Day in a Life of an Indie Author

busy_womanIn the countdown to publication of Bloody Lessons, my days are filled with the work of getting the final draft formatted, proofed, and ready to upload for both print and ebook. At the same time I am also working on lining up various promotional activities, including writing more frequently for my blog. Yesterday, as I thought about the various tasks I had to do, it occurred to me that some of you who aren’t self-published authors might find it interesting to get a glimpse into what a the day in the life of an indie author is like. You will notice that no writing (except for this blog) went on, but I did put in an 8 hour day. (And it is days like this that make it clear to me that I didn’t retire, I just launched a new career.)

5 A.M.: Woke up early and started thinking about my to-do list, which I knew was fairly formidable.

6 A.M.: Edited and published the weekly post I do for the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative (HFAC) that lists what free promotions, discounts and new publications there are among the members. I am the chair of the HFAC Board of Directors and one of my primary responsibilities is coordinating our weekly post by members and putting together and publishing this weekly promotional post.

6:30 A.M.: Spent the next hour reading and responding to email (most of it from HFAC members).

7:30 A.M.: Breakfast–read some blog posts I subscribe to (I always look forward to the Business Rusch on Thursdays––and the post today was the difference between having a writing career and being a one-book writer, which seemed very timely given the day I have before me. There was also a long thread going on David Gaughran’s blog about comparing Smashwords and Draft2 Digital that I had commented on the day before, so I was getting all the rest of the comments in my email.

8:00 A.M.: Shower

8:30 A.M.: Spent the next hour compiling a PDF copy of Bloody Lessons (I finished editing the book yesterday) using Scrivner. This meant tweaking margins, getting rid of places where a chapter ended with just a few words at the top of a page. It took me 5 different test runs to get it right. Final book is 323 words for a 6 x 9 trade paperback. This is my shortest book, but it still tops 110,000 words.

10:00 A.M.: Wrote to my cover designer the total page number for the print version and attached back cover copy so she can produce the cover for upload on CreateSpace. If she gets it to me tomorrow I will upload and order a proof copy.

10:15 A.M: Consulted by phone with a writer in England over what his next step should be in his marketing (he just finished a 3 day KDP Select free promotion of his thriller Cry of the Needle.)

10:30 A.M.: filled out a questionnaire to submit to Great Escape Virtual Book Tours for a book tour for Bloody Lessons in October

11:30-1:30 Lunch and meeting with friends (only part of the day not working)

1:30 P.M.: Worked on this post and updated my website because Uneasy Spirits has just gone up on Kobo, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble stores (I used Draft2Digital this time, which was why I was interested in the thread about comparing to Smashwords.)

2:00 P.M.: Read email and more blog posts, and read the New York Times

3:00-4:30 P.M.: Saw that Maids of Misfortune had 499 reviews on Amazon and decided to go on my facebook author page and offer an Amazon gift card to the person who wrote review 500. Also assembled a list of potential reviewers for Bloody Lessons and sent out 5 email requests. (Got a winner almost immediately for the FB challenge and already received one yes from the 5 book reviewers I queried.)

4:30 P.M.: Finished up reading blog posts and worked a little more on this post

5:00-6:30 P.M. Dinner and British cop show on TV

6:30-6:45 P.M.: New email to read–HFAC has members from all over the world, so the email traffic goes on all day. I sent the winner of the 500th review a gift card and did some retweets.

9:00 P.M.: Checked my sales numbers and worked a little more on this blog post.

9:30 P.M. headed up to bed.

So, as you can see, this was a busy day. I am not complaining. While I prefer the months when a large proportion of my day is spent actually writing, without the kind of work I did today, the stories wouldn’t get out to the public, and I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of knowing how much people enjoy reading about Victorian San Francisco and Annie Fuller and Nate Dawson and the whole crew of people in the O’Farrell Street boarding house.

COUNTDOWN TO BLOODY LESSONS LAUNCH: 16 days

You can pre-order print and Kindle editions here.

5 thoughts on “Day in a Life of an Indie Author

  1. I have just self-published my first book, In the Wake of the Coup, on Amazon and I can’t believe the amount of time necessary to keep on top of all the promotional things that need done. Launch is next week which is rather frightening. Meantime I’m in the final chapters of another book and desperate to push on with it. Difficult when most of your day is spent on other things. But perhaps I’ll develop a routine to enable me to cope. Good luck with your launch.

  2. It’s really easy to get stuck day after day doing marketing-related things. I need to force myself to some kind of “new book” writing schedule, otherwise I’ll end up doing nothing but marketing and working on blogs.

  3. Hi Louisa, when I saw this post it was lt was like looking into a mirror! I as well am getting my book ready for publication, Writing was definitely the best part for me, many months of learning the self pub biz, forums, reading, building a platform and working on a 2nd book as left me feeling like lonely Howard Hughes sometimes, lol. Wishing you great success with your book and I look forward to previewing it!

  4. This was like looking in a mirror for me too! Like Jason, I really need to get a new schedule for writing and marketing. Publication time takes over everything, but the rest of the year it’s still hard to balance writing and marketing – not to mention all those other jobs we have to do. I still work part time as a freelance indexer, which is sporadic but when I get an indexing job in it can really take over. Anyway, well done on your super-productive day. Can’t wait to read Bloody Lessons x

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