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Publication for Dummies

St. Augustine
St. Augustine

The last few weeks have been a crash course in business for me. Before I began working on this book for self-publication, I had no desire to be an entrepreneur. In all honest, I still don’t. I am just trying to get my book into as many hands as possible, legally, with no surprises at tax time or anyone using the sweat of my brow inappropriately.

I’ve spoken to other self-publishers, accountants, attorneys, bankers, and small business owners on different aspects of publishing that I should be aware of, as well as started to set up some marketing opportunities for myself like speaking engagements and etc. I’ve always known that writing the book is only half the battle, but now it’s more real to me than ever. In fact, I would argue that when it comes to self-publication, writing is less than a quarter of the battle.

Today, I want to share and get opinions on some of my plans in the coming weeks for the rest of my book’s journey to publication and the first couple weeks afterward.

I revealed the title of the book on this site on Friday. The response has been very positive. I think that I nailed the first marketing aspect of the book with a good title. I also think I nailed the second part of good marketing–the cover, which I will reveal tomorrow, if all goes well. So what are the next steps for me?

The next steps I have to complete in this process are BIG steps. As I was reading over the book, I noticed some sections would work better in other places, some thoughts could be condensed, and some personal stories or asides were unnecessary. I also didn’t fully introduce each new couple that I quoted. In other words, I need to get the final draft of the book like I want it. I also need to get beta readers in the target audience for feedback. I have to secure the person I want to do the Foreward and finalize all the front and back matter–acknowledgements, dedication, definitions, appendices, etc. These things are easy for me to do, just large tasks. They are in my comfort zone.

The next group of things venture into INEBIGTDIA territory. I have to format the book or pay someone to format the book. I have to upload everything to CreateSpace, set up my Amazon author page and product description, metadata, etc. I have to establish my sole proprietorship over my press by running an add in the paper and registering the name with the state as well as getting an EIN. I have to decide on a banking set up for it. I have to order the first batch of books I plan to sell myself physically, which  means I have to determine how many to buy and ship them on time to have them for planned festivities. I need to revamp this site and set up the book’s site with all the fun goodies I have planned for it.

In addition to all of the scary things in that paragraph, I have to plan some fun book release things. I’ve already started planning an event with my aunt for a local chapter of a women’s group she is a part of to do a presentation on a topic from the book. I need to kick planning for a release event locally into high gear. Separate from the book release event, I want to put on a singles conference or one day workshop/seminar for single women to attend. I am pulling together a list of people and organizations to give free books to for review or possible group sales. My goal is to put this book in the hands of as many Christian women as I possibly can to help them realize the importance of godly guiding principles in their relationships, so I’m open to speaking at events, hosting dinners or ladies’ days, etc. to get the book into the right hands.

I am not excited about the business things I have to do, but I am not intimidated by it either. I know that if this is of God, He will bless it. I can’t hide behind my computer if I want to help young women. The whole point of this book, this site, is to influence women to get serious about their lives in Christ. I can’t afford to be timid or complacent. I want people other than my friends and acquaintances to be exposed to the scriptures, stories, and lessons in the book, and it’s up to me as my own publisher to make that happen.

Any other self-publishers out there with any advice? Anyone else chasing a God-given purpose and refusing to be overwhelmed?

XOXO,

Erica

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Morning Routines for Dummies

I have an issue with creating a morning routine that meets all of the criteria I have for starting the day off right; there are too many things to do and too little time. Given my particular leanings, morning is the best time for me to accomplish several tasks, most of which are too time consuming to do all of them in the morning. This doesn’t even take into account a morning hygiene routine, which we’ll come back to later. These are the things I would like to do in the morning:

  • Bible study/prayer/worship
  • write
  • edits/revisions
  • critique chapters for my critique partners
  • finish reading books to review
  • write reviews
  • Wrangle with writing synopses and query letters.
  • CLEAN
  • do laundry
  • exercise
  • use my crockpot to start dinner.
  • shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, fix my hair
  • fix or go get breakfast.
  • catch up on social media.
  • post to social media.
  • write blog posts.
  • work on improvements to my websites.
  • Look for cool things to bring to my blogs and sites.
  • Try to figure out how the heck to build my brand.
  • catch up on Netflix
  • light scented candle, put on classical music, and just exist for a few minutes
  • specialty beauty things–eyebrows, home mani/pedis, shaving my legs, facial masks, washing drying and styling my hair, any beauty treatment that is less frequent than daily.
  • Wake up my brain with word scramble.

I have two hours in the morning to get everything done except getting showered and dressed, which I leave about half an hour to forty-five minutes for (I’m not a fussy girl, apparently). I’m sure you can imagine how getting into any of the above tasks can bleed over into my getting dressed time, especially if I’m in a groove. There’s just not enough morning in my days.

I know you’re probably thinking I could shove some of these things into the evening, and I always have plans to accomplish so much when I get home. But when I get home, I am exhausted both from the early start and the hard day at work. Depending on the time of the month, I am drowning in invoices and reports. The last thing I want to do is come home and take laundry to the laundry center (it might be different if there was a washer and dryer in the apartment) or wash a sink full of dishes. I have much more energy in the morning.

So how does one solve this dilemma? If I could spend a few days just cleaning everything in sight and catching up on all of the things I need to do, I could do one or two things each morning going forward. At the moment, however, there’s just an overwhelming amount of things to do. I tried doing one cleaning thing, one writing thing, and bible study each day, but the area would be during again before I had another area finished, and the critiques would be due and it’d be time to swap more chapters, so I had to drop everything and do that, then I needed to… I can’t seem to get any traction.

The short version of this post: I am incapable of doing all the things I am better at tackling in the morning in the two and a half hours I have before work and I need suggestions on how to start making inroads into it. Seriously. I really want to get serious about this morning routine, but right now I am all over the place. Help!!

XOXO,

Erica

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Confessions of a Pantser

My desk calendar for this month. Notice anything strange??
My desk calendar for this month. Notice anything strange??

This week, I’ve made great strides in getting things done with the book, as I shared in my last entry. Through the development of my routine the last few days, I’ve noticed something that I’d forgotten about myself: I thrive on routine, To-Do lists, and deadlines. I am NOT a born procrastinator.

For the past few years, I’ve attempted to be someone who just goes with the flow, someone who  is flexible and deals well with change, when in reality, I’m so far from that! I’ve been floundering living without a real schedule. My apartment has gotten out of hand, my bill paying system is no longer effective, the way I approach my daily schedule is haphazard, and I’m starting to become one of those late people that annoy me so much. The worse thing is that everything has built up to the point that all of my manic “just get in there and get something done” machinations don’t seem to make a dent in the things I need to do.

Looking at the desk calendar pictured above, you may notice that nothing is written in after yesterday’s date when this picture was taken. That’s because I don’t update it until I get to work the next morning. This is not an accurate account of what I have to do, but what I have done, mainly for my Monthly Wrap Up posts.  I have several ideas for this site written down on post it notes and index cards floating around in my all purpose Zeta bag. I have outlines for different parts of the book stashed in different notebooks and folders. My life is a disorganized mess right now, and every positive change I try to make seems to get derailed by my lack of organization. So I’ve decided to take back my time and sanity by organizing my face in.

INEBIGTDIA

Anyone who is familiar with any of my sites knows what INEBIGTDIA means. For those of you who are new to my world, INEBIGTDIA stands for “I’m not excited, but I’m going to do it anyway.” Some things just have to be done to preserve sanity, get things accomplished, or improve your life. Since I have an official deadline for the book, I need a plan to finish it. Since I’m tired of living like a pig, running late, and being stressed out from the time I open my eyes until I go to sleep, I need to bring some order to my life.

He's got a lot on his mind.
He’s got a lot on his mind.

The fact that it’s so daunting only underlines the necessity of getting started now. The only issue is figuring out how to get started. INEBIGTDIA tasks have to be started immediately or I know I won’t get to it. So what could I do immediately to bring some order to my life? Well, it’s not just what I can start doing, but also what I can stop doing.

STOP: Ignoring My Calendar(s)

I have several calendars and calendar apps that I could be utilizing to keep me on schedule and up to date on what I’m supposed to be doing. At work, I have an outlook calendar that could send me reminders to do things. I actually do have a few reminders set up for my payday and a few of my bills, but not much else. I have the desk calendar that I only update after the fact. I have a calendar app and a reminder app on my cell phone. I have to do lists that go on my refrigerator. All of these tools at my disposal, yet none of them being utilized to get myself organized and on task. It’s time for me to begin to implement a more structured schedule until some things become habit.

Some of the things that I will need to put on the calendar will seem silly or old-lady-who-forgets-things-ish, but this isn’t for anyone else to see. It may seem silly to schedule shower time at night or have an alarm tell me to go to sleep, but if in the end it leads to clearer skin, healthier digestive system, a cleaner house and less late fees, I am all end. Besides, I’ve been silly and uncomfortable for free; at least this will have benefits.

START: Making My Lists and Checking Them Twice

There’s something very freeing about writing a to do list and checking items off of said list. It triggers my brain to release those “I’ve accomplished something” feel good chemicals that make hard work worth it. It also means I don’t have a list of “I Meant To-Dos” a mile long for this site, Net Galley reviews, writing projects, and menial tasks like grocery shopping and getting gas that come back to bite you in the butt when you keep putting them off.

So how do I start to get things done? I am starting by making some lists, setting some alerts, and getting to work. I have started an editorial calendar for this site and will be filling in post topics, recurring features, and other sparkly things. I am writing down my internal to do lists, keeping a separate folder for each major project. To keep everything straight, I am adding it to my iPhone’s calendar feature and setting up reminders. I will post my daily to do list to the refrigerator for personal things and on my desk the night before for work related tasks. I will keep a list of when things like eggs, milk, bread, and my Brita filter expire. I will create a list of planned meals so that I can grocery shop accordingly. I am going to slowly but surely organize my life.

I know that a few to do lists and calendar alerts aren’t going to help if I don’t actually do the activities written therein. I am going to bask in this first step towards creating my best life.

Progress

I have been drinking more water all month, thanks to the Brita filter and my CK jug. I have written on a regular schedule as well. I have written two potentially life-changing emails, started researching a major project to pitch to some potential collaborators, and spent more regular time doing morning devotions. I have come up with my outline, table of contents and title for my book, and I have options for cover designers. I have an accountability partner for getting healthy and another for getting the book published. Last but not least, I finally watched and sent back my Netflix and received some new ones to watch while editing and writing today.

It’s Your Turn

  • What are you working on getting serious about?
  • What concrete steps are you taking towards accomplishing your goal right now?
  • Tell us your progress so we can cheer with you!

XOXO,

DSCF1643

Erica

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Putting 26 Away Nicely…

Remember when people used to plan to “put (themselves) away nice”? They had their insurance policy in an easy to get to place, picked out their casket and what they wanted to wear to their funeral. They didn’t want their family to have to worry about anything when they died except grieving and moving on. Well, that’s what I would like to do for my 26 year old self. I want to put it away nicely without leaving a bunch of things for 27 to deal with later.

Even though I feel fine, my health quite possibly sucks. I say quite possibly because I have no idea. I haven’t been to the doctor since…well, that depends on what you mean by been to the doctor. If we are talking about a primary care physician…we have to go back to like 16 or 17. I’ve seen the people in PUSH (student health center) and at Centra Care a couple of times, but I haven’t been to a general physician in a LONG time. Confession: I’ve never been to the “lady doctor”–not once. Not. Good.

So, I’m scheduling a check up for myself. I need one. I have night terrors. If you have no idea what those are, look it up; you will probably be a bit horrified. The short version is feeling like you’re dying in your sleep and you can’t wake up. So, I’m going to find a primary physician and make an appointment. I’m not excited, but I’m going to do it anyway (INEBIGTDIA).

Several things have fallen under the INEBIGTDIA category lately. I guess that’s part of being a “grown up”? I’ve been having a lot of conversations that I’d rather not have, confronting situations I’d rather bury my head in the sand on. Trying to clear the way for 27 to have a better life than 26 had. It’s not just the health thing, although I have been going to the gym and cooking more at home. It’s pulling out all of the bills and making a plan to get back on track financially. It’s discussing with MensHealth where this relationship is going. It’s trying to advance at work and learn transferable skills. It’s growing spiritually, moving closer to God.

There’s a lot that I could say about my relationship, my friendships, my financials, my health, my faith, my year. I want to make sure I say the most important things here. The most important things are these:

  • Even though it’s been a hard year, it’s been a growing experience.
  • I could have done a lot better than I did in some areas, but that means there is room for improvement.
  • I made some great strides in the year of 26 professionally.
  • I was a lot less selfish, doing things that had no benefit to me personally other than the feeling of being the change I wanted to see.
  • I’m still not married.
  • I got to see my little brother graduate from high school
  • I finally did something about (half of ) my teeth, including surviving an extraction.
  • My focus wasn’t always where it should have been.
  • I didn’t take care of myself nearly enough…and it became evident that this needs to change.
  • I finally learned to speak up for myself a bit without stepping on someone else.

I have high expectations for 27. I am going to push 27 to be better than 26. No company ever brings out a model that has more problems than the previous model;  the goal is for each model to be a vast improvement on the first. I’m excited to see what this year has in store, even if it’s a little intimidating, with a lot of  INEBIGTDIA.

Any advice you want to give me about turning 27? Want to wish me an early happy birthday (my birthday is TOMORROW)? Want to inspire me with how you changed your life? Leave me a comment, or email me at 2blu2btru4u@gmail.com.

2blu2btru