So you’ve decided to defy the gatekeepers of the traditional publishing world and try to make it on your own as an indie author! First of all, congratulations. The decision to self-publish is a brave one that requires a lot of courage. Now that you’ve made that decision, you’ll find that there are many, many more ahead. The road ahead can seem unbearably long and you’ll find yourself wondering how much time it actually takes to publish an ebook and what are the best self-publishing tools to help you get there.
As someone who has been through the self-publishing process (twice), I can share which tools were most helpful to me. It’s important to pay attention to your mental health while you work toward self-publication. Getting too stressed can stall your progress forward. Here are seven tools to help you stay sane on your journey toward self-publication.
When you’re not sure what move to make next, the Internet is luckily full of blogs that will provide the answers you need. No matter whether your questions are about the writing process, cover design, formatting, or a myriad of other topics, there is a blog out there that will help you through your uncertainty. Here’s a blog post that includes links to several helpful self-publishing blogs to get you started.
As you browse the Internet, you’ll find that in addition to blogs, there are a ton of forums out there dedicated to self-publishing and writing in general. Absolute Write Water Cooler has a self-publishing forum with several informative threads while Kboards is a very useful forum specifically for Kindle users. Self-publishing can get both very stressful and very lonely, and it can take a huge load off your shoulders to not only find answers to your questions but to see that others have run into the same issues.
3) To-Do Lists
When I’ve gotten overwhelmed during the self-publishing process, nothing calms me down like making a to-do list. Sometimes a project can seem like this big, shapeless monster that you have no hope of overcoming. Actually naming everything you have to get done can do a lot to shed light on your monster project and make it seem less scary. Also remember that as a self-published author, you don’t have to rush through the items on your to-do list. Go at your own pace.
Meditation is a tool that will help you to maintain your mental health whether you’re a writer or not, and it was a huge help to me when I started to get overwhelmed by the self-publishing process. Meditation allows you to take some time to yourself and observe how busy your mind has become with thoughts. I try to meditate before each writing session and it does wonders for my ability to focus. There are a ton of meditation apps and videos out there—you may have to search around a bit for the one for you. I started out using the app Headspace and now I do body scan meditations I find on YouTube (this one is a particular favorite).
When you’re sitting hunched in a desk chair all day, it can be easy for any hurdle you hit on your self-publishing journey to seem insurmountable. It is so incredibly important that you get up and move around. You don’t need to get a personal trainer or even join a gym if that seems too daunting. There are tons of yoga and other workout videos online (that Internet amiright—what would we do without it?). Even going on a few 10-30 minute walks throughout your day will do wonders for your state of mind.
Music is a prerequisite whenever I am writing. I use Spotify to create playlists that will best suit the sort of work I’m doing. Playlists dedicated to certain characters or locales in a story help me sink down into the scene. I have a hard time reading while music with words is playing, so I have a “No Words” playlist I listen to while surfing the self-publishing blogs and forums mentioned above. I even have one called “No Words (Chill)” full of calming instrumental music for when I feel myself getting too stressed while I research. This may not work for you if you’re not a particularly musically-inclined person, but from someone who would be lost without music while writing or researching, I urge you to give it a try.
You can only attack a problem from so many angles before you need to step back and take a break. Sometimes the best thing you can do when you’re having issues or get overwhelmed is to take a step back. Go do something else you enjoy—watch some TV or a movie, build a model plane, cook a delicious meal, etc. Spend some time with the friends you’ve probably been neglecting while you’ve been in your writing hobbit hole. Odds are, your brain will keep working at the problem unconsciously while you are off doing other things. So then when you come back, the solution will suddenly seem clear.
Self-publishing can be a very isolating process where you don’t feel like you have anywhere to turn. I hope this list has shown you that with the help of the Internet and some self-care practices, you can feel focused on the task at hand and less alone. Self-publishing help is always just a few clicks away. My fellow bloggers and I at the Fictionate.Me blog have written countless articles about self-publishing and writing that you can check out here.
Author’s Bio:- Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jillian has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jillian has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.