You might think money is the biggest challenge you’ll face when publishing a book. Some people say marketing is the biggest hurdle you’ll face in publishing; even with a large budget, it can be difficult getting people to notice your book. But I say there is something even harder than having enough money to publish your book and reach your audience.
The greatest challenge you’ll face in publishing is … time.
Time management will make or break you, and the smaller the press the greater the challenge. If you’re the publisher, editor, and marketer of books, you will quickly discover there isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish everything. Something important won’t get done. And if you are also doing the bookkeeping and fulfillment of sales, then there goes even more of your precious time. Plus, if you are also the writer of the books, you’ll be giving up sleep to write.
Sleep. Who needs that?
At Medusa’s Muse, there is one person who does most of the work. She publishes superb books (for example, did you see that the The Radical Housewife won a national book award?). She is an excellent “big picture” editor. And she also writes compelling prose. But she is a lousy bookkeeper and never remembers to keep the website up-to-date. She sporadically markets the press and authors and ignores marketing her own writing. As soon as ordinary life bangs on the door, all her attempts at staying organized collapse. The dog needs food, the trash needs emptying and there’s no milk. We’ve all been there.
Add eating and bathing to the list of things you’ll give up along with sleep.
Or you can accept the reality that time is limited and you’re human. Rather than drive yourself crazy doing all the work yourself, delegate what you can and focus on your strengths. Block out one hour each day to promote your press and/or book. Just one hour. Forget all those complicated strategies for optimizing your web presence; just be consistent. Pick one day for office work and do your best. If you need help, ask. Set aside a little money for your “help” fund. When you have enough cash, hire someone to help you catch up on the work load or invest in a marketing pro.
It’s all about dedication and doing a little bit every day. Time is precious and no one can do it all. Stay committed to your press and books, but be realistic too. If you have kids and/or an outside job (face it, most starving artists do) then you need to make clear choices about what must be done and what can wait. Don’t let the publishing pros and all that talk about passive income make you feel bad. You’re a writer. A publisher. A creator of books. You are an artist. Believe in yourself and the work. Stay focused. Keep the dream alive by doing a little bit every day.
Or give it up for a full night’s sleep. The choice is yours.