Author Michele Sabad answers your questions:
What motivated & inspired you to publish independently?
I’ve always been a reader, but in retirement, I took up writing: shorts at first, until one day I realized I had finished a book. Camp Follower One Army Brat’s Story is a memoir about the military influences in my life: Army Brat, Air Force wife, now Air Force mother. I hadn’t a single clue about how to get it published, so, like the former IT professional I was, I googled how to get that done. Comparing the long, uncertain process of traditional publishing vs. publishing independently, where all I had to do was figure everything out myself, well, who wouldn’t publish independently?
What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
Of course, I knew nothing about how to self-publish. It was like eating an elephant – one bite at a time! First, finish the manuscript. Find a professional editor. Like crumbs leading me home, each step provided clues to the next step. The editor recommended an illustrator. The illustrator recommended a layout person. The layout guy sent me to his favourite printer. Google and author group advice led me to how to get my ISBN, get published on Amazon, and Kobo. Eventually, I had a published book, available for sale!
Are you a full-time author? What was the point where you realized you could make a full-time living from publishing?
Full-time author? Yes and no. I’m retired from my money-making career. So yes, I am now a full-time author, but no, I’m not making my living from my writing. I am, however, earning enough in my first year to cover my writing costs. I expect to author more books in the future, and to get rolling along as the years go by. I’m retired, but think I have more than a few years left to grow my new career!
How do you balance writing and running your business with family and personal life?
Again, because I’m retired, you would think this would be easier than when I was younger and raising a family. But there are familiar challenges: husbands who want to travel more (and I tried, but can’t really write on the road – there’s too much life out there to experience!); elderly parents to visit across the country and attend to their final years’ needs; grown children also across the country to keep in touch with (I did mention the military influences in my life?) The marketing requirements of self-publishing are proving very time-consuming and exhausting. But those chewy elephant bites must be taken along with all the juicy bits!
What has been the most effective way of getting your book out there and reaching new readers?
Frankly, I’m not yet satisfied with how I’m doing getting my book out there. I do very well at personal signings. It is a memoir, after all, and people want to meet and know the person who wrote it. So blogging keeps people interested. I blog, I contribute to Facebook groups of potential readers. Give away free copies in exchange for reviews. I am struggling with finding an ebook audience. A challenge I am pursuing.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
It’s tough to think about challenges – I consider them problems to be solved little by little. So that’s how I overcome them; step by step. First decide if something can be done (and know when you can’t do anything about something so you can find another path to follow); make a list of steps you can take to resolve; follow the steps. Simple really. A quote from my book : “I’m not an ‘everything happens for a reason’ person, but I am a ‘make lemonade out of lemons’ one.”
What inspires you?
Life. The memory of my mother, the greatest reader I ever knew. She once told me about how she cried as a little girl when she realized that she would never live long enough to read every book ever written. She didn’t, but she did get through more than anyone I’ve ever known. Life is for living and pursuing what you love. If you love writing, write!
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
I wish I could. I have whole weeks of non-production. But during the productive times, and actually every day, I do my social media work, blogging, emails, author meeting arrangements; all in the mornings. Get the tough stuff out of the way early. Then the afternoons are for story-related research and writing. I like a regular work-day-type of schedule: Monday-Friday, 9-5.
What advice would you give to other independent authors?
Do it. Take it one step at a time. Eat that elephant one bite at a time! There will be highs and lows – some bites are easier to chew than others! Bite. Chew. Repeat. Next book.