggest paying for a reader if you can swing it. However, I’m keeping a budget in mind as I put this listicle together.
I hope you all found this helpful, and happy writing!
I will be doing promos during the preorder. Regular price after launch will be $10.99. Right now the discount is down to $4.99. During preorder, I will vary the price every two months until launch date of February 14, 2021.
The book has a lot of narrative in it, telling how to plan a wedding through story. I interview several people and tell my story. Then there is the data I gathered from the interviews and the practical side of it.
I worked with someone at my wedding, who I’ve known a very long time who graduated from an art program at my alma mater, to do my book cover. And she swung real hard and made it happen. I love what she did with Wedding Planning for Spoonies. It’s gorgeous.
Wedding Planning for Spoonies also made it through an editor, and I’m basically ready for launch except I’m going through a marketing phase that will last until the last week of April, right before everyone gets engaged. I need ARC readers, so if you’re interested, give me a shout. Throw your hands up and shout! Don’t forget to say “I do.”
I understand I’ve been missing these past few months. I’ve been struggling to find a way to be useful and not self-destructive with this blog while suffering from difficult emotions, and I have to say that while my posting regularity may not be up to speed yet, I’m happy to interact with people again.
I am working with an editor on the book, Wedding Planning for Spoonies, and an old family friend with a degree in design is working on my final book cover. Both iterations of the project should be done by January and I hope to release the book six months from that time (with preorders!).
I’ve also created a Facebook page for the book if you’d like to give it a like and a share.
On Monday, I will start grad school at a flagship university. This is a step up reputation-wise than my previous university for grad school last year. The program is entirely online so I will not have to worry about travelling, unlike my previous program.
I am very excited about this. Because I want to become a better writer, I loved my previous program. My classmates at my new school seem kind and helpful. Hopefully I will be better able to network.
The school is a technical university, so I hope I will learn more technical skills. I am very good at social justice theory, however, I am seeking a job in big tech.
I will work on grad school most of the time and supplement my free time with yoga school.
In yogic philosophy there is the concept of the known and the knower, or the field and the farmer. You observe your body, your mind, and your thoughts, but you know that is not who you are. The knower, your true self, is a soul with an inner, divine light who sees your body, mind and thoughts. Then, you cultivate and care for them.
The concept of a soul, or my true identity, was something I always struggled with. As a bipolar person, whenever I was going through a depressive episode, I was always told “that’s just part of your personality” or “that’s just who you are.” And that always hurt. I didn’t want I be the dark sides of “me,” whoever she was. If I was this monster I would certainly be doomed to my personal hell forever.
I discovered Speaking Bipolar and Bipolar Hope, then began sending articles that resonated with me to my friends and loved ones. After sending one article to my mother, she explained she did not know that what I was experiencing as a “negative personality trait” or a “negative personality” was actually a symptom of bipolar, or an illness. It was not something that I was, like having fibromyalgia.
None of my family would define me as a “fibromyalgian” or a fibro, but they would probably all say I’m bipolar and not a person with bipolar. Chronic pain may have a huge grip on my life, but it is not something others define me by, let alone experience with me. Bipolar has been more damaging due to its impact on my relationships and led to developing medically induced lupus. So, yeah. The body follows the mind.
But my body and mind are not who I am. Who I am is the unchanging essence who comes from the Divine God who created the universe. I am God’s child. This is who I always was and who I will always be. The concept of this gives me great peace. Now, I can tend to my field better.
I finished my first week of yoga school yesterday, and already it has been an enlightening experience. For one thing, it expanded on the idea of what the path to a higher consciousness is/heaven/God is — and that is love. Love for yourself, devotion to love, which leads to love for others. This is largely self-care, which doesn’t necessarily mean mani pedis and bubble baths. It’s getting to know yourself and learning to love what you find. You seek and find.
This also means that I can feel gratitude for my body as a vessel, which helps me to deal with my chronic pain better. Saying thank you to my body for however much it can move helps me to move even more. It is true I am in a pain flare, but I am still moving through it.
One thing I have found is that everyone is an embodiment of light, or love, and we all deserve to love ourselves and be shown love. This means I treat everyone the same, from my husband to my dog, and have love towards myself when I inevitably mess up. I should have been able to learn this from my upbringing alone, but sometimes looking at pretty much the same thing from another angle helps to absorb the message.
I have a few Christian followers, and I assure you what I have learned largely lines up with Christian philosophy. You cannot love God without feeling love yourself. There is a teaching of grace and works towards oneself and others in yoga philosphy.
I am writing this as a reflection of the history of yoga and yoga philosophy that I have learned on my first week of class. I found it to be extremely interesting and worthy to pass on.
Before I developed chronic pain, I had a host of mental health disorders. Two biggies were dissociation and anxiety. I would bump into people walking around in public, duck out of hallways to be met by a face too flustered to apologize (and not sure to apologize). Not to mention my health was poor in general. I lacked stamina and self-esteem (problems which came back later).
My university offered 200 level and 300 level kinesiology courses in yoga for a required fitness credit. I took three of these required 200 level courses because I loved it so much.
Gradually, through learning savasana and deep breathing through poses, I became more in tune with myself. I began to see the world around me and my place in it. It was easier to not bump into people in public and my posture improved — because I was now aware of how my physical body felt.
Outside of my kinesiology classes, I took yoga at the recreational center daily, and purchased a yoga mat (which has now been destroyed by cats, and I badly need a new one).
I fell out of yoga when I graduated college due to working the night shift, but journeyed back once I developed chronic pain. I found I still remembered many of the asanas and my yoga textbook from college. Surprisingly I was still limber — although the philosophy of yoga is so much more than that.
Right now 45 minutes a day of yoga is helping my pain flare, any more than that is damaging me. I am hoping I can pull out of this okay. Right now the Yoga Alliance is letting online students register with them upon completion of a Registered Yoga School’s program by December 30, and I intend to do just that.
I can throw myself really hard at things, and I’m trying not to do that. Pacing for me is very difficult. Currently I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita as an audiobook and copying my notes from the past two days.
I wrote an article for URevolution a while back and was paid in the form of a T-Shirt via a $30 gift card. As my weight fluctuates I always need new clothes, so I welcomed the opportunity to amp up my wardrobe. The designs URevolution has are also cute and minimalist.
I ordered a 2XL, and it fits me like a T-shirt dress, which is what I wanted. I especially like this shirt due to pride month.
When I was in high school, in my tiny rural town, I had a gay friend, out of the two gay people in that entire village. His dad found out and he had to run away. He’s doing great now, but at the time I was really upset and full of righteous indignation.
If I write for URevolution again, I plan on getting this shirt:
I really like URevolution’s disability focus and intentional inclusivity of all types of disabled people across races, genders, and sexual orientations.
They are new and a little disorganized, but they will communicate with you should you have a problem receiving your gift card like I did. I found them to be cordial and kind.
URevolution also ships fast. I had my shirt in 3 days.
If you’re interested in branching out and getting your first paid gig, I recommend writing for URevolution.