Daily Archives: May 22, 2011

Taking a Chance. Take the Time.

Notice please that the title says take THE time… not take YOUR time.  The only way you will ever make your dreams come true is to work at them.  Not when you have the time, not when you have nothing better to do… Work at it every day.  Five minutes every day.  An hour every day.  Research every day, work at the dream every day… Every minute you can find to spend on your dream is a minute closer you are to it.  You can do it if your heart wants to badly enough.

I have been hearing a couple people talk about writing.  Writing and publishing and young people.  And lets face it, it is a topic close to my heart.

Many of you have probably read my brain dumps about being told that people like me don’t write… if we write we certainly don’t publish… and if by some ridiculous fluke of fate we publish, we never ever ever will get paid for it.  It took me decades to get past the recordings in my head and get my collective crap in gear and do it.  I’m still not quite to where I need to be (writing for the sheer love of writing and because it is me) but I’m getting there.

I’ve been looking long and hard at self publishing.  It used to be less easy.  It still can be a tad tricky… but it is very do-able.  And it really is a great way for someone who is unsure where to go or what to do to break into their very own dreams.

I won’t say it is a get rich quick thing… it isn’t.  When you are starting out writing it is a good bit of work (work you, hopefully, enjoy… but still work) for not a whole lot of pay.  If you become well known and followed, you will make more money for every hour you put into working.  Eventually you don’t look longingly at the raise a fast food job would provide.  If you are in it because you know in your heart you need to write, you will keep at it because it is what you do.  If you are in it for the money, you won’t keep after it long.

Where do you start?
Office… Open Office (it’s free)… notepad… however you can get your words into digital format.  You can get them into the tools and toys later.  Save them.  Back them up.  Email them to people YOU TRUST.  Use Google Docs to back them up.  I email mine into google docs with google mail and send them at the same time to evernote.  All of them can be had for free and all of them will be places where you can safely keep them.  All have their own features.   Mostly, they are free and I know where my words go.

Where can you publish them?
Nook specific format (and listing on Barnes and Nobel) pubit.barnesandnoble.com/
Kindle and Amazon listing
kdp.amazon.com
OH… and don’t discount or forget that you can publish for iPad(iPod) even though the readers for Nook and Kindle are free free free for whatever mobile device your computer you use (http://www.ipadpublishing.net/).  This one is a little less intuitive and maybe a little less “free” but I still have to dig into that.
TAKE THE TIME to do the research here.  It won’t take a lot of time to research the ins and outs of publishing on each of them, and it is well worth the time.  Take notes.  Keep the notes in a safe place and make sure you comply with everything they say they need.  It matters and it is good practice for your future.

– the same thing is true no matter what dream you are chasing… if you are skydiving… dig for the important things to know and what you have to practice and what you have to pay… whatever the dream, the research on the requirements matters and will pay off in the end.

Pricing…
Don’t aim for the moon.  One place to start is to publish for free.  Yeah, I know.  If you publish for free you aren’t making any money.  SO.  You can build a following (people will SO take the chance on liking or not liking a free book… article… short story… brain dump… way before they will start to sink money into an unknown commodity… ) and you can benefit from the feedback from real readers (PLEASE don’t take responses personally… you don’t know who is leaving the feedback… some people just really really enjoy dumping on people… others are going to be people who just don’t like your style.  I try very hard to leave constructive feedback if I leave feedback… but some people are just mean… and you know as well as I do that there are authors that you just don’t “like” and others that you are incredibly fond of just because of the style).  Once you have put a couple things out there and have gotten your feet wet (download what you have published… look at how the formatting works or doesn’t work… what you might change or keep the same next time). OH… and just as important as all of these for publishing your first couple for free… you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to pay the taxes on no income… taxes are something that anyone who gets income have to consider no matter your age.

– no matter the dream… there are inexpensive ways to start.  Volunteer to help someone who already does it.  Start small and work your way up.  Every bit of experience is experience you can leverage later.  If you want to learn to play guitar, look at taking a free lesson or two at different music stores.  The piano, maybe a local church will let you practice for a few minutes every week or a couple times a week.  Ask questions of the people who play farmer’s markets or fairs or whatever… in general people who are currently doing whatever you want to do (especially if you don’t try to get someone like Lady GaGa to spend ten minutes with you but someone who is just a little further down the path than you are now…they remember and they don’t think they are too good to take the time).  Find an older magician and take time to visit with them if you want to learn magic.  They probably don’t have a lot of people beating down their doors and they will be willing to help the up and coming  people if you are polite and willing to take the chance.  It can be really scary to put yourself out there and take the chance… but you are taking chances anyway every day… this is just one that will matter forever.

Next Step?
When you are ready for it to be serious… when you are ready to take it to the next level and for it to be more of a vocation than a hobby… You will need to start to invest in ISBN numbers and start keeping better and better records… but we will leave that discussion for another post.

Remember, they are your dreams.  Don’t let anyone take them away from you.