THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: TIME & MONEY MATTERS
One thing that always sticks in my mind around this time of year is getting everything together for taxes, and making sure you have all your royalty reports and the like. I know that with the way KDP and other sites work, you can't actually get those final figures until past January, but it's still something that sits in the back of my mind and I worry about getting everything together. A lot of the time, it can feel like you're rushing around last minute and then you finally check everything and download it all, and send it off in the new year and it's like a massive relief to have it done.
The other thing that always sticks in my mind around this time of year is the lack of time when it comes to everything that needs to be done. Not just those royalty reports I mentioned, but tying up the loose ends, getting ready for any sales you might run through the holidays and afterwards and making sure that all your graphics and posts and the like are ready to go on the day. Part of being an indie author is wearing a lot of different hats, which I've talked about before (found here) and it doesn't ever really get easier, you just get more used to doing it.
Like at the time of writing, I am finishing off my November by getting everything in place ready for December and beyond. I've worked out a system that works for me, where I do my writing for the month, and then settle down in those last few days and do vlog scripts and blog posts and all the graphics and such needed for the upcoming month. It's worked for me for a long while, but yet as I approach the holidays and the end of the year, I do find myself getting increasingly anxious that I've missed something. I worry that something has slipped my notice and won't be picked up until the day of, or after, that it's due. It might seem silly to anyone else, but to be it's very real.
So I've devised a system of checks, a way to make sure that when I'm sitting down to end the month off, since I usually take a couple of days off between the end of one month and the start of another, I'll go through it all and make sure I can put a solid check mark by it. If I'm not sure, then I won't mark it off and will go back through to make sure I have everything.
This can be anything from making sure the newsletter is done and ready to go out on the first, to making sure my ads are all queued up and have been approved, to making sure that my vlog scripts are ready, that the blog is filled with posts that will carry me through the next month and into the one following since I always write all for the upcoming month, and one for the month following that, just in case chaos happens and I need to save time somewhere. I make sure that my planner is penned in, that the ipad calendar is also reading the same. I double check that I have all the graphics needed for Instagram for the upcoming month, that the past months have been done completely and that I'm ready for when the calendar turns over to the first. I make sure that I know what's going to happen in my chapters for the month, if not all of them, then at least the first few. I make sure that my alarms are all set and that I've given myself enough time to get everything done. I also make sure that, going back to the start of this piece, I've downloaded the latest month's royalty reports, because I know that come January 1st, I'm going to need to be able to switch over to the new year and I need as many of them as I can get.
It sounds like a lot, and it is, and sometimes I'll do these things over the month as a whole so that it's not all a massive rush to get it done at the end of the month, and I'm not having to rush through things and possibly make mistakes. I track my time, have done for a couple of years now, so I know how long things will take. I know how long it'll take me to write those blog posts and vlog scripts. I know how long to leave for things like making graphics. I know all of this and I still worry, because the indie author life is all about wearing those different hats and making sure that you have what you need when it comes to the tax man, or even just trying to justify the cost of what you're doing to yourself and possibly your family.
So my advice? If you're someone who can plan things out, do it in stages, don't leave it to the last day of the month before you do it all. If you're someone who doesn't have that skill, or it doesn't work for you, then at the least, make a list, check it twice, and make sure you have everything in place because you will save yourself a whole lot of headache and stress if you do that. When it comes to the indie author life, time and money are a massive factor in how things get done. If you have the funds to pay for an assistant, go for it, I wish I could, but it's not in the cards for me. And overall, remember to breathe, remember to take time off, remember to have moments to yourself, and if you are in the run up to a celebratory time, remember to take that time to enjoy it. Good luck!
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!
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