Being an Indie author.

Where does the time go for an indie writer? Allotting the proper use of time seems to be the most pressing issue in my life. It seems that I have five segments that require my attention.

As a writer, the very first is thinking up a story and putting it to paper. Not an easy task for me at least. Contemplating the theme of my next story, outlining a general plot and then trying to put it all together. I wish I had 24 hours a day just do that. As a writer I find that I can often maintain an average of 2000 words a day on a story that is well-developed and ready to be written. Unlike more prolific writers than myself, my novels tend to run less than 80,000 words. Which means if all goes well, 40 days or less of writing could produce a novel. Sadly rare is the case that I can write more than two or three consecutive days without something interfering. Therefore those 40 days spread the two or three months.

Alas, a second even more demanding task befalls me. That is editing and rewriting what I have already written. Unfortunately I have found that at least three times that amount of time is required to edit one. That is with myself and a few devoted friends who are willing to help. During that time. of course any new writing suffers. Not only is it more time-consuming, it is far less rewarding to read the same sentences 4, 5, sometimes 10 times each. Then only to find that it still does not sound right and a section must be completely rewritten.

The next task while not nearly as time-consuming, can be even more frustrating. Coming up with a cover for the story. While not yet satisfied with the amount of money coming in, I am forced to generate my own covers. They may not be as clean and polished as some of my competitors, but I feel comfortable with them.

Now I have written my book! I have done the editing. And it has a cover that I am proud of. The hard work begins. Even though I publish on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing which is free to the user, there is a lot of work involved. Working the many blogs to try to publicize my work. Using social media’s as best I know how, which is limited takes far more time then it is really worth. Also involved is the discounts and giveaways. They have to be coordinated so not to overlap each other too much.

The fifth thing may be the most important of all. Real life! How to deal with the daily grind of keeping a spouse happy, doing the daily chores and in general communicating with the rest of the world who are not involved in the book. At least I don’t have a real-world job that takes some of my time as well.

Oh my, I forgot something. Sleep! Oh well we can forget about that or at the least cut it back.

SELF EDITING

Self editing is a pain.  It is inefficient.  And sometimes totally incompetent.

But what is the novice to do?  Not every writer is in a position to invest in a good proofreader and /or editor.  Should you publish a flawed piece of work, or possibly not publish at all?  It depends on what your real goal is.  Consider if you want to get out a good story, but just can’t get over that last huddle, should you publish or not.  Is a minor error going to kill it.  Remember I said a minor flaw here or there, not an incompetent piece of writing.

First, write the best you can.  Do your own proofing using tools that you can obtain free.  Spell check is the first.  Slick Write is another great tool. I find after I have read my rough draft two to three times and employed these tools, I am ready for my next tool.

Second, loading my story into a text to word program.  There are several free or very cheap ones available.  With a copy of my story on the screen I follow the computer’s program as it reads it back to me.  I don’t use the version the program uses, I use the one I am used to working with. Even before I hear that clunk, when the computer reads what I wrote and it is the incorrect word, either for the usage or the spelling, I often see my errors.  Sometimes words are missing altogether.

Third, feeling very confident with my work, I trust my baby to my editor.  In my case a friend with no more experience than myself, but at least someone with no preconceived idea of the word usage.

With the work returned to me from my editor, I am now ready to begin STEP ONE once more.

On my novel Her Inheritance, which I hope to publish this month, we are in the fifth cycle of steps one through three.  Even at this stage I would not bet against errors creeping into the work.  But there is the rub. Without the resources to invest in the process and the near impossibility of most writers breaking into the world of publishing houses, we Indie writers must do the best we can, hoping that it is acceptable to the readers who invest in us.

The possibility of a few minor errors in an Indie e book is something I can live with as a reader, maybe not ever reader can..  To find the same error in a book published by an established publishing house, I would find it outrageous.  They pay many people to find the errors.  For that level of work I am expected to pay very good money.

As a writer myself, I know the joy of putting words into print that others read. So when I read a book written by another novice I concentrate on the experience, not the technical aspects.  For this reason, most Indie writers are willing to sell their books at a far lower price, as well as to a more limited market in the hope of offering others the joy of reading what we as writers find to be a pleasure.