Where I spent money writing my first book!

Bro, I get it. Costs add up when you’re writing your first novel.. I’ve been there. Actually, I’m still there. Right now. Will you please buy a copy of my book for the love of all that’s holy?! I kid. I kid. But seriously..

When I decided to pursue my dream of writing a book, I told myself that I would do it ALL myself. I’m a stay at home mom, meaning my husband makes all that paper, so let’s just say that I don’t feel the best spending money on every idea that floats around in my mind. There’s a lot of stuff in my brain, and if I pursued all of my ideas, we’d probably go bankrupt. Just being honest here.

I knew that I wanted to write a nonfiction novel on tips, tricks, and motivation to help women start and sustain successful breastfeeding relationships, but I also knew that I wanted it to be full of beautiful photography at the same time.

Let’s pause here.

This is my FIRST book. I had never written a professional novel in my life. And I wanted to write it all MYSELF.

I wanted there to be photography inside of the book. I am not a photographer by any means. I wanted to design it all MYSELF.

I had never marketed a book before. But hey, I guess I could do that all MYSELF too. All while managing a household containing two under two and two canines with one husband. (You thought I was going to say two husbands, didn’t you?)

Long story short, I’m here to tell you that there are some things worth spending money on depending on your expertise and skill background. I know it SUCKS to spend money, especially when you don’t have a lot of it, and even more especially (can you even say that?) when you are writing your first piece and you don’t even know if it’s good! What if it is terrible, and you spent all that money, and you have nothing to show for it?

Brah, every new endeavor is risky. You just gotta bite the bullet. That’s not very specific though, so I thought I’d provide you a quick and dirty list of things to consider spending money on to make your book look, sound, and feel professional.

1.) Editor

Even if you’re the greatest writer since ‘Nam, you need your work edited. You COULD use family and friends, but I say..hire someone who isn’t afraid to tell you that your book could use some *ahem.. work. Hire someone who has experience in this field. Hire someone who has done this before and truly understands the industry so that he/she can really help make your book be the amazing project you envisioned for yourself.

2.) Graphic Designer/Artist/Illustrator

Please don’t draw your own imagery or copy and paste your own photos if you have no idea what you’re doing. By all means, if you have experience here, go for it! (You’ll save yourself a lot of money.) I personally tried to format my first book on my own by learning an editing program through YouTube videos. Would this have eventually worked if I had all the free time in the world? Maybe. But, I didn’t have time to learn a skill that takes people years to perfect. So, I hired it out. I chose all the pictures in my book; however, I hired someone to correctly format them so that they looked professional, rather than something that looks straight out of Microsoft’s Paint. (If you don’t get that reference, you’re probably too young.)

3.) Project Manager/Mentor

Work with someone or a company that knows how to do this and has been through the book publishing process a time or two. I personally worked with a fantastic publishing company in Minnesota called, The Publishing Pond. The team is amazing, helpful, and experienced, and they helped me turn my idea into a reality. Marketing and selling your book is HARD ENOUGH. You need to have someone teach you the small details and intricacies such as… How do people physically get my book? How do I get my book on Amazon? How many books should I print? How can I make money on this? Etc….

4.) Warehouse

Unless you want a million boxes of books chilling in your apartment/house/tiny house/condo/hostel, consider paying a warehouse to hold and ship your books out for you. For some books, Print On Demand, is ideal because you don’t need to pay for an inventory ahead of time; however, some books don’t work with a Print On Demand option, such as mine..because it is full of pictures.. but I digress. Most warehouses have connections with other warehouses and big names in the book industry, so when orders come in, they take care of the shipping and handling for you. If you have the time to go to the Post office and ship your books yourself, go for it! I, however, barely have time to take showers nowadays, so warehousing my books was the best choice for me. To hold your books, they typically charge you a monthly fee based on how many physical pallets your books take up.

5.) Website/Social Media Manager

If you know how to make a website, you’re good! If you understand social media platforms, you’re good! If not, it may be worth a consideration to hire out for this. In this day and age, everything is online..more specifically..everything is on social media.. even more specifically… INSTAGRAM! At least for now. As we all know, the Internet of things changes quickly, so this blog could be outdated give or take a few months/weeks. For now, Instagram is where it’s at. I currently run all of my social media platforms myself, but you can hire professionals to create your social media posts for you. Some peeps aren't big fans of social media, but it’s going to be very difficult to market and sell your book if you do not have a social media presence. If you don’t have the time or want to do this yourself, hire it out if you can! You definitely need a website. I would argue that you don’t need a ton of bells and whistles on your website when you are first starting out. There are a ton of platforms that are user-friendly for beginners, so if you want, you can most likely build your website yourself. If that sounds completely overwhelming, again, hire it out if you can. I currently have my website through WIX, and I pay for a domain through GoDaddy.com. You don’t want people to hear crickets when they go online looking for more information about you and/or your book.

At the end of the day, DON’T SPEND MONEY where you don’t have to, especially at the beginning when you are a brand-spankin' new author. Everything is an investment, I get that, but there are times and places where spending money is downright foolish, especially because books are not an easy way to make a ton of money..but that’s all for another day and another blog post.

Ask yourself these questions before whipping out your credit card, and be REALISTIC.

**Will this expense help make my book better? Will it create a better product for the consumer?

**Is this expense NECESSARY for people to access my book easily?

**What is my Return on Investment (ROI) for this expense? What money or potential money am I going to get back from this expense?

**Do I really need a Bonsai Tree for my home office?

As always, if you have ANY questions about this topic, feel free to hit me up on my Instagram DM’s (I love being able to say that.) or honestly.. just give me a call.. text me, beep me, if you want to reach me. If you want to page me, it's okay.

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