Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Diving In - First Learn to Swim

Today, June 13, 2012, I completed my final project for the company where I've worked for the past eight years, to pursue a full-time writing career.

Having worked in the corporate environment for my entire adult life -- until noon today, that is -- this new venture is a scary gut-wrenching, throat-clenching thrillfest. (Welcome to my journey!)

Recently on Joe Konrath's blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing, Author Jude Hardin pushed the button on submitting his letter of resignation to move into a full-time writing career. (I gave my notice a few weeks prior; therefore, I can relate to the anxiety, fear, uncertainty, excitement, thrill, etc., and appreciate Jude's willingness to step out and share his journey, which served as an inspiration for starting this blog.)

In the 1990's, I received requests for partial and full manuscript submissions (even from a top agent/editor or two), and although I was presented with opportunities to publish, I couldn't bring myself to sign away the rights -- perhaps indefinitely, more than likely permanently -- to my books, especially when research revealed publishers retained the bulk of monies earned and doled out what seemed, to this wannabe pre-published author, a mere pittance of the overall sale price of a book.

I discovered Joe's blog in 2010. Just what was Independent Publishing? Having decided to learn, I read every blog post from Joe's earliest to the most recent. 2010 served as my research year. I monitored Joe's and other authors sales, visited numerous blogs, and studied faithfully what to do and what not to do (that's another blog post in itself). I discovered that an author doesn't have to sign away their rights, and that e-book sales returns (2.4% from a publisher such as Harlequin), can be competitive and worthwhile (35% to 70% percent from Amazon.)

Trend setters, such as Joe, Amanda HockingJohn Locke, and Tina Folsom, have paved the way for up and coming independent authors. (My thanks and appreciation to you, as well as other, independent publishing frontiersman and woman.)

2011 and the first half of 2012, I participated in numerous Savvy Authors workshops and courses. I attended a couple of writer's conferences, participated in a group writing mentorship, attended an online and and in-person writer's retreats, and, most recently, have the opportunity to work with a writing coach.

Learning and honing my writing craft while working full-time, which at times included extensive overtime, served as a challenge; however, I built on my previous knowledge, which wasn't much and it's a wonder I ever completed anything at all, and have discovered what works for me. (BULLETIN: Not every technique works for everyone.)

One thing I considered was that I've observed several authors that have published a book or two and then floundered because they don't have a back list of books to build upon; therefore, for the past two years, along with gaining knowledge and insight, I've stocked away enough money, thanks to the overtime worked, to cover living expenses to carry me, albeit frugally, through the process. Health insurance options researched? Check. Realistic publishing goals? Double Check. Reality check? Every dang day from here on out.

Jude Hardin has a multi-book contract with Amazon’s Thomas and Mercer imprint for his Nicholas Colt thriller series. To date, he's published two novels and two novellas. He pushed the button. (Jude, I'm happy and excited for you. Thanks, so much for inadvertently validating and encouraging my decision.)

As far as my publishing credentials? Nada. Nothing, zilch, not a page or a kilobyte. At least, not yet, as of June 13, 2012.

One thing I remind myself of -- and will do so daily, I'm sure -- is that I am not just recklessly diving into the pool of independent publishing. I've spent the last few years, researching, learning, and writing. I've learned to swim. This afternoon, the water's fine. With hard work and determination, and a plentiful splash of luck, I'll swim, write books, and will make a living doing the same.

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