Hello. Welcome back to the show. I am your host Miranda Anderson and this is Live Free Creative podcast episode…I have no idea. What is it? 37? 47 you guys? 47 let me double check. Yes, it is confirmed podcast Episode number 47 today.
If that introduction doesn’t give you an indication that I’ve had quite a week, I don’t know what would. It’s been wild over here and so I’m going to start off this show with the little life lately.
Segment: Life Lately
I record today, I am in my mom’s office in her home, the home I grew up in Holladay, Utah, where we’ve spent the last week and a half hanging out with friends and cousins and my family and having our big launch party picnic kickoff for more than enough last week in Orem, Utah.
My family was supposed to get in our van and drive home the day after the launch party picnic, but as life would have it, and I believe, I do believe that the universe is always working in my favor, that all of the things that happen are for my good, not only just for for general good, but for my betterment. My sweet old minivan needed some work done. So, driving from Virginia to Texas was smooth as could be driving from Texas to Utah. We noticed that the car was slipping a little bit between 40 and 50 miles an hour between fourth and fifth gear.
I took it in to the dealer here in Salt Lake. We didn’t buy it here, we bought it in Texas, but I took it in and they told me a couple of hours later over the phone that my sweet van needed a new transmission, which is kind of a big fix. So, I took it to a transmission specialist to see if we could have another second opinion just to make sure we were in the clear and he said that it did in fact need some work done. Not a fully new transmission, but the transmission needed to be rebuilt.
So, instead of heading home to Virginia last Sunday, we have spent this week in Salt Lake hanging out while the van is being fixed now. We made the decision to fix instead of replace because I feel like she still has a couple of good years in her.
I really love it. We bought this car used about six years ago. We’ve put a ton of miles on it because I love road tripping and you know if you’ve listened to the show that we road trip all over the country every summer and sometimes back and forth for Christmas and the holidays and things like that. And so I feel like she has a few more good years in her.
And I also feel like in a few years I might be out of minivan stage, I might be able to move on to something without sliding doors, which I would never give up my minivan years, I’ve loved them completely. I could profess all day long my love for minivan during the minivan stage of life, which I am squarely in the middle of right now. We wanted to just make it work. So I have spent the last few days going on hikes with the kids, hanging out with cousins, swimming in my mom’s pool and generally trying to make myself useful during an unexpected addition to my vacation.
I had lots of plans for this week back in Virginia. I had a babysitter lined up. I had some work to get done both for the podcast and for the free creative company as well as on our house, which is not quite finished yet from our big renovation that we’ve been working on now for about eight months from our flood back in November.
But I think that we’re going to be okay and I’ve been practicing what I preach. I won’t tell you that I have this unexpected transmission occurrence has been without some grumpiness on my behalf. In fact, this morning I called Dave and just said every single thing about life feels different than I thought it would right now today, like I didn’t expect a lot of this, this craziness and I, I don’t really want to be here. That’s actually what I told him. I don’t really want to be here.I’d rather be home.
But I took the kids on a hike and quickly, within minutes of going on a hike felt like I actually do want to be here. This is exactly where I should be. The sun is shining, my kids are playing, we’re having a great time. We have this extra time with cousins. It’s so nice. We have the flexibility. I didn’t have anything dramatically urgent on my schedule this week because it’s the summertime and we’re off and that we got stranded with family.
I could have started driving, gotten stranded somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and had my car fixed in the middle of nowhere and instead we get to spend an extra week on vacation. So life lately has looked a little wild.
More Than Enough Launched This Week!!
Did I mention that the book launched on Monday with all of that other craziness, it kind of felt odd. Uh, I actually launched on Tuesday. It launched on July 9th and was so fun to all day long have people sharing, opening Amazon packages from their front doorstep and finding the book inside and some people already digging in and reading it and doing the worksheets inside the book.
More Than Enough is going to make some people think and I’m so so excited about that. If you have got your copy already, I can’t wait to hear what you think about it. Please send me messages or emails. Let me know how you’re enjoying it. And if you haven’t got a copy yet, it is now available in hard copy and kindle version on Amazon and the audible version will be live later this week and I will make an announcement when that is out so you can follow along on Instagram to get a feel for that.
Dave is home now. He flew home to spend the week working. He reports that the chickens are doing well and that the hydrangea are still alive. So, I think that things are going smooth all around and even these crazy unexpected bumps in the road, we will be able to look back on and know that they were exactly what we needed at the time that they happen.
I love the perspective that the universe has my back and that all of the things that happened to me are actually for my betterment and for the goodness to come to fruition in my life. And that perspective, even when I have grumpy mornings is what pulls me through and helps me to see the good. It helps me to find what I want to find and what I’m looking for in my life are the miracles. What I’m looking for are the evidences that I’m on the right path, that I am creating the right path because I know the ultimately that I have the agency to choose what I want my life to look like and even more importantly that I can choose what I want my life to feel like. And so that’s, that’s what I’m working on and that my friends his life lately.
Publishing A Book
Today’s episode is sort of a follow-up to last week that was all about writing the book. I shared the process that I went through as I decided to write a book and how I actually implemented some systems in order to make that happen where I went from blank page to finished manuscript to completed book.
Now today’s episode is going to be walking through the steps and sharing the insights scoop on publishing that book. Once I had a manuscript in hand, I needed to do something with it in order to bring it into the world and that is where publishing came in. There are lots of different ways to have a book published and I’m excited to share the process that I chose today and the reasons why and the underlying feeling of this episode regardless of whether or not you’re working on a book, if you’re interested in publishing a book or if you have some other thing in your life that you want to do.
I feel like the underlying theme of this episode for me is that of giving myself permission, not waiting for other people to give me permission to do the thing that I want to do, but claiming the ability that I have to make decisions for myself and use the resources available to me to bring to pass the project, the work and the outcome that I am hoping for. So that is what I want you to listen for and to start to apply to your own life.
Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing
As I share my story with publishing today as we get started, some definitions may be helpful, so I’m going to share what the two main types of publishing are that happen right now.
The first and most widely understood is traditional publishing. In this case, an author sells a manuscript whether finished or unfinished to a publishing house who then takes upon themselves the design, editorial and a printing and distribution process for the author.
The author writes the book and then hand in hand works with the publishing house in order to complete the rest of the process. In that case with traditional publishing, the author is under contract for the actual manuscript itself but then also is in charge of doing a lot of the marketing. However, they don’t have any responsibility over the behind the scenes process of getting the book into bookstores, getting it online or how it actually gets into the hands of the people.
The other type of publishing that’s becoming more and more widely understood and used is independent publishing or what’s sometimes called self-publishing. In this case, the author assumes responsibility from a to z for the book process, the writing and editing of the manuscript, the design process and all that goes into that, the cover and the interior design, the distribution, which includes choosing the formats you wanted available in where you want it to be sold. Then also the marketing and getting the book itself printed or digital into the hands of the consumers.
There are some distinct differences and some distinct pros and cons to both of these situations, and I want to share that.
I Wanted to Write A Book
When I decided to write my book, I knew right away that I was going to write the book regardless of whether I went with traditional or independent publishing, that my goal initially was to just write the book and that I would figure out how to bring it into the world. After that main part was done because the writing of the book really is where the majority of my work seemed to lie.
Now my intention was to get started writing and to write the manuscript and then to sort of figure it out. However, I had a friend who had just signed a contract with a big publishing house right around the time that I was talking about starting my own book. And she reached out and connected me to her agent. And agent is sort of a manager for an author who is able to create sort of a liaison to the publishing houses and agent generally has some relationships already with different publishing houses and is able to put your best foot forward using their relationship on the kind of as an insider.
I had a friend refer me to her agent and say, “I think my agent would really like what you’re doing.” This was really exciting and sort of unexpected at this very beginning stage of my writing. And so I actually had a phone call with an agent before I even did my first writing retreat, which you may have listened to in the last episode in Episode 46 and so when I spoke with her on the phone the first time, I said, “What do I need in order to do a proposal? What am I looking for?”
I Met With An Agent
She helped me solidify the idea that I needed a really solid outline and I needed a solid introduction and so if you listen to the last episode, you’ll note that I decided during that retreat that if I didn’t get anything else written that I was going to have those two solid pieces. Now when I went to the conference right after my writing retreat, I was able to have lunch with the agent.
We sat down and I shared my story and she read through my proposal and we went over all of the different pieces and she really loved it. She was really excited about the idea for my book. All I had written really was just that beginning part. I hadn’t written the whole book yet, but I did tell her in that initial meeting that I was going to write the book and publish it whether or not it was picked up by a traditional publishing house and that I wasn’t actually sure yet which like whether or not I wanted to traditionally publish or self-published that I hadn’t made that decision yet. I was still just working on the writing.
Changing The Angle Of The Story
Within a few weeks from that meeting we had had another couple of conversations and in one of the conversations the agent had told me that in talking with her team, they had noticed there was this white space in the market for a story close to mine but with a different angle. And she said, we think that it would be really fun for you to write your book from the perspective of a millennial who is using her finances in a new way, that rather than waiting for retirement, that you’re advocating people not buying a lot of stuff but using their money to have adventures, which indeed was one part of my story, but it wasn’t the whole story. And it definitely wasn’t the story that I was intending to write or the message that I was intending to share.
But the job of an agent and a publisher is often to sell books to bookstores and to be aware of the whole market of where the holes in the market exist or where something new may be picked up and go crazy. That’s their job.
And so while it was helpful to have this, this idea and this sort of inside opinion, I also didn’t feel true to the idea of writing a financial book for millennials using our experience as a backdrop. And when I explained that I wasn’t really interested in writing that story, she then told me that they didn’t think that the story that I was going to write was exactly what they wanted to pick up at that time and that we would be in touch in the future, which was totally fine. I had a minute of like, oh my gosh, this was like my first rejection, but of rejection from a person that I hadn’t even approached myself.
I wasn’t like I was out seeking approval and, and seeking permission. But I got a rejection anyway, and I thought, “whoa, this was an interesting interaction with the traditional publishing world.”
My First Rejection
And in fact, I’m so glad that that happened right away because one of the things that she had mentioned in an email that said, “You know, I don’t think that, that this is the right fit for right now. And we think that in every author’s career there’s a right time to launch your first book and you may want to continue building your online presence even further before you launch your book.”
Basically, she was saying we think that you need to have a bigger Instagram following and a bigger newsletter list and maybe more readers on your blog in order for your first book to be successful. Now I have to mention that this was successful from the perspective of a traditional publisher who has a predetermined idea for how well a book will sell, how many copies that will sell, how quickly the shelf space and all of the investment that they’re putting into it.
And in my head at this stage I was thinking my book is going to be successful just if I write it! That feels like success to me because I’m at this phase of just wanting to write down my story and share it with some people. And so I knew from that initial interaction that personality fit wise, I might not be the best fit for traditional publishing at this moment.
It wasn’t a decision that I had to make immediately though because I hadn’t even finished the manuscript yet and so during that year that I was working on in my head, the manuscript again, if you listen to the last episode, you know I spent the whole year thinking about it and not doing a whole lot of writing, but when I started to dig back in, I started to really weigh for myself the pros and cons of traditional versus independent publishing and I want to share a couple of the things that came to mind for me.
Differences Between Traditional And Self-Publishing
There are some distinct differences in the initial investment, the timeline and the distribution of the books that you have to think about if you are considering publishing a book traditionally or independently. And so let me share some of those differences and the, the way that I was able to make a decision for myself first, the initial investment is very different.
When you sign with a traditional publishing house, you receive an advance that is money that they give you so that you can basically take time off to work on the book. The amount you actually receive in advance varies dramatically and it depends on if you’re a first-time author or have you know proven your success as an author by selling lots of books. It depends on your audience, on the type of book on how big the publishing house is, how high of a priority your book is.
And so there’s lots of different factors that go into that. But so with traditional publishing you receive money upfront and then you don’t assume any of the financial responsibility for the book. So you aren’t in charge of hiring anyone. The publisher takes care of the editor, they have the designer for the cover, they handle the distribution. If they’re doing printed copies, they handle the printing. All of those things are covered financially by the publisher. In exchange for that, you over the long-term of the book give a lot of the percentage of the book sales back to the publisher. So you’ve probably heard the term royalties and again this varies dramatically by author, but after your initial advance you have to earn back that amount of money by selling the amount of books that it would have cost for you to earn that in your royalties.
And then from that point over after you do what’s called “earning out”, you receive a small percentage of the book sales for the life of the book. And again, this varies dramatically. It can, it could be 5% it could be 3% it depends on your contract.
So financially if you don’t have any savings or any capital to invest in the book process, but you have great ideas and you are, you know really and you have lots of time and you’re willing to put in all of the initial effort that it takes to secure a traditional publishing deal, then it could be a really great place to start because you get money up front and then you earn money over the longterm. And that’s kind of the way that it goes.
The timeline of traditional publishing is a lot longer than what can happen with self-publishing. As an example, a friend who I know signed a contract for a traditional publishing deal in the early part of 2017 and her book is releasing in the fall of 2019 so I think between one and a half to two or three years is an average timeline for a traditional publishing deal, so if you have the time and the space in your lifestyle for that long of a process, then that also can be really wonderful.
Responsibilities and Decision-Making
The third area that differs is in the responsibilities for distribution and for the actual design and the outcome of the book itself. I have lots of friends who’ve worked in traditional publishing who have been thrilled with their results, but have also acknowledged that they’ve had to make some concessions for the thing they wanted or the design they wanted or the colors they wanted or some words that they wanted. The actual format of the book, the size may be different than they hoped for because ultimately that decision, those kind of final decisions lie with the editor at the publishing house.
And depending again on sort of where you rank as far as the financial investment the publisher is willing to make for your book, there are a few in the type of book that they want to create. Maybe you have envisioned a hard copy book, but they think it’s going to do better as, as a paperback. Those are just all different things to think about, the amount of sort of negotiation and concession that you’re willing to make for your book itself.
Now let me just contrast that with self-publishing. The financial piece of self-publishing is very different because of course when you’re going at this project independently, no one is paying you until your books actually sell. And so something you need to take into consideration is whether or not you have money saved up to invest into the project itself, to pay yourself while you take time off of your other work to actually be writing the manuscript.
Or maybe you’re going to work full-time or you know, do your regular life and write the manuscript on the side, but then you want to hire someone to design the cover and design the interior layout. You want to hire an editor, you want to have the books printed or at least manage the back end of how that works. Um, there’s lots of different financial considerations.
Of course, on the other side of that coin, after you have made your initial financial investment, instead of receiving money from a publisher, you invest money into the project, but then you over the long-term of the book, receive the full amount of revenue that that book receives. You aren’t paying yourself a percentage royalty. You after you pay for the cost of the books and distribution and shipping and all of that, you receive 100% of the revenue on the back end.
So, depending on your initial investment, that may make you quite a bit more money than if you go with traditional publishing. But if you don’t sell a whole lot of books, then maybe, maybe you don’t ever actually make back your initial investment. So there’s a little bit of a gamble there.
Second, as far as timeline, the timeline on a self-published or independently published book can be dramatically shorter because the only thing that you’re waiting on is yourself. And in some cases a few of these systems. So we’re a traditionally published book can take up to two years to get to the market. A an independently published book can be a matter of months. And when I share in a little bit, I’ll share kind of the step by step of my process with independently publishing. It was a process of about six months from final manuscript to released title.
Responsibility and Decision-Making
And then the third thing is just the actual distribution and responsibilities for the decision-making process and the logistics of the book. And that all in independent publishing falls pretty squarely on the shoulder of the author or the team that’s putting the book out.
In my case, I hired a design team, I hired an editor and I’ve hired a distributor. Ultimately that responsibility falls on me because I haven’t given the whole project away to a publishing house. And so there’s a lot more logistics and there’s a lot of things that I have friends that have been authors for years that have never had to log into the back end of Amazon for example, or, or who’ve never had to talk to a shipping provider about how the, the books will be distributed because all of that is handled by the publisher. So they are very different and both equally legitimate in, in all of the ways, which is what I want to talk about next.
The actual decision to give myself permission to independently publish rather than waiting for permission from one of the key holders in the publishing world. That would be a traditional publishing house or a traditional editor. I want to go back to my story.
After my first interaction with this agent, who we ultimately both decided that it wasn’t a great fit, this to pursue this relationship. I went ahead and continued the manuscript and I had a book designer reach out to me. I mentioned him in the last episode, Morgan Crockett from Firewire Creative sent me an email and said, hey, are you traditionally publishing or are you independently publishing? Because if you are going to self-publish your book, I would love to have a chance to work with you.
This was when I was still midway through the manuscript and I realized I probably should make this decision because if I wanted to self-publish here was a designer who I loved. I looked on his website, I loved his work and I thought, gosh, this could be really simple to just use this person who already reached out and kind of the universe put in my path. And so through a series of many conversations, a little bit of research and then a lot of kind of soul searching, I ultimately came to this pro and con list in my own head.
Pros and Cons
A Pro of traditional publishing was obviously having some money up front.
A Con of traditional publishing was that it was going to take so long and not only take long from getting the contract and the book to market, but that I in order to get signed with a traditional publisher would need to spend weeks and months and maybe even a year or more preparing proposals and reaching out to publishing houses across the country and reaching out to agents across the country to have someone tell me “Yes.”
What traditional publishing looked like for me was waiting for someone to give me permission to write and create the book that I wanted to write and create anyway, and the money up front could be helpful, but I also knew that I had been saving a little bit of money as I prepared for this project and so my business had in the bank money that could invest into this project.
I remember going back and forth about the idea of legitimacy.
Would I be a real author if I self-published a book?
Would I be a real author if I gave myself permission to decide that my story and my words were valid enough to share with whoever would listen?
Did I need the approval of someone who knew the market and had spent their lives dedicated to the craft of literature and publishing and writing, or could I decide that my own twelve years of experience, self-publishing post after post after posts on my own blog meant that I had some experience to back up the idea that the things that I wanted to share were important enough to share them?
As I went around and around about the idea of waiting for someone to tell me “yes” versus telling myself “yes” — an enthusiastic, excited, yes to my own project, my own worth, my own words. And then investing in myself and believing in myself and knowing with a mindset of abundance (which is what More Than Enough is all about anyway) that I had every resource available to me and every necessary thing to create the project that I was dreaming of.
That I already had a community of people who had been reading my blog, listening to my podcast, who had been reading my posts on Instagram and who I had been interacting with for years online. That those were my people and that they might want to hear what I had to say. Beyond that, I knew that I would want to have my hands in every piece of the project and I really, I really wanted the cover and the interior layout to be beautiful. I really wanted the book to be hard copy for whatever reason. The idea of just a hard bound book with a desk jacket felt so hardy and wonderful.
I also knew that as far as timeline, good things do take time. They do. And I believe that some things are really worth waiting for as long as they take. And I also felt like I was really excited about this project right now and my audience was excited about it right now, practical minimalism, our decision to downsize, choosing an intentional lifestyle is something that I envisioned for myself for ever for the long-term. But really digging into it and exploring it with something that I was still in the tail end of the experiment.
You know, we had only been one year out from the experiment and it was still something that people were discovering sometimes for the first time. And I thought the longer that I get away from that, the less enthusiastic I might be about it. And so I really want to bring it out into the world as quickly as I possibly can. Also, because I’m just kind of a crazy, efficient person and I love the idea of getting things done.
And so I didn’t want to write it and then wait for two years for it to come out. I wanted to write it and to finish it and to print it and to ship it, and I knew that that could be accomplished through independent publishing.
Many Known Authors Self-Publish
It was also really helpful for me to learn that so many people who I admire self-published their first books. Rachel Hollis, who is someone that I, I mean she’s like rocket ship into the stratosphere these days after her like eighth or ninth book. But I listened to a podcast where she explained that she shopped around for a traditional publisher for her first book and had every single person tell her no.
And at the end of all those nos she told herself yes and she self-published her first book, which went on to be successful enough that traditional publishers reached out to her and she signed a book deal for, you know, a series and kind of went on and, and to hurt, hear her say, I went through all of the nose and then I told myself yes and I thought to myself, “Maybe I don’t have to go through all of the no’s. Maybe I get to tell myself yes, because I feel like I have the resources and this story and it’s okay for me to just say yes to myself. I don’t have to wait for permission from someone else. And I also don’t have to wait for every rejection or every door to close before I say yes to myself.”
Now, something that’s interesting, I shared a couple of weeks ago a podcast about making decisions and how to be a great decision maker and I have to tell you that the idea of traditional publishing and trying to pursue that or self-publishing and deciding to just go ahead with that was something that I was kind of feeling confused about. I was going back and forth and back and forth and talking to different people and reading all about the pros and cons. You know, other people’s opinions online and I listened to every podcast I could think of and even got a book that was about self-publishing so I could really inform myself as to what that process looked like.
And one day I realized that I just needed to make a decision and whichever decision I made, I needed to make a decision and commit to it and feel good about it and then I could move forward. And the decision that as I went back and forth, the the pros of traditional publishing to me felt more like shiny pennies.
They felt like the reason that I would do that would be for validation and for acceptance by the wider publishing world and I, I had to be true to myself and recognize that, that those were not things that ultimately would be the decision maker for me, that I knew when I thought really clearly about it, I knew that I believed in myself. I believed in my story and I had the resources that I needed to make this happen and I wanted to give myself that yes, I wanted to give myself permission and believe in myself and invest in myself instead of waiting for someone else to invest in me.
Do I think that self- publishing is right for everyone? No, I don’t actually think that it is and in fact, I think the genre matters a lot. I think that memoir style books are of course personal and they feel a lot easier to share because they’re just your own truth. Where a fictional book may be harder to get people on board with wanting to read a story that you wrote about a, something you made up rather than a story that you wrote about your own experience, especially for people who already follow you and are interested in your own personal experience.
Giving Yourself A Yes
I think that there’s power in deciding that you get to choose. There’s power in giving yourself a yes.Whether it’s a book or whether it’s a business or whether it’s a trip or whether it’s a project, whatever it is that’s been on your heart that you’ve been deciding, you know, is this something that I should do? Or whether or not something is right for you. Understanding that you do not have to wait for permission to live the life that you want to live.
You don’t have to wait for someone to tell you yes, take time off to go on a vacation or yes, dye your hair purple because you know, I think it’s okay. You get to choose. There is just such incredible power in this idea that we get to choose and the abundance of recognizing that every resource that we need is available to us.And that is what I found to be true. As I’ve gone throughout this process, I knew that even if I traditionally published that I would be working my tail off to use every one of my resources to make the book and the launch and the project a success and a success. Not in terms of how many books sold, but just in how it felt and whether or not it was true and whether I had exhausted all of the goodness that I had to share.
And I knew that I would do that for myself just as well as I would do it for someone else. And so I might as well start there.
My Self-Publishing Process
Let me tell you a little bit about what the process actually looked like. If you’re interested. I decided, yes, I’m going to self-publish and I’m going to use Firewire Creative to do my design work. I contracted with Morgan for the book cover and the interior design of the book, including formatting for the kindle version as well as I wanted to use his services to hire a content editor and a proofreader.
A content editor is someone who does a sort of a high level reading of the book to make sure the story feels connected, make sure there’s a nice arc, make sure that things are not missing and rather than kind of a line by line.
Hiring An Editor
Of course every book should be edited for grammar and spelling and those types of things. But a content editor I really hoped for, especially with this first manuscript, I really hoped for someone to give me a feel for the overall scope of the book itself. And so I mentioned in the last episode that I finished the manuscript, I had Dave read it and edit it and then I sent it to about six beta readers who read the whole manuscript and sent me back changes and suggestions and ideas and the answer to a bunch of a bunch of questions for me.
And after I went through those seven people at that point, the manuscript went to the editor and I hired an editor through Firewire Creative through Morgan. He works with lots of different editors within publishing and the editor that I used, her name is Stephanie Stahl, she works most of her editing is for traditional publishers and so she does some independent publishers working with someone like Morgan and me.
But most of her work is working as an editor within traditional publishing. And so I knew that I was hiring someone who had, she had ten years of experience editing and would really give me a good feel and she didn’t know me and didn’t know my story. And in some ways I felt like that was very beneficial to have someone professional looking at the manuscript who knew was an insider, but who I was hiring as a freelancer.
I have to tell you one of the most fun parts of self-publishing was being able to have full decision making process over at the design. The cover was really important to me and Morgan was incredible, so it was really fun to talk with him. We had an initial phone conversation about what the book was about, what the feeling was, and he sent me about eight or ten different designs and all.
Actually, if you go to livefreecreative.co/podcast, I will share some of those designs as initial designs in the show notes. So you can see kind of where we started. There were a few that jumped out at me right away as things that I wanted to pursue further. And so I had him edit back those a little bit. And then on the second round it was really clear that this one really stood out to me, but the colors didn’t feel quite right.
So then we went back and forth on the colors and settled into the beautiful tri tone pink that is there, that cover as it ended up. And it’s just exactly right. It’s so perfect. And I have no idea how the cover might’ve ended up if I had gone with traditional publishing. But if you’ve seen the Brene Brown Netflix special, which if you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. I’ll link it in the show notes. She’s incredible, but if you watch that and you’ll see some of the initial covers that her publishing house came to her for her books, you’ll know that there can be a vast disconnect between what you envisioned for your book and what a traditional publisher envisions for your book and sometimes it’s tricky to rectify those two things.
So it was really fun. I felt like it was a huge benefit of self-publishing to be able to work one on one with a very talented designer and have the book turn out exactly just better than I could have imagined and better than I could have envisioned initially. As far as the design and layout is concerned. It was also really fun working on the interior layout that I got to choose what the inside of the book looked like and there were a few things that I specifically asked for, including at the beginning of each chapter, there’s a full page of gray that has one short quote at the bottom of it.
It just pulls a quote from the chapter and puts it on that page to kind of introduce the chapter. I loved that and that was something that I specifically asked for. I said, I would really love to do this. I sent Morgan all of the quotes that I wanted to be pulled out of those chapters and those are some of the fun really minute decisions that you get to make when you’re making essentially all of the decisions regarding the book and it’s designed.
Now I’ve read on a lot of blogs about self-publishing that you can do it really inexpensively and that’s true. You probably can. You can hire a friend to edit, you can use a freelance editor, uh, you can use, there’s a lot of different websites for design, like 99designs or even Fiverr or you have a friend who’s a graphic designer who could mock up your book for you for really inexpensive.
My book design and editing process was not inexpensive. My initial investment for design and editing was around $6,000 and that was a big chunk of change that I felt good about investing because it was for a higher end feeling product. This was someone that I was working back and forth with both Stephanie as the editor and Morgan as the designer working back and forth to create exactly what we were hoping for. Stephanie did the content editing and then we did line editing and proofreading. It was months worth of editing and going back and forth and changing things and sort of the same process I would have had using a traditional publisher but just on a freelance basis.
After the book was designed and edited, we needed to get it printed and this was something that Firewire Creative also helped with. Morgan was able to work with a print broker to find a great deal on printing in the United States for the hardbound copies of the books.
Printing The Books
I really was committed to a hardbound book and I looked into a lot of different options. One way, if you don’t have the capital upfront to invest in the printed books like in can thousands of copies of books, you can use a service that does print on demand.
In fact, Amazon has worked with tons and tons of self-published authors who use their platform and sell ebooks, so kindle versions only or he used their platform, kindle direct publishing or KDP. It used to be createspace to have print on demand paperback books. So this means that when someone orders a copy of your book, it’s printed and shipped, but you don’t have to initially invest in the hard copies of the books or in any printed copies at all because they print as they’re ordered, which means that the person pays for it. The amount that the book costs you as the author is deducted out of that and then you just receive the the revenue on top of that.
That could be a really great solution for people who want to have printed copies of their book but don’t want to invest up front in having them printed and stored in a warehouse somewhere to be shipped off. For whatever reason. I envisioned a hardbound book. I just really was committed to that idea and so Morgan connected me to a printer in the United States.
Of course the variable of like what is in color, how big the book is, how many pages it is, what type of cover you want. We did a foil imprint on my book underneath the desk jacket and all of those things, plus the quantity that you order really makes the price variable, but when I compared the price per book to have them printed hardbound against the price of some of the books that I had seen hardbound on print on demand, it was much more affordable to just order a bunch of books and luckily I was also able to have some capital to invest into that.
Initially for my first order of printed books, all of this investment I feel like was just energy positive energy that I was putting into the project.
Every time I needed to send a check for something regarding the book, I felt like I was just pouring energy, positive energy, enthusiasm and trust and faith into this project. And I feel like that is so powerful to actually invest in yourself and in the thing that you want to do. And it can be really scary. I know, I mean, even now the book’s only been out for a few days and I believe that it’s going so well. And I mean, I feel like it already has been an incredible success because my idea of what success looks like is having completed this beautiful book and having it go into the hands of people who are hoping to read it, like that feels like success.
I don’t have an ultimate number. I don’t have a deadline or a guideline that I have to follow. And that’s part of the beauty of independent publishing as well. I get to create the rules because I’m not beholden to anyone about how it actually has to go.
Investing Money Is Investing Energy
There have been times throughout the process when I felt a little anxious about like, okay, here we go. Like there’s a lot of things we could do with this money and we’re sending it off to have books printed. And it’s been really nice to a remind myself that this is a decision that I’m making, that I’m choosing to invest, and that that is incredible energy that I’m putting, you know, behind my own dreams. And also to have such an incredible support in my husband Dave, who tells me even if none, no books sell, it’s worth the investment for you to complete at this dream that you have.
It’s worth it to finish strong the process, and it’s okay to invest in yourself.
In fact, remember several episodes ago in the episode about Mothering your Mental Health. We talk about hobbies and how your hobbies don’t have to have a net financial positive. You don’t have to sell things like you don’t have to learn to. So, so that you can sell things on Etsy. You don’t have to learn to paint and then become a famous painter. You can invest in your hobbies just for the sake of, of, of enjoying yourself.
And I’m not saying that it’s good business to write a book and you know, invest thousands of dollars in a book just for fun, for a hobby. But I’m also saying that that’s not an entirely bad thing. That you can invest in projects that you believe in without expecting them to pay for themselves and without expecting them to become your lifeblood.
I have never in my life heard someone say that if you want to make a lot of money, you should become an author or you should sell books, right? Like we know that. I feel like everyone that I know knows that becoming an author and selling books is not your fast track to financial success and fame. And you know Millionairehood. You don’t become an author and you don’t write a book because you want to make a lot of money.
You Become An Author To Tell Your Story
You become an author and you write a book because you want to share your story and because you believe that your story is worth sharing. Whether it’s a personal story or whether it’s a story that you created that’s going to bring people emotion and joy and entertainment and love and excitement. That’s why you write your book, because you believe that your story is worth sharing and so the financial piece of is really has really been an interesting thing because as of now, I mean one week in I haven’t made back my investment on these books.
I have invested initially in the design and in the editing process and then a lot of money went into the actual print books that are, a lot of them have shipped out into the world and a whole lot more of them are sitting in a warehouse waiting for future orders and I feel really good about it all.
I think the investment was worth making and I know that the outcomes of my book are not all going to be financial. Some might be, maybe they will eventually pay for themselves and maybe I will even make a little bit of money that will go to fund other incredible projects. But the outcomes of writing and self-publishing a book are far deeper and wider and greater than just financial. There’s the confidence that comes from deciding that you’re, that you’re worth it and that you can choose to do the thing you want to do.
Even if no one else has said that they think you should. You don’t have to wait to be invited to the table. You can pull up a chair and make room for yourself because you’re worth it.We all are. In fact, I’m going to refer again to that podcast that I mentioned, that Seth Godin, shared months ago, everyone should write a book. And I don’t think he’s literally saying every single person should write a book, but he shares that if you want to, you should do it. There’s no reason that you shouldn’t, every resource is available to you. And, and he goes so far as to say, not everyone should sell a book, but everyone who has the desire to write a book should write one and you should get started on it as soon as possible. And I think that that’s true for everyone who has a dream and it doesn’t really matter exactly what it is.
And it doesn’t matter if it makes sense. It doesn’t matter if it makes financial sense. It doesn’t matter if it makes the time sense. It doesn’t matter if you think anyone else will care. But if you have an idea or you have a dream, big or small, give yourself permission to go for it. Pull up a seat at the table. Tell yourself, yes, don’t wait for someone else to invite you.
Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission because you get to choose what you do with your life. You get to make those choices for yourself and you get to pour as much good, positive, enthusiastic energy into that project as you want. And it won’t be a waste. It won’t be for not even if it doesn’t pan out the way that you think that it was going to or the way that you hoped for your investment becomes a net positive when you learn and when you experience, because I’m going to say it again.
I say it all the time. The purpose is the process.The purpose of my writing a book was not to sell the book. The purpose of my writing a book was learning to focus, learning to sit down every day and write, learning to work with the designer, learning all the backend logistics that I’m having to learn of Amazon and how to sell and how to work with a fulfillment center and and how to distribute and all of these things are now part of who I am and they’re part of the experience that I have and do I hope that my book sells?
Absolutely. In fact, if you haven’t bought a copy, what are you waiting for? It’s available right now on Amazon and kindle version, hard copy version and soon to be an audible version. But whether or not a million people buy my book, it was still worth it.
And I think even more powerful than having written the book was having told myself that I got to choose to publish it and there was such confidence in such power and the ability to say this is what I’m doing. Look, I’ve got everything that I need and I have the time and I have the resources and I have the space and I believe in myself and I believe that other people will believe in me.
A Couple Tricky Things About Self-Publishing
So there are a couple cons or sort of tricks to self or independent publishing that I want to mention here just to give you full scope. And these are things that I’m kind of working through right now. One is that most major booksellers do not sell independently published books. So unless you published with usually a big publisher, not even some, some small publishers don’t even have their books in Barnes and Noble and Target and things like that.
But I would love to get my book on a list for wholesale distribution to independent bookstores. There’s an application process that you have to go through and that whole process is something that a publishing house will handle for you. If you traditionally publish, your book will appear on the wholesale distributor lists for independent bookstores and libraries and things like that. So I’m working through that right now with my assistant. We are discovering how to get my book more than enough on the wholesale distribution lists so that independent bookstores could easily order it at a wholesale price.
I would love to make it available to any independent bookstore that is looking for it. And in fact, if you know someone who runs a bookstore or if you’re close closely tied to one of your independent bookstores in town, they, if they’re interested in carrying my book, they can email email@example.com right now and she can set them up with a wholesale order right now, even though we haven’t gotten it onto one of these distribution lists yet.
We’re working on it and that same thing goes for libraries. It’s so funny. Some libraries will order from Amazon, but most libraries order straight from the wholesale lists. And so I’m working with my librarian at the central library in Richmond to get my book. It has an ISBN, it’s all set. It’s ready to go.
We just need to get it onto this particular list service that libraries use to order their books wholesale. And I am more than happy to do that. I just have to go through the processing steps to make that happen.
There are a couple funny behind the scenes type of things that you wouldn’t necessarily think of needing to handle yourself because if you’re working with a traditional publisher, of course you wouldn’t need to handle any of those things yourself. Oh, I just forgot. There was one thing that I wanted to tell you about that I thought was so interesting.
Seeking Out Blurbs
I was really interested in having some blurbs on the cover of my book. Blurbs are quotes from other authors or experts in the field who have read the book and then this is sort of their review and then you print it on the cover of the book. And it’s sort of a fun thing. I’ve always loved those. Like when I pick up, pick up a book and I see an author that I love has loved the book that I’m holding, it makes me want to buy that book as well or read that book as well. And so this is something that a traditional publisher will handle for you. They have all these contacts and they probably have, you know, zillions of people they can reach out to.
But as I was doing this myself, I thought, who are the people who I would want to review my book ahead of time and have a quote for it. And I had about five or six come to mind and I sent emails and manuscripts off to all of them. And this was in a pretty rough stage. This was even like in the middle of the editing process. The manuscript was not even finalized. It was a pdf. I was sending via email. In fact, when Young House Love John and Sherry, I said, do you want me to send you a hard copy or the uh, the pdf copy? And Sherry said she’d prefer a hard copy. And so I went to my local FedEx and I had it printed. This is like actual actual pdf printed and then I had it spiral bound. So it was like paper size 8.5” by 11” spiral bound. It was kind of like as if I was submitting like a science project to school except for I put this giant manuscript into an envelope and shipped it to John and Sherry.
They actually read it on their way to Chicago on a trip and then were able to get back to me with a blurb and they’re blurb. I love what Sherry said, “It’s like the pep talk you’ve needed paired with the tools to actually make a meaningful change in your family’s life.”
Isn’t that cute? I loved it so much and I felt like that’s exactly what I want people to think about this book, the pep talk you’ve needed with the tools to actually make meaningful change. I also had blurbs come back from Erin Lochner of Chasing Slow. I love that book and it was instrumental in our decision to undertake the challenge that I wrote about in the book. She just said a sweet and simple, “A worthwhile experiment for us all.”
I loved that. And then we also, I sent it off to Gabby Blair from Design Mom who’s one of my dear friends and such an encouraging and supportive woman and she read it and she wrote back, “This book introduces family-oriented minimalism as a lifestyle of joy and purpose.”
So fun. The whole process was incredible and taking ownership of not the writing but also the start to finish process of getting this book into your hands was really a powerful process for me.
DIY Book Publishing
I was interviewed by a journalist a few months ago and her article came out in Quartz. I will link it in the show notes. It’s a really interesting article about me and the book and the fact that I wrote a book about minimalism as a blogger, which she found very interesting, but I was talking to her about the decision to self-publish. And I said, you know, it kind of maybe just is a natural fit for me because I’m a DIY-er. I’ve never really waited for people to tell me yes or to say jump. I’ve always taken things into my own hands and decided what I wanted to do. And so this felt no different for me to say, “I want to write a book and I want to write it now and I want it to be beautiful and I don’t need someone to tell me that.”
That’s okay. I get to tell me that. That’s okay.
And I hope that in listening to this story that you not only have learned a little bit more about the ins and outs of publishing, which may be interesting to you, maybe not, but that you have felt for yourself that you don’t need to wait for someone to tell you that what you want to do is okay.
Tell Yourself Yes
That you get to say yes to yourself. You get to give yourself permission to lead the life that you want to lead. That’s up to you. It’s all there for you. You just have to reach out and claim it and is that scary? Absolutely. Does it sometimes feel like you are just pouring money down the drain if you approach some of these projects, you know that have a financial investment?
Yes, it sometimes does, but shifting that perspective and feeling like it’s energy pouring into your project and pouring into your life and pouring into your life experience that were worth the investment and the power that comes from that is really an incredible experience and I hope that as you listen to the way that I have talked about my experience, that you’re able to reflect that back into your own life and recognize that you don’t need my permission and you don’t need anyone else’s permission to do the thing that you want to do big or small along with giving yourself permission.
Asking For The Support I Would Like
Another thing that I’m learning to do is to ask for the support that I want and I have a couple favors to ask of you right now. Special requests because I know that you might not think about it or you might not know what way you can support me unless I ask. So I want to ask you for a couple of favors.
Leave A Review On Amazon
Number one, if you have bought the book and you’ve read it and you enjoyed it, would you spend a couple minutes and leave a review on Amazon? You hear me every week ask for reviews on the podcast and those are absolutely incredible as well. Please, if you haven’t done that, do that. But leaving a review on Amazon, think of the last time that you bought something on Amazon. Didn’t you read at least a few of the reviews to find out if it’s something that you wanted that positive energy in stars and written word underneath my book will make all the difference in people who don’t know me and don’t know that they’re going to love the book, that will help them make that decision to add it to their lives.
So if you have a second, I would love for you to leave a review on Amazon underneath more than enough and all the same ways that you support the podcast you can use to support the book.
Share The Book With A FriendSo sharing with a friend or a neighbor, recommending it to your local book group. In fact, I have
next week book four on the blog, a free book club discussion guide for the four more than enough. We’ve been working on that for a couple months and I’m so excited for it to come out because I think there’s lots of really fun topics for people to talk about that are discussed in the book.
Of course taking pictures when you’re reading it and sharing on Instagram. The hashtag for the book is more than enough book club Hashtag more than enough book clubs so you can share your photos and use that Hashtag and we can see everyone else that’s reading what they’re doing.
Thank You For Being Here
It’s just been a fun, incredible ride and I’m so happy to have you along. I know that a lot of you who listen to the podcast have also already got the book and I’ve seen you sharing about it and excited about it and I just have to tell you it means the world to me.
I appreciate every single one of you listening and giving me your attention and investing in me, sharing how you can invest in yourself. I hope you have an incredible week. If you have any questions about publishing, self-publishing, writing a book, please send me an email or leave them in the comments of the show notes. I would love to share more about that. If there’s details that you are interested in, I’d be happy to share more and I will talk to you next time. Have a good one.