I’m currently trying to wrap my head around the mystery called a newsletter. On top of the other things occupying space in my head, it kind of leaves me feeling like this:
Do you ever feel like you’re buried under the pile? I know I do.
In 2015 when I decided to start publishing my stories, I thought being an author was about writing books. … Well, writing books is definitely the heart and soul of it, but it’s also about writing an author bio, blurbs, synopses, beta reader requests, review requests, advertisements, blog posts, newsletters, social media content, etc. It’s a lot of writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against additional writing. It’s just that these are pretty specific tasks; figuring them out from scratch is a lot of work for my poor little brain. A year ago I didn’t know what a synopsis was, let alone how to write one.
And then there’s the other stuff…where do I even start?
I feel like I’m simultaneously trying to be a writer, an editor, a graphic designer, a book formatter, a webdesigner, a blogger, a marketing manager, and a social media specialist. Eventually I guess I’ll also do customer service. Being an author is a multitasking experience times ten.
(I don’t have kids. Maybe those of you who have children are better at multitasking than I am.)
Some might argue that if you hire an editor you don’t have to edit yourself. I definitely use an editor, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do any self-editing. There’s only so much that an editor can do for me if I don’t have a clue how to polish my own text. So I try to do the best job I can even though I hire a professional on top.
Some might also argue that if you pay a graphic designer to do your covers, you don’t have any problems in that department. I don’t think it’s that simple. I suck at graphics, so I buy my covers from a pro. But I’m still the one who has to make the decisions. The designer is not going to read my book and choose the best fitting cover for it. It’s up to me, so I need to do the research to know what works best for my story and the genre I’m writing. No matter how beautiful the cover is, if it indicates the wrong genre, I’m in trouble.
Ebook formatting is a can of worms. I didn’t know before I tried it myself that the same ebook file can behave completely differently on different software. It’s quick and easy to get someone to do your formatting for you, and it’s relatively cheap. But what if you need something changed later? Maybe you have a new book coming out and you want to add a teaser to the back matter of the old book. Or maybe you finally got your [insert expletive] newsletter up and want to mention it in your already published ebook. Do you pay someone to format it again? I decided to rather do my own formatting, even though it drives me stinking nuts.
In addition there’s stuff like blogging, marketing, social media…alien concepts to me. I was confused when I heard that I should build an author platform. I never used social media before I turned serious about my writing (I’m just not that social. I’m actually pretty shy and awkward.). Joining Twitter in May 2016 was a big step for me. My fellow writers also mentioned things like blog tours, Facebook parties, and Kindle Countdown Deals. I didn’t have the faintest idea what these meant. I know now what a blog tour is and I’ve done two Kindle Countdown Deals. I still have no idea what a Facebook party is, but I guess I’ll just find out a little later.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that I’m confused and overwhelmed nine days out of ten, and I’ve been in this state for over a year now. The newsletter is merely the next step in my heap of challenges. My head wants to explode from all the information I cram in there all the while trying to write my next book. And I want to scream at my fellow writers who make it look so easy.
But I try to tell myself that it’s okay. Deep breaths. This is normal. If we are sometimes overwhelmed, it’s simply because being an author is a lot to digest. Seriously. If you got into this like I did, without any prior experience with putting a book together, or with social media or blogging or anything, the odds are you feel like you’ve been dropped into the deep end.
And in case you’re wondering, no, my sales figures are not that excellent; I’m still working on the whole marketing thing.
Here’s my quick motivation talk for overwhelming situations:
- As an indie author you’re doing the multiple jobs of an entire publishing house singlehandedly—feeling overwhelmed is normal. Embrace it! It means you’re in business.
- Every tiny step counts! No matter how tiny it is, it counts in the big picture. Don’t worry about the mountain of tasks looming over you, simply do one little thing today and another little thing tomorrow. Create content for your platform. Be happy about every little bit of progress you make with your next book. Remember to look back frequently and see the progress you’ve made. I realize I’ve come a long way over the past year and I’m excited to think how far I’ll be next year at this time (I might actually have my newsletter up and running!).
- We all start from zero. Every single bestselling author you see out there started from zero. There’s no magic bullet to success, but thankfully the writing community is full of friendly and helpful people.
Are you overwhelmed? I send you warm and encouraging hugs! You are awesome and you can do this!
You’re not overwhelmed today? Leave me a hug in the comments, I need it!