For some reason, readers have this glorious visual in their heads of authors receiving awards at pristine parties, signing novels at the local BM, and jet setting to write their latest creation. As much as I’d love for that to be true, the simple fact is most authors like myself live normal lives…with a dash of creative chaos thrown in. So, if authors don’t live posh lives, what do they actually do? Good question. I can’t speak for the other published authors out there but I’ll give you a peak into the whirlwind world of my career.
- Wake up at the crack of dawn. Stumble around like a zombie for at least 30 minutes.
- Stretch, exercise, vocal warm ups, get ready for the day. Try to keep eyes open.
- Work like the rest of the world for 8 hours and be sociable.
- Run errands and cook. Try not to fall asleep yet.
- Approve recent cover designs.
- Approve the improved interior formats for the new format requirements. (Hate, hate that! This occurs every few years so essentially, new editions of each novel are released in all the channels once every 2-3 years).
- Create new templates for novels that are not currently in paper back yet.
- Scream. Refrain from hitting head on the table.
- Entertain the pups for my own sanity.
- Return to creating new templates and repeat x 20.
- Practice guitar and sing to keep my calm. Alternate with performing locally.
- Pay bills.
- Bathe so coworkers won’t complain.
- Return slews of messages/ phone calls/ texts.
- Fall asleep somewhere between uploading the 30th version of new formats for novels and cleaning up.
- Sleep in as best I can.
- Take care of pups.
- Try to sleep some more.
- Church, if on a Sunday.
- Approve more cover and interior designs.
- Update author website and Facebook page. Question who actually reads any of it.
- Respond to any letters.
- Bake/ cook something.
- Write music.
- Read my latest novel of choice. (Indie authors are my favorite).
- Return to the drawing board. Edit more templates for paper backs and Kindles.
- Repeat x 30.
- Exercise to keep from losing my mind.
- Edit templates for paper backs and Kindles again.
- Double check recently approved covers and interiors. Second guess self continuously throughout each day.
- Ask readers to give their input on cover designs. Become inpatient and proceed with first design.
- Run errands/ see sites.
- Check latest reviews. Become frustrated.
- Contest/ Promotionals.
- Consider taking a week’s hiatus and question who actually reads my work.
- I should probably eat something… and bathe.
- Return more phone calls/ texts/ e-mails (including but not limited to: insipid opinions about how indie authors are not “real” authors, provide advice to people who claim they want to be authors only to see them change their mind a week later, relate updates to uninterested family members/ friends) .
- Wonder where the weekend went.
- Pass out.
And just in case you were wondering what the process of writing involves…
- FYI- Each item can take anywhere between one week to several years because this is real life, after all.
- Brain storm next novel.
- Do research. Take notes.
- Reread the first book in the series that you published (if a series) to pick up where you left off. Take notes.
- Read novel of choice to improve writing.
- Attend local writer’s groups.
- Edit and reformat each novel x 50 (At least. No, I’m not kidding).
- Consider whether or not you will require a cover artist’s expertise.
- Implore cover artist (if applicable).
- Solicit the help of multiple editors. Remind them of deadlines. Hope you can make the deadline.
- Edit manuscript according to editor’s notes.
- Reread the manuscript at least 10 times or more before…
A. Create and approve cover designs and interior designs.
B. Write blurb and choose an author picture to appropriately reflect the novel. No pressure.
C. Approve paperback proof copy.
D. Announce paper back release.
E. Dance circles when paper back actually arrives with intervals of “Hallelujah!”
a. Create and approve new cover designs and interiors for e-readers.
c. Announce release of e-reader.
d. Repeat x 20 (At least. Still not kidding).
- Completely redo most everything specifically for Kindle. (No, this is not a joke).
- Create and approve new cover designs and interiors for Kindle.
- Update author website and Facebook page to reflect new novels, venues, distributors, and channels.
- Create book trailer and upload it online.
- Get contacts for press releases, interviews, book reviews.
- Schedule book signings and order copies of books. Second guess whether you have enough.
- Repeat the paper back process but this time for…
- Read manuals on each aspect of each outlet (because they are all picky).
- Cross fingers and pray.
- Wonder if I really should go the traditional route of finding an agent then debate which avenue is more work: being an indie author or soliciting manuscripts for 15 years in hopes of approval.
You Thought It was Over? Haha…
A. Update editions for the next round of formatting requirements for each outlet: paper back, e-readers, Kindle, Audio (repeat all the above).
B. Read all new manuals (because they constantly change).
C. Learn new Word programs and try to remain calm.
D. Spend at least a week learning about all the latest techniques, advice, and requirements for authors. Listen to advice on entering contests. Who has time for that? Listen to a few authors think they are better than the rest. Network with other indie authors/ creatives who truly are amazing.
E. Wonder why your sales don’t reflect your work ethic. Contact PR.
E. Begin processes again for the next novel.
Did I forget to mention to BREATHE?
So at this point you’re probably sorry you asked what an author’s life looks like. Why do we do it? For me, the answer is simplistic: I love writing and I love the feel of my imagination resting in my hands in the form of a book. Happy trails, my friends. If you’re crazy enough to join the disheveled ranks of authors, good luck.