Self Publishing – Where Are We Now? …by Susan Lute

Chapter OneRecently, NYT bestselling author, Courtney Milan came to Rose City Romance Writers to give a workshop on The Inns and Outs of Self-Publishing. Three hours chuck full of… Should you self-publish?, the basics of self-publishing, and expanding your reach. Courtney has a very practical approach to the business that I find refreshing, and understandable. So here’s what I took away:

In five years I want to pay my mortgage with my writing income. This was one of Courtney’s goals. I liked it.

To quit the day job, in five years I need to make $150K a year from the sale of my novels (figuring half of what you make as a self-employed person goes to paying taxes and running the business). If I understand how to do this correctly $150K divided by 12 mo is $12,500 mo. Divide that by what I earn from one novel, $2.60, equals selling 4,807 books per month, 161 books a day. If I write two books a year, in five years I’ll have 15 novels published. On average, I would need to sell 11 books a day of each novel. Is that doable? Yes!

This may be a little TMI, but I want to be respected as a writer.

I want readers to come away from reading one of my books feeling buoyed up, that good always overcomes evil, that putting out good karma comes back to the giver in a positive way.

That’s where I want to be in five years, but here’s where I am now. I’m getting a handle on the day job so it’s not so intrusive into my writing time. However, I’m not writing, or at least the faucet is not on full force. It’s drizzling. I’m stuck on the depth of the plot of all things. This is not atypical of me since I’m a linear pantser, but there’s a part of me that wishes I could be a little bit of a plotter. Not necessarily every detail, but at least the turning points for all the threads that are running through my current project. I’m a big girl. I’ll pull up my big girl panties and figure it out. In the meantime it turns out there’s a couple of things I need to do first – which I won’t bore you with – so I’m giving myself permission to do just that. The good news is, I’ve run across several new tools I think you’ll be interested in. Check these out:

2,000 To 10,000 How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love by Rachel Aaron. Read it. Found lots of great advice. Highly recommend it.

Successful Self-Publishing (How We Do It, and How You Can Too) Edited by Shoshanna Evers. Haven’t read it yet, but it’s next up on the docket. Full of advice and inspiration from authors who have been self-publishing for awhile now, I can’t wait to dive in.

And a new one I just got this morning: Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. It sounded interesting, so we’ll see.

One last tool I’m checking out, or maybe I’m just distracting myself with (I’ll let you know): Scrivener. bigstock-The-beautiful-girl-at-a-typewr-29772122I’m looking at the tutorial now. Here’s the pitch from the program itself. “Scrivener is aimed at writers of all kinds—novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters, playwrights—who need to structure a long piece of text while referring to research documents. Scrivener is a ring-binder, a scrapbook, a corkboard, an outliner and text editor all rolled into one. It is primarily intended to be a first draft tool”, etc. I’m not sure if it will organize me or take up too much time, be more distracting than I want. Again, we’ll see.

What organizing tool do you like the best?


About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on February 18, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’ve tried a number of tools too. In most cases, the benefits have not outweighed the time I spent on them. I have come up with few on my own that I use diligently. I’ve toyed with the idea of using Scrivener and others because I do like to be organizes. (You’d never know it by looking at my desk right now!)

    Also, Maggie, thanks to you, I finally have a name for my style of writing: linear pantser!


    • Collette, actual “linear pantser” is Susan Lute’s made-up style. I’ve always called myself a pantser, an organic writer, or writing into the mist. I think Susan’s description of “linear pantser” though really hits the nail on the head.


  2. I think you’ll like the Weiland book on outlining your novel. From what I remember about your process when you plan a novel. I tried Scrivener for my last rough draft. I like it. Each scene is in its own document. With a place at the side for notes. A synopsis that goes with it. Each scene is titled. And you can easily track POV, time of day, etc. Gwen Hernandez does an online class through her website on Scrivener that is very comprehensive. She also wrote the Scrivener for Dummies book.



  3. There is a public community for Scrivener Users on Google+. Since it is public you can read the community page before you decide whether or not you want to participate or not.


  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ad goals, I liked how you gave us numbers to be guided by.


  5. I love your idea, Maggie. I’ll definitely check that out.


  6. I’ll check out your tools, Susan. I’ve tried a number of outlining, plotting, GMC tools and none of them have stuck with me. However, the one tool I use and really like is Super Notecard. It’s like an electronic index card pile(s) or rolodex. I keep card decks for character descriptions, locations, world building, cultures, chapter summaries, turning points, etc. I feel them out as I go along (because I’m also a linear pantser). But it makes it easy for me to refer back to them.

    If I’m doing research, it’s easy for me to copy and paste info into one of the card categories and then to find it when I’m stuck for a setting, a scene, or remembering what I thought my character might do three weeks ago. 🙂

    Hang in there, Susan. I know you can do this!


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