My Experience Publishing with CreateSpace

I did it. I published my book, The Project-Driven Life: How To Figure Out What You Want To Be When You Grow Up. It’s available now on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle edition now.

I am so happy.

High Resolution Front Cover.5747969

If you’ve ever thought about self-publishing through Amazon’s CreateSpace, here’s what I did, and why, and what my experience was like.

But first, a little backstory.

I really resisted publishing this. Getting my work out there was a big, fat, scary, hairy deal for me. I didn’t want to risk criticism, or people hating it, or even worse, ignoring it.

So when I was finally ready to pull the trigger, I had to make some decisions.

I knew I was going to go with CreateSpace because I had worked with them before, back when they were called Booksurge.

I had a good experience with them back in 2008 when I helped a friend, who had no computer skills, publish his book with them, and it was easy.

Sadly, he died before he saw his book in print, but his widow told me to spare no expense and just get it out there so all his friends could buy it on Amazon.

So she paid for copy editing and marketing, and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t even remember now.

But you don’t have to pay at all with CreateSpace.  You can totally publish your book for free.

You can do your own formatting, your own copy editing. You can upload your own cover art and write your own marketing copy.

But I hate all that. I hate Word and if I had to eff around with it to get my formatting all neat and clean, my stupid little book would be still sitting in Scrivener.

I’m not a bad writer, but even I knew my copy wasn’t squeeky clean.

And as for cover art? Jesus. No way.

Marketing copy and SEO and all that stuff?  I wish I was good at it, but I’m not.

I went in and calculated how much I would have to pay CreateSpace to do all that stuff and make my scary hairy project something that didn’t look like a dog’s dinner, which it most certainly would have if I was in charge of all that stuff.

If I was ready to do this, and if this might be the very last thing I would have the nads to put out there, what was it worth to me to have it done all spiffy and pro?

You can go in and calculate all their pro services on the site. One round of copy editing, Pro formatting, 2 Pro covers to pick from, marketing and Kindle conversion totalled a grand.

I sat on it.

I could do my own copy editing. I could dink around in Word and format. I could take a photo for the cover and overlay the right font onto it and pick fonts for front and back and inside, and write the back cover and the Amazon description and tag it all up on my own.

I could. I really could. I could spend another 6 months to a year learning new skills, but the question was: Would I?

And the answer was a resounding, no.

I would not. I had not the time, nor, more importantly, the interest, in doing any of those things. It took all I could do to finish the damn thing and I really didn’t want to deal with it any more.

So I paid. And I am so happy I did.

 

The whole process was a dream. I got an editorial letter telling me where my tone went off the rails, and I got to fix it. I had so many copy editing mistakes it was embarrassing , frankly.

I got to fix them all.

The pro formatting turned out so nice.

I was initially going to go with just one cover concept but was urged to go for the Premium package where they design 2 and you get to pick the one you like best, and I was SO HAPPY I did that because one of the covers was not what I was going for at all.

But I think the very best money I spent was on the Marketing. Marketing is such a skilled art, and their writers totally nailed it.

Yeah, I paid, but I got way more than I ever hoped for. And it was a pleasure to deal with them.

So if you have some money to throw at your book project, I would say: go for it. Definitely get the copy editing and definitely get the Marketing. Best money I ever spent.

 

 

Full Moon In Capricorn tomorrow

I don’t usually pay too much attention to lunar cycles, but this caught my eye because, 1) I am a Capricorn, and 2) tomorrow is July 1st and I am devoting the entire month to finishing my book.

Initially, I scheduled vacations and weekends off from writing, but I realized that I don’t have the time to take off. It’s going to be a push to get it all written in a month. I want all the writing  done by July 31st, which, crazily enough, will feature yet another full moon. The second full moon in  a month is called a Blue Moon. How auspicious is that, right?

Check out the following elephant journal article about what this full moon means:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/full-moon-in-capricorn-get-ready-for-fireworks/

Today I was working on the structure of the book and I have always known certain things.

First: It is going to be a short book. Really short.  It is tentatively called Living a Project Driven Life and I am modeling it on Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist. There won’t be the graphical features of Kleon’s book because I’m not graphical like that, but it will be a small book, with the content chunked out in sections rather than chapters.

If you are a writer, you will sympathize with how difficult it is to write  “short,” meaning, with economy and precision.

“I have made this longer than usual because I have not had  time to make it shorter.” ~Blais Pascal

That’s mainly why I resist my work so much.

I have also made the decision to to write my book here , in this blog, in a series of posts over the next 31 days.  I have already written some posts that I have scattered here and there throughout this blog that are sections of this book,  but starting tomorrow, I am going to see if I can chunk out 300 word sections and post them here. Since I already have the daily posting momentum going, it will be easy just to post what I have worked on all morning and not have to think of alternate content every day.

What this means for you as readers of this blog, is that you can avail yourself of my system if you want, and see if it meets any of your needs, or adds value to your life.

Either way your feedback will be invaluable.

Doing it this way will be so good for me because it will give me someone to talk to, an audience who I already know and trust. I feel comfortable talking to you. You are like friends. Talking to you will help me with my tone.

So tomorrow it begins. I hope the Full Moon in Capricorn brings you a month of prosperity and fireworks, too.

Namaste.

 

Writing to Know

This is my 126th post in a row. It’s getting hard now. My goal with this blog, ultimately,  is to write content that adds value to the reader somehow.

I don’t even know what that means. When it comes to a blog like this, which is not really a yoga blog, or a food blog, it’s kind of a “lifestyle” blog. It’s the lifestyle of a yoga teacher, meditator, and writer, living with her partner and Corgi in small-town rural America. (The scenes on TV of where they were looking for the  recent escaped inmates  at Dannemora look a lot like  around here.)

I am writing to figure out what my natural themes are. My hope is that I will write myself toward enlightenment. I want to drop crumbs and then go back and retrace where I’ve been.

Eventually, I would like to post only once a week. This posting every day is a game to see if to see if  I can cut my chops, to practice persistence and stamina. It’s also to see what I write when I have nothing to say.

Like tonight.

I feel resolutions coming on.

Crank Time

Here in Pennsylvania it rained. All day.

G is so sick she sat on the couch and binge-watched DVR-ed episodes of Long Island Medium  and drank copious amounts of hot water laced with coconut oil and raw honey. She is really sick.

I did 47 loads of laundry, went to the ATM, and to the store for ingredients to make homemade chicken soup (Jewish penicillin) tomorrow. Between Jennifer’s good advice (thanks Jen!) and my soup, we’ll wean her away from women with scary fingernails who speak to the dead.

While we were in Portland I did no writing except here. That was the plan. I gave myself permission not to write on vacation, but what it means is that tomorrow I need to sit in the Space Chair and start to crank.

Cranking isn’t writing. Cranking is like hand-pumping water. Nothing comes out for the first 500 pumps, but then, lo and behold, a little trickle, then a gush, and another, till eventually you’ve got a nice gush of paragraphs flowing.

I had that gushy rhythm going before I left, but I lost the momentum.

So now it’s crank-time again. This is why writers need to write every day, to keep the gush going.

 

How to Write Your Personal Manifesto

I got knee-deep and dirty into my book today. I changed my working title from “Amp Your Vibe” to “How to Create a Project-Driven Life” which is really what it is about.

There are list-making exercises.

There are ways to beta-test project ideas before you commit to them.

There are tips on how to build and sustain your energy and focus for the long-haul.

There is an exercise aimed at helping your write your Personal Manifesto.

This last one is the most important exercise in the whole book, I think. It will reveal what you believe and what you stand for. Knowing this is tremendously helpful for living your life as well as vetting project ideas for their potential “worth.”

Here’s the exercise. Try it. If you do, and need help in creating a Manifesto out of the answers, let me know (or wait for the book!)

Answer these questions as completely as you can.

Who do I admire?
What do I value in the people I admire?
What do I value in the marketplace, as a consumer of goods and services?
What 1 or 2 qualities do I have, that I wished my children, friends or colleagues had?
How do I feel when I feel seen?
What makes me feel safe, secure, appreciated?
How do I want to show up in the world? How do I want to “present”? How do I wish to be seen?
How do I want to express?
How do I want to be known?
What do I want to be known FOR?
What would be the best thing someone could say about me in a eulogy?

If you would find it helpful, I could show you my answers to these questions and show you how I came up with my Personal Manifesto. Let me know in the comments.

Namaste.

What do you love? What don’t you love?

Okay, now I’m excited.

The blogger John, from Stories in the Struggle posted a Love/Hate Challenge. The deal is that you list 10 things you love and 10 things you hate, and then ask all of your readers and followers to do the same. I’m in, John!

This is the core exercise of my book. Making and keeping up these 2 lists was the  key to figuring out who I was, and what I needed to be doing in the world. I write about lists A LOT on this blog. A recent post about how you are what you love, can be found HERE. I think this is the very best thing a person can do. Because when you notice what you love and what you don’t love, in the noticing you are paying attention to your life.

And when you pay attention to your life, you discover who you are. It’s freaking magical.

Things I love (in no particular order)

  • Cedar waxwings
  • Sinking down farther and farther into the sand with each incoming wave.
  • The little spit sink and cup at the dentist.
  • Office supply stores.
  • Marching bands.
  • Ironing
  • A great white shirt
  • Unplowed snow
  • Pudding
  • Fountain pens.

Go here for a more comprehensive comprehensive list of all the things I love.

Things I hate (in no particular order)

  • Vacuuming
  • Inserts in magazines that either fall out, or you have to rip them out to read in peace.
  • Plastic cutlery
  • The warm feeling of dog poop through the plastic bag.
  • Parallel parking
  • Styro packing peanuts
  • February
  • Mother’s Day
  • The cereal at the bottom of the box.
  • The phrase “poster child.”

Go here for a more comprehensive list of all things I don’t love.

I am so amped to know what is on the lists of the people who read this blog! I hope lots of you will play.

Thanks, John!

Week 1 Gratitudes

Time for some appreciation and gratitude.

This is the end of  Week 1 of my new intention to write every day, Monday through Friday, on The Project.

First, I appreciate G. For everything, but especially for understanding why I am squirreled up in my room so much, and for making the elixir (we are doing a liver and gall bladder cleanse that involves juicing limes and mixing that lime juice with olive oil and chugging it.) And for making dinner, and for asking, with love, how it’s going each evening, and listening to my blather.

Next, Jennifer, my friend and Naturopath who understands that my eczemic ears are one thing, but that it’s actually my inability to finish stuff that’s the real itch.

And to Dani Shapiro for writing Still Writing which I am finding incredibly supportive and inspiring at the moment. I am so grateful to writers who write about their process: Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Virginia Woolf, to name a few. Thank god for them. For without them I wouldn’t be able to brazen this out. I’d feel too weird, too lonely, too guilty. They write stories and novels, yes, but they also take time to write about what it’s like to wake up in the morning and embark upon the endless sea, and have to build your boat, too.

Those are the people who supported me through Week 1. A deep bow of gratitude to all of them.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I have given myself the weekends off. Time to focus on other things.