Thursday, February 9, 2017

Guest Post: I am a Dreamer: Gearing up to Self-Publish

Hello everyone!

I'm doing something a little different today, sharing a post by another writer, one I know and admire: D.K. Dailey. Many are the times she's been a cheerleader in my corner, making sure I'm never tempted to give up my dreams of being a writer--so I thought I'd share a little of that cheerleading with you. :)

M. xoxoxox


I Am a Dreamer: Gearing up to Self-Publish

Being a writer is the essence of being a dreamer. Writers have superpowers and the license, after growing up, to imagine the impossible without being called crazy. We see imaginary people and make up lives and worlds for them to live in. Our made-up stories, people, things, connections, events and worlds continue to entertain long after the book is closed, the e-reader is shut down, or the audio-file narrator speaks the last word. Readers revisit our worlds and characters time and time again. In this way, the power of words is astronomical. Writing is a power we wield, one that keeps us up at night and keeps ideas running through our heads.

When I look over all the characteristics writers need in their toolbox in order to navigate the world of writing, it starts reading like a magical potion for a person with an indestructible spirit. I imagine that if being a writer was summarized as a series of bumper stickers, they would say:

Never stop. Never give up. Passion moves mountains.
Believe in yourself first or no one else will believe in you.
Wear your armor, you're gonna need it.
Must be imaginative and a little crazy.

Now when that dreamer starts down the path to taking writing more seriously and starts striving to be a published author they are met with rejections and ups and downs. We get our feelings hurt and grow thick skin because being critiqued causes us to doubt ourselves and our work. The road is full of learning and humbling experiences. No shortcuts or secrets exist, especially if reaching an audience and being taken seriously is the goal. Although there aren't any secrets to it, there are tips and facts I wish I would've known about the industry that I've stumbled on or found out the hard way. But that's another blog post.

I have always loved writing and reading but never thought until 2009 that I could become a writer or ever call myself a published author. And then I took a class on the art of writing a dramatic play. During those months, I became engrossed in my plot and characters and although I had a career I loved in advertising, I realized I needed to write to feel fully fulfilled. Now if I could only find a career that merges my love for advertising and writing, I’d be a happy woman!

Flash forward to 2017 and thirteen books and counting later, here I am still without an agent or publisher. I assure you, it's not for lack of trying. To date, I've sent out nearly two-hundred queries to agents and publishers. I've had one revise-and-resubmit request from an agent, several partial manuscript requests and seven full manuscript requests. I've participated in at least six Twitter pitch parties which place authors in front of industry people who favorite our pitches, inviting us to send them a query. I have also won two writing contests and placed in six others. Officially, I'm a seasoned amateur writer and professional dreamer.

Since I have written many books without publishing, I have a unique vantage point on the adage “Just Keep Writing,” that a lot of writers have given as advice. And it reminds me of Dori's words, “Just Keep Swimming,” in the movie Finding Nemo. I have learned that most people don't sell or publish their first books. And if they do it's many drafts later. One very successful author I met said it was draft twenty that was published of her first book and it was only halfway through at draft ten when she felt she knew her characters and the fantasy world they inhabited. In general, it takes the process and experience of writing several books to feel grounded enough to venture out of our writer (hobbit) holes to pursue our dream.

And even when we venture out and experience the world as a writer, growing thick skins and filling our toolbox with tools of our craft, we still stumble, we fall and we fail. But hopefully we get up and learn and grow. We carry the dreamer mentality with us, but reality sets in.

From my experience in the writing world, I, the dreamer, have to face reality. As far as my advertising career is concerned, I’d love to hold a job with a mission where I can learn and grow. For my writing career, I’d like to be a hybrid author because I’d like to publish traditionally, with a small press and I’d like to self-publish. Over time, I have come to realize that I might have to switch up the order of how I’d like to be published.

With this in mind, I still querying, but am also gearing up to self-publish. Here are the steps I have taken to make this dream a reality:

1. Plan a full series of books
2. Write books
3. Find and work with beta and critique groups to improve books
4. Hire and work with editors
5. Create a marketing plan and execute it.

Although I'm still writing and editing I am now only one book away from writing the last book in the series. And now that I see the end in sight, I'm saving money to make it happen. In the end, I will not sell my books short, I will invest everything I can in them. Choosing to self-publish doesn't mean I skimp on quality.

So from one dreamer to the next, keep writing and keep pushing forward despite rejections and setbacks because everyone has their own path. This business is subjective and no path is the “right” one. Figure out what your goals are and go forth, step out of your writer hole and share your worlds.


You can find more from D.K. Dailey on her website, and on Twitter. :)

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