Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Need a Bigger Freaking Hat Rack

I'm writing this post in the Dentist's office, while my children are spending any spare cash I might have hoped to have this summer on getting their teeth fixed.  It seems an appropriate place to be writing the post about the many hats an Indie Author wears…

Here is my typical schedule on any given day during the school year:

5:15-6:30 -- update blog, answer emails and respond to facebook posts, catch up on any social media correspondence that was sent in the night.

6:30-7:30 -- get kids ready for school

7:30-8:00 -- take kids to school

8:00- 12:20 -- design graphics for book covers, images for blog, etc; edit; revisions; answer more correspondence via social media; write (hopefully I have time for that); ask/answer questions on various forums regarding continuing education, learning things about my trade; read blog posts I follow; work on book trailer; eat something

12:20-12:45 -- husband comes home for lunch and asks questions about my day, I answer and he tells me what I need to do next (sometimes this is helpful, sometimes not so much--really depends on my mood)

12:45-2:00 -- continue with whatever I was doing before my husband came home, if I can get back into the groove of it.

2:00-3:30 -- pick kids up from school, while waiting in line, I catch up on critiques for my writing group, or work on revisions/edits on my laptop.

3:30-5:00 -- veg out for an hour or so before starting dinner

5:00-8:00 -- Husband comes home, we eat, I nag everybody into bathing, pajamas, teeth brushing, etc, put kids to bed at 8:00.

8:00 -- pass out.

You see, there's not much time for housecleaning, or showering, or laundry, or other stuff like that.  I just kind of fit it in where I can-sporadically at best.

I honestly don't see how people with JOBS do the whole Indie Author thing.  I have a hard enough time fitting it all into my schedule.  When I run across people I used to teach with, they ALWAYS look down their nose at me when they ask, "What you doing to fill all your spare time these days?"  I smile sweetly and tell them I eat truffles.  Bitches.

So with this schedule, I have to figure out each morning which hat I'm going to predominantly wear that day.

Writing:  This is my favorite hat to wear.  This is why I do all the other stuff.  I make up stories in my head, and when I get to type them into my computer, I'm at my best.  Even the revising of stuff I've written already is appealing to me.  As long as I'm actively involved in the creation process of the story, I'm in heaven.  I used to just write in journals.  I have stacks of them, filled with double-sided pages of my sloppy handwriting about nonsense.  My husband is the one who actually pushed me to write a real novel.  His words, "You read all the damn time, you should actually write something.  I bet you're as good as some of that shit you read."  My Romeo.

Blogging:  This is something that I'm struggling with at the moment.  I see where it will benefit my bottom line, and I'm making new friends and networking and stuff, gaining exposure for my work.  But it's overwhelming at times, especially when I'm struggling to find content.  Or when I've promised another author I will post something, but I can't remember when or what I was supposed to post it.  Hence my new calendar…

Graphic Design:  Hands down, this is my least favorite hat to wear.  I'm not very good at it, the classes I took in college in the dark ages did nothing for me then, and the knowledge does even less for me now.  The free software I use doesn't read my mind, and create what I want, and nothing ever comes out looking like I envisioned.  This will be the next thing I pay for, when I start making money from my writing. I will pay a graphic designer to design everything.  I would love for my husband to do it, but he doesn't have the time…

Marketing/Publicising:  The marketing hat is actually lots of hats.  There's a facebook/twitter hat, a goodreads hat, and a word of mouth hat.  There's also the blogger hat.  They all look similar, but since the platforms are different, I like to think of them as all different colored fedoras…I'm learning a little bit about the marketing aspect every day, and with each new contact I make, I'm getting my name out to more people.  More people knowing my name=better visibility.  Hopefully better visibility=higher sales.  Higher sales mean I can afford these dental visits.  The marketing part is actually fun for me.  I've always been a bit of a people person, and making new friends is what it's all about.

There are more hats I wear, but since the office manager just came in with the "treatment plan" and an estimate of what I'm going to have to pay out of pocket this summer, I'm pretty much overwhelmed.

The whole Labor of Love idea for my writing was that I wanted to make a contribution to my household income with my writing.  I want to pay for fun stuff for my kids to do.  I want them to wear decent clothes, instead of thrift store specials.  I would like to have more than one pedicure a year.  I want my husband to have the freedom to take a day off from work every now and then to do something fun.

I just need a bigger hat rack.


  1. Well, you're doing a fantastic job. I haven't accomplished a fraction of what you've done, and I don't have kids.

    When you read about famous authors and how they balanced day-job and family with writing on-the-side (before they "made it") - their schedule looks like yours.

    Thinking about cover designers and editors, etc... Do any indie authors trade skills? I'm wondering. Like, could I offer free yoga classes in exchange for a cover? (for example) I've not come across anyone doing this sort of thing, but it is something I've been thinking about. Of course, I guess that would limit me to people who lived near-by...unless they'd accept a yoga class over Skype! I don't know - it would probably never work, but there has to be some way to make publishing more affordable.

    Have you considered a Kickstarter campaign or IndieGoGo? That's the other option I'm considering.

  2. Indie authors do trade skills. In fact, yesterday after a complete panic attack, one of my critique group buddies threw together a new cover for Hot Mess (I'm not going to go into details about what happened, but suffice it to say, my technology skills need some work). She did it because she needs the practice, but it killed me. What took me a week to do, she threw together in an hour and it looks amazing...

    Anyway, my point is this. Yes, I'm going to off her something in return (I'm not sure what, though). There is a site called that I just signed up on. I'm not totally familiar with it yet, but while I was browsing yesterday, I ran across a group specifically for Indie Authors trading skills. I'm sure on Goodreads, among the 35.000 groups on there, there is a similar site.

    I have not tried Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Those are going on my list of things to check out!

  3. I'll check out the shewrites site.

    I just don't think I can face creating my own covers or editing my own book. I don't think I'd be good at either, and it would just be frustrating. However, holy hell, is it expenisive to hire good people! I'm sure worth it in the end, but when you're starting out…it is a daunting price tag.