I’m Not In It For The Money

I’m Not In It for the Money – This could be said for my blog, which I have no intention of trying to monetize, but also for my book – also titled Retirement Transition.

Since my book is a passion project, I did the self-publishing approach. I don’t believe that my book will make me a ton of money. I don’t even believe I’ll recoup the cost of self-publishing, although some recoup of the money outlay would be nice.   Others put their passion dollars into lessons, entrance fees, or specialty equipment; I put mine in self-publishing.

With self-publishing, you can publish anything you want – a memoir, an inspirational A to Z compilation, short stories, or a series of your blog posts. On the plus side of self-publishing, there are no rejection letters. Using a publishing press that specializes in self-publishing gives you someone to walk you through the details. On the negative side, no big promotions and no huge sales are expected. And you pay for every element.

I do know there are cheaper, more do-it-yourself options out there. But I wanted someone to walk me through what was needed; and I wanted a real in-print book, not just an e-book. So this was my route to publication. This blog post is not details about the writing of my book; it is about my process of self-publishing:

  • Writing and editing are different stages. I wrote most of the content over about a nine-month period of time. There was back and forth with some of my blog posts; some early posts were lifted from early book content and some later blog posts ended up as book content. But then it took 2 years to edit and get the courage to publish.

 

  • Get a friend who is really good with grammar, logic flow, and basic editing knowledge to do a first cut edit, hopefully as a favor! Ask for real feedback, and improve your manuscript based on it. Professional editing costs a lot of money. It’s worth it for a round 2, but get a round 1 editing done first, even if you think you’re a good writer.   Most “professional books” have 5-6 rounds of editing input! I am also a perfectionist and I edited my book myself multiple times before anyone else saw it. With 2 other edit eyes, I know it will not be perfect (there will be a typo somewhere I am sure!), but I felt it was enough.

 

  • I went the small self-publishing company route. As I’ve said, there are cheaper approaches, but being my first time, it was helpful to have someone walk me through the steps. I looked into 4 different self-publishers: one recommended to me, one came up tops in a Google search, and two were presses that had published similar books to mine that I liked.
    • I “interviewed” and got quotes from 2 different self-publishing companies, making sure I was comparing apples-to-apples in what was included. I went with my gut at the end of it (choosing Mill City), as I believe either would have been OK.
    • In my “silver level publishing package” I received front & back cover design, content formatting, typesetting, ISBN/Copy write registration, and 2 years print-on-demand order on-line (via Amazon, B&N) plus e-book (Kindle & Nook). I added in an editing round.
    • The project manager throughout the publishing process was amazingly responsive. The marketing project manager not so much, so far. I also did not have any marketing in the package, so now have to think about that aspect (and additional costs).
  • In most cases I went with the “default” or recommended options – book size, paper color, text format, retail price. I had input on every step, and needed to give final approval on cover design, typesetting, etc.   I wasn’t super picky on cover design (I wanted simple), but had to do 3 rounds of typesetting input to get the text consistent throughout the book. The press I went with uses the Chicago Manual of Style, which is not how Microsoft Word does text formatting, so at first spacing looked a bit inconsistent, mostly because my content was non-fiction with paragraph headers, examples, and worksheets.
    • Some things that ”went wrong”? I had to create back-cover content at the last minute because I didn’t think about it. There were more rounds of typesetting than I expected because I needed to learn how I wanted elements to look consistently throughout the book and how to provide the typesetters with the graphics. I got a wrong proof-copy (weird) and had to wait another 2 weeks to see my book in print (just frustrating).
  • I had crafted my writing in book-format (downloaded from Amazon self-publishing) so chapters, index, appendix, etc. were all accounted for. I did not include an acknowledgement or dedication; I did include an author page. It is about choices the whole time, so have a vision of how you want it to look!

I’m not sure if it took longer or shorter than expected.   I had a completed manuscript when I connected with a self-publisher. The manuscript was a work in progress for almost 3 years, although many times it sat for months with nothing happening! But the process with the publisher was about 3 months total, from signed contract to book in hand. They lead me through every step and I felt that alone was worth the cost!

Would I do it again? If I had another (great) book idea, yes, I would. And I might still go with the same publishing press as their production staff was good.

It is also pretty cool to say, “I am a published author.”

And even though I’m not in it for the money, here is a blatant self-promotion… My book is now available on-line at Amazon.com (or https://amazon.com/dp/1545656371/) and also on-line at Barnes & Noble.

Photo: my book cover  🙂

42 thoughts on “I’m Not In It For The Money

      1. Hey Pat… yes it has been awhile. I’m a year into my retirement and still adjusting to the changes. Something you said in one of your posts really rang true to me yesterday…you mentioned that at 1st you worked a bit after retiring because you knew how to do that and it was easy…. but figuring out retirement was new and you had to figure it out. So True! Retirement is wonderful but it does change things… like know what day of the week it is and figuring out what to do on vacation when you have already been on one called retirement. I have to thank you for motivating me to get back to writing.. I have been less inspired to write since retirement because I have been busy working off a 3 year honeydo list I built before retiring…. I read your publishing blog post and it pushed me to sit and write… something I love… When I look at the volume of information your crank out I’m humbled… keep going girl… Thank you. Fergy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Fergy, I didn’t start writing until about a year into retirement myself! I also don’t write everyday…I go in spurts and tend to have a few blog posts at different stages of development. And if nothing is ready to go, I don’t post.

        That said, I’m crafting a post for my 4 year blog anniversary…. looking back over lots of my posts. I’d not done that since I finished my book draft (which pulled a lot from my blog). And yes, I sometimes wonder where the next post idea will come from…. so it’s lovely to get encouragement to keep on keeping on!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly, Most folks will tell you to start thinking about retirement before you retire, so if you find the time, start into the book. It’s kinda like Julia Cameron’s stuff… it takes a while to work through the chapters! And thanks for posting.

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    1. Tracey – Yay! You’re the first person who’s told me they have it in hand. So cool for me to know that. And if you like it, please do post a review. Apparently that’s important on Amazon. But don’t feel obligated!

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  1. That was fascinating Pat – and well done on finishing the journey and having a book you are justifiably proud of. I am so impressed with your achievement – and it seems to have happened so quickly! (Not counting the 3 years leading up to the event!!) I think I might be the only blogger in the world who doesn’t have a book waiting to leap out of their brain – maybe one day inspiration will strike?
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, You definitely have a book within you if you wanted to pursue it. Your A to Z’s would make wonderful compilation(s) – Molly T just published an A to Z journal prompt book! I’ve actually thought that might be another approach to a book from me – inspired by a lot of your A to Z writing! Net, it could easily pop out of your brain, if it was something you felt compelled to do… but DO NOT assume you need to do one because others are doing it. Do NOT compare and despair…. you need to feel the internal personal passion for it… it has to flow. When I was working on it (over that 3 years) I always got into flow on the writing. It was the fun part! Publishing wasn’t as much fun, but not painful the approach I took. Thanks for continuing the MLSTL. I enjoy looking to see who’s posted in it!

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  2. Well done. Be proud of yourself. My daughter-in-law has just had her first book of short stories published, and it definitely was not a straightforward task. She tells me doing the writing is the easy part, the endless editing, tidying up etc is more difficult. What’s next? #MLSTL

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  3. Pat do not underestimate your ability to sell this book and make money from it! Your voice and experience are needed. The vast majority of retirement books are about financial planning. You are a great writer and have good thing to share! You just need to spend a little time marketing. Ask people to share. I already have and will share again. Get people to write reviews. Keep talking about it!
    I understand your desire to do this as a love project, and it is the same for me. But given the time an energy and money spent, we DESERVE for people to find it and read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michelle, I hear you and will try. I’m not sure how to ask folks to write reviews, but I will try! Thank you for sharing also.

      I sent emails to almost everyone on my contact list “announcing” the book and had quite a few folks give me some ideas on sharing… which I will be actioning. I also contracted to have a press release done. I guess “book promotion” is on my spring bucket list!

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  4. I am so proud of you!! Heading over to Amazon in a sec. I appreciate this advice from a pro because someday, someday, someday I am going to finish this little children’s book! Will pin this post for safe keeping until then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leslie – Check out what Kathy said below as well… Amazon’s process is free. Personally, I liked having someone lead me through it all versus learning my way through it all. Your choice, but good to have options on the table! Thanks for buying the book…. a rush of Amazon orders – whoo-hooo.

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  5. Hi Pat. Congratulations! There is something absolutely WONDERFUL when holding that first book in your hands. It is a great accomplishment and you should feel proud. Lots of people think they have a book in them but only a small percentage of us ever do what it takes to get it done. I’m am a bit surprised that you didn’t go through Amazon and just do all the publishing yourself–I’ve done that and yes you get a Print book And an Ebook and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing (except time.) I took the whole process on like learning another language and managed to get it done four times now. Next time? Meanwhile, enjoy your accomplishment. ~Kathy

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    1. Kathy, Good to know and I definitely will check that out next time – if there is a next time. This felt more comfortable with someone leading me through every step and providing the experts along the way to help – editors, cover design, etc. ” Learning another language” felt too scary and I might not have gotten to the point of having it in hand. But that’s me! Good for you for learning the process!!

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  6. Congratulations, Pat! I hope you recoup your costs and more, but I like your attitude about the money. It takes so much pressure off if you think of it in terms or your passion, not profit. I’m going to buy myself a copy. I know it will be helpful as I continue to transition in my newly retired state.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly, thanks for helping me recoup! It was a friend who pointed out the passion component…she does competitive ballroom dance in her retirement (simply adores it) and pays for lessons, dresses, tournaments. She pointed out things like greens fees and golf clubs for others. Lessons for art or music…not to mention supplies or instruments. Really added perspective to my passion project. 🙂

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  7. Congratulations Pat and I’m sure you feel a sense of achievement. I’ve wanted to write a book and your self publishing experience has certainly enlightened me on a number of points. My problem is actually committing and starting but I admire your dedication in producing your work. I’ll be popping over to Amazon to check it out. I would love to promote it on my blog and/or in my newsletter so perhaps I will put some questions together and you can answer them for me? When you have time of course and if you are keen. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, the writing of it is very different than the publishing. Committing to writing and starting a very different challenge.

      And yes, I’d love to answer some questions for you to promote it! THANK YOU for offering. Send me an email. I’ll make it part of my marketing promotion plan (a spring bucket list item!) And thinks for buying a copy, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sue, OMG – it is so exciting to hear that people actually have my book in hand! Obviously my book style is similar to my blog style…I don’t know how else to be. I guess it’s authentically me anyway. 🙂 Michelle has encouraged me to ask folks to write reviews. So I am asking, but do not feel obligated, will you write a review when you’re ready? And I look forward to getting your questions in email. Have a great week/weekend!

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