Jessica Broughton was kind enough to let me pick her brain about the movie biz back in episode #75 (listen here). I'm thrilled that she's followed up with me about what she's up to lately...and that includes self-publishing her first short story.
That deserves a "yay," Jessica. YAY!
Without further ado, here's the story in her own words:
Three Self-Publishing Challenges I Didn't Expect by Jessica M. Broughton
Hello, my name is Jessica, and I’m a writer (“Hi, Jessica!”). I’ve been freelancing for almost six years now, and just self-published a supernatural/horror short called “Bespoke” for the Kindle, Nook, and on Smashwords.
My story and my reasons for self-publishing echo that of many other authors. I had spent almost two years shopping my short story around, to no avail, and I was just done. I decided that I was going to submit it to one more place, and if they didn’t take it, then it was time to self-publish.
It became a perfect storm: the short got rejected; an artists’ collective that I work with, the PixelDrip Gallery, decided to exhibit at the Long Beach Comic and Horror Con Halloween weekend; and because my story is supernatural in nature, I couldn’t have asked for a better time of the year to publish the darn thing.
I decided all of this on Tuesday, October 11, and in just a little over two weeks I pulled it all together with the help of some amazing friends.
I knew that this was going to be a learning experience but there were definitely some challenges that I was totally prepared for.
So you’ve self-published a book – congratulations! Now get back to work.
Self-publishing means you have to get incredibly creative with your marketing. Really creative.
In the last two weeks I’ve spent more time online just talking to people than I ever thought possible. In addition to attending the Long Beach Comic Con, I just spent Sunday at the Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles (oh darn!). I’ve gotten myself on Goodreads, and it’s become more important than ever for me to keep in touch with every single person that I’ve met. I’m tweeting. I’m taking pictures. I’m asking friends to like my author page on Facebook. I’m reaching out to other writers and artists to figure out how we can support each other as we try to make a living out of our art.
I’m not going to lie – I’m having the time of my life. I love writing and I’m glad I decided to take this step. I’m also trying to figure out just what the hell I’m doing and to figure out what works so that I can finesse my marketing plan.
Had I had more time, I would have done more marketing prior to the book launch. But the truth is I was racing to the finish line just to get everything done and completed for the Long Beach Comic Con.
I definitely didn’t expect the way the dynamics were going to shift post-book.
Which brings me to…
I knew I had a lot of work to do to promote my book, but right now it feels like I’m trying to do the impossible. That’s just my way of saying that I have a huge to do list, and now I’m feeling like I have no time to actually write.
I also work as a non-fiction freelance writer, and in the last five days I’ve done exactly nothing on work that I have due at the end of the month.
Jordan once said on her Packing Heat podcast that after examining her 40 hour workweek as a writer she was spending about 10 hours writing and 30 hours marketing, updating her website, and doing everything else under the sun to make sure that she promoted herself and stayed relevant.
Oh, and did I mention that I, like many authors, still have a day job?
The problem is that you can very easily and very quickly find that you’re doing absolutely nothing but marketing and promotions, and you’re not doing much writing.
I’ve actually had to start dividing up my days so that I can accomplish everything without driving myself batty, burning myself out, or being incapable of having a normal conversation with a real human being.
It just means I have to cowboy up, get organized, and prioritize.
For me, that means breaking things down to the basics – writing every day, eating regularly and eating healthy (as I am prone to skipping meals), exercising, and getting enough rest. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have a little bit of fun thrown in there, too, just for sanity’s sake.
I’m happy to report that by just taking care of myself I’ve noticed a huge upswing in my energy levels, my productivity has gone through the roof, and I am juggling everything quite nicely. For today, at least, but it’s something!
It’s going to happen whenever you take a step in the unknown: your inner critic is going to go hog wild.
If you decide to self-publish, your inner critic is going to go bonkers.
My image of my inner critic is a cigar smoking Gollum in a three piece suit. He tends to jump up and down like a monkey and is quite the little douchebag.
Gollum-monkey decided to pipe up the minute I had a minute to myself. It was the first day at the Long Beach Comic Con, Mark Batalla (of the PixelDrip Gallery) and I had just finished setting up the booth, and it was the first time in two weeks that I had the time to think.
Big, big, BIG mistake.
“Who do you think you are, precious? You don’t belongssss with themsssesssess! You are nots a real writersssszzz!” The little Gollum monkey whispered these things in my ear and hopped up and down begging for attention. I was already tired, and by 3 p.m. I looked and felt like I could have just put my PJs on and gone right to bed.
Then I walked around the Con and talked to many other artists and writers who had done THE EXACT SAME THING. They were tired of waiting for someone else to validate their work, so they just put it out there. Once I realized I was in good company (even though my logical brain knew that already), Gollum-monkey crawled back into his corner and had a pity party all by his lonesome. I sure as heck wasn’t going to join, and I had a great Con as a first-time exhibitor.
Jessica Broughton is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction with a penchant for swing dancing, Art Deco, and vintage typewriters. She writes speculative fiction and horror from her home in Pasadena, CA. Bespoke is a dark, alternate history tale of two lovers caught in the grasp of a dictatorship rampaging across Europe. Visit her on her site at Grrlwriter.com
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