The Many Hats of Self Published Authors

Self-publishing is not easy. Let's get the myth out of the way right now. Just because you wrote a book, Oprah will not call, you aren't going to see many big royalty checks in the mail, and you won't be living some F. Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby party lifestyle where everyone hails you as a genius.

Being both publisher and author simultaneously is not the easy life. It's a whole new level of work you've taken on. Not one job but many jobs.

Most authors never achieve success precisely because they are authors and can't envision or motivate themselves into being more than just authors. Once the first book is published, an author just doesn't turn to writing the second book. The self-published author needs to be a writer, but he or she is also a publisher, a marketer, a book delivery person, a salesperson, and usually the janitor too.

Having a day job and trying to promote your book at the same time is not easy, much less writing the next book. Self-publishing is time-consuming and wearing all those hats can leave you running ragged trying to keep track of everything.

The best advice I can offer is to make a list of your priorities and create a schedule for your various activities-those both necessary and enjoyable. And don't overlook that you started doing all this because you love to write-if writing is what feeds your soul, schedule it in with your book promotion time.

Let's say you are a married woman with a full-time job and two teenage children. You work 9-5 each day so you can't block out that time. You've heard about authors who get up at 4:00am to write their books but you're realistic and don't want to mess with your sleep. Once you come home from work, you make dinner (your husband does the dishes), and some evenings you have family events. The important thing is to make a schedule and stick to it. Life will intervene; there will be school plays on Monday night when you usually write or your daughter's soccer game irregularly scheduled on Thursday rather than Wednesday, but you can work around them.

Remember that Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your first book written that quickly. At the same time, you don't need full days to work. You don't even need full hours. You can be productive and still have a family life, time for yourself, and time to write. Bottom line, maybe you can only carve out two hours a night from 7-9, and not even every night. If that's the best you can do, that's great. Just make sure you do it. Even if it's half an hour, it's better than nothing. If you find marketing less fun than writing, reward yourself by doing the marketing first.

Here's a sample schedule you might want to carve out:

Monday

7:00pm - send out mailings to libraries, bookstores, interested organizations.

8:00pm - work on next book.

Tuesday

7:00pm - promote book online at social networking sites. Post blog.

8:00pm - reply to emails (includes replying to customer orders, making contacts, participating in writing and publishing groups online).

Wednesday

Your daughter has soccer this night so you don't get home until almost 8:00pm and work an hour later to catch up.

8:00pm - prepare to mail out book orders.

9:00pm - work on making media contacts, sending out press releases etc.

Thursday

7:00pm - post blog, reply to emails.

8:00pm - work on scheduling or preparing for upcoming book signings and speaking engagements.

Friday

7:00pm - prepare to mail out book orders.

8:00pm - use time to catch-up, or as free time to choose whatever you want to work on.