August 15

Self-Care for Authors While Writing and Launching a Self-Published Book

    In our last article, we walked through the five phases of going from writing to self-publishing to wearing your new “Author” title with pride.

    No matter what phase you’re in during the book publishing process, there’s bound to be hiccups, unexpected changes, and things you simply can’t control.

    How do you handle it all? How do you truly stay sane while bringing a book to life?

    Let’s start with some basic tips to help maintain your self-care and sanity during this process, then we’ll talk about some specific issues that may come up during each phase.

    Self-Care for Upcoming Authors

    Talk to Those Closest to You: Your day-to-day life is about to change drastically as you work through the publishing process. From start to finish, you’ll be working on this for at least a year, so your friends, family, and loved ones will be affected.

    Let them know how important this project is for you, that each phase of the process will be different, and sometimes, you’ll simply need to get your butt in the chair and work.

    While a year may seem like a long time, the book will live on forever, and you feel like it’s a very important time investment.

    Expect Resistance: Even with all the excitement and compassion in the world, there will be some people in your life who are NOT supportive. They don’t WANT you to spend hours writing each day, or re-reading your book during the editing, or preparing for a launch, or spending hours a day for five days online during launch week.

    They may not understand why writing and launching a book takes so much effort or why it is so important to you. Instead of trying to convince them, find the supporters amongst your nearest and dearest and ask them if it’s OK if you lean on them a bit when you get stressed – even if it’s only to talk or get out of the house for a walk.

    Focus on spending your (brief) free time with those who are willing to support your goals.

    Schedule it ALL: If you haven’t run for the hills yet, then you’ve made it to the best part – you won’t be spending EVERY waking minute on your book!

    Those without a plan are planning to fail, so before you even begin writing (or you begin the next phase you're coming up on), PLAN PLAN PLAN.

    Yes, there will be things that unexpectedly interrupt your plan, but you’ll be building in a buffer for that too.

    Looking at your calendar, you’ll be blocking off time for the following items, in this order:

    • Sleep
    • Meals
    • Writing / Editing / Launch Prep
      • Focusing on the to-dos of whatever phase you’re in.
    • Physical activity
      • At least 3 times a week, but more if possible, even if it’s only a 30-minute walk. Also, you can make it a social opportunity by going to a class or moving outdoors with friends.
    • Work
      • If you run a business or are employed, make sure you have your work time allocated too.
    • Other commitments
      • family, friends, social obligations … etc.
    • White space
      • Time where you have NOTHING planned and you can do something just for YOU. Aim for at least 1 solid hour of white space each day and DON’T use it as an excuse to catch up on writing, chores … etc. This is YOU time.

    There are no hard and fast rules for how much time to block out for each chunk, and it may be different on some days. For example, I workout Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which means I have more time to write and be social on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Some people need more sleep than others (less than 8 hours and I’m a zombie unless I drink green tea all day), or social commitments, or vacation plans … etc.

    At first, it may seem overwhelming, but remember – you have supporters who would probably be willing to run an errand or two, or take kids to sports practice … etc. Lean on those around you – once your book is launched, you’ll have more than enough time to pay them back in-kind.

    Issues During Phase 1: Writing

    During phase one, you’ll most likely run into the Imposter Syndrome: the feeling that if you release your book, everyone will realize you’re a fraud and have no right to be talking about the topic in your book.

    Fear, self-doubt, and overall uncertainty are COMPLETELY natural. Every writer that has lived or ever will live faces this. I do, you do, Shakespeare did, Steven Pressfield does … the list goes on.

    Remember your WHO – who you will be helping when you release this book? Many of us often write a book that we wish existed during an earlier part of our lives, with information that would have saved us a lot of pain and struggle. Keep writing. Someone needs your book.

    This is also why basics like sleep, meals, and physical activity are in your schedule already. It’s easy to toss those things aside when you get busy, but that is when you’ll need them the most. Take care of yourself. Self-care is a vital part of the creative process.

    Issues During Phase 2: Editing

    During phase two, you’ll most likely run into a (massive) lack of self-confidence.

    As your three editors work through the editing process, and you have time to work through revisions, you may start to question everything you wrote, everything you know about the topic you’re writing about, and if you’re even worthy of being called an author.

    News Flash: you wrote the manuscript. You ARE an author. Now, we’re working through the steps to make your book the MOST helpful for your future readers.

    That’s all. Take your ego out of the equation (as much as possible) by adding extra white space into your day, if possible. If you enjoy being physically active, put in extra time for that. Take a class you’ve always wanted to take. Schedule an outdoor weekend with your family. Take time away from the words to let them have their power back.

    Issues During Phase 3: Design + Launch Prep

    During phase three, you’ll most likely run into crippling indecision.

    Now, your focus is less on the words and more on the visual power of your cover, interior formatting, and social media presence.

    What will your launch date be?

    What will the final book title be?

    How do you choose your book cover?

    What social media platforms do you promote on?

    Who do you ask to be part of your launch team?

    What will the freebie offer be for your e-book?

    These are just a small list of some of the MANY questions you’ll have to answer during this phase. For most of the questions, there is no right or wrong answer.

    You have to choose what you think is best – and that means being very in-touch and aware of yourself, your preferences, and your reader’s preferences. You won’t be able to do that if you’re barely eating, barely sleeping, sitting most of the day, and never taking time to sit and truly RELAX (self-care, fellow author, self-care).

    Issues During Phase 4: Launching

    During phase four, you’ll most likely run into two issues: shyness and/or obsession.

    Shyness can come from being nervous about sharing your book with the world. That’s TOTALLY natural, just like the fear and self-doubt from the writing phase.

    This is the time you’ve been working for nearly a year. Embrace it. Share your creation with the world.

    I encourage you to be absolutely shameless about talking about your book during launch week – this is YOUR time to let your hard work shine.

    Issues During Phase 5: Post-Launch

    During phase five, you’ll most likely run into the black hole of inaction.

    The launch is over, your book is for sale, and you’re officially an author.

    Now what?

    For many self-published authors, it means doing nothing, which is the WORST thing you can do.

    While the five-day launch week is very important, now that you’re an author, your book one of the most affordable ways for people to get to know you, your story, and your message in-depth.

    Add a signature to your emails (both in your regular inbox and to your newsletter list) that links to your book’s page on your website.

    Continue researching and reaching out to media outlets for coverage, especially local ones.

    Begin organizing local workshops based on the topic of your book.

    … and most importantly, KEEP WRITING! Whether you share your writing via your newsletter, your blog, on social media, it doesn’t matter. Keep writing. Keep writing about the topic of your book and other topics associated with it. Keep getting your voice out there, and make sure there’s a mention of your book everywhere you go (including in your social media profiles … etc.)

    Becoming a published author is not for the faint of heart, and I GUARANTEE there will be times during the process when you think you can’t do it.

    But you can. You’re already started. Nothing is set in stone, so adjust your schedule as you see fit. Keep writing. Keep sleeping. Keep eating. Keep moving. Keep growing.

    The only way out is through.

    Bio: Victoria Klein is a two-time published author and the VP of Productions for Paper Raven Books. Formerly PRB’s Book Project Manager, Victoria has helped numerous authors through the self-publishing process from start to finish. Through her monthly posts, she’ll reveal the biggest concerns and mistakes of self-publishing authors, and how to solve them.


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