Are You Ready for Writing in the Digital Age? by Kathryn Haueisen
June 21, 2016
Note From Rochelle
Happy Summer! Yesterday, we celebrated the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Thanks to the warm days, I’ve been able to write on my porch. I’ve been surprised at how a change of venue has affected my writing. I often recommend that writers get out of their house and out into the world to write. Getting away from our regular environment can free our mind from our regular concerns (Dishes! Dogs! Dinner!). With all that free brain space, we’re able to imagine new worlds—and write about them. My quick tip for you today: get out of the house and write where you feel inspired!
Today’s tip is from my colleague and long-time Write Now! Tips subscriber, Kathryn Haueisen. In it, she chronicles her writing journey—including how she wrote, published and is marketing her brand new novel. After reading the blog, follow the instructions to win a copy of her new novel, Asunder.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Writing in the Digital Age
By Kathryn Haueisen
I sold my first article to the Cleveland Plain Dealer as an assignment for a college journalism class. I wrote it on a typewriter, making a carbon copy for my records. I submitted it by snail mail and learned it was accepted by return mail. They sent me a check, which I drove to the bank to deposit. That was how it was done back in 1968.
Oh my, how times have changed. Somewhere along the way an editor gave me the option of mailing in a manuscript or e-mailing it. Still later I was instructed to get on-line to access an editing program into which I was to insert what I wrote.
My response to all this technology continues to be, I know more than I used to, but a lot less than I need to know. The learning curve keeps growing. I wrote the first book I published in the mid 80’s on an IBM Selectric typewriter, again with carbon paper so I had a copy for myself.
After I mailed the manuscript I was basically done. The publisher did all the formatting, editing, printing, promoting and selling. Not any more.
I recently published my first novel and first non-traditionally published book. I wrote Asunder on a laptop computer. It took over a decade to finish it. It nearly didn’t get published because I couldn’t find an agent and was too intimidated by the thought of having to publish it myself.
I am working with a publisher—a small, new, independent publishing company. Mine is the third book to be published by Blue Ocotillo. Three is a great number. That seems like a good omen. Colleague and friend T. Carlos Anderson of Austin, TX started Blue Ocotillo to help sell his own book, Just a Little Bit More. He learned that books do better when they come from a publishing house, so he started one.
When I asked him how he went about publishing his book via what’s known as Indy Publishing, he offered to publish my book. We split the profits. I pick up the tab for expenses. It has been well worth it. He handled all the technology of printing in the digital age. He also dealt with the legal and financial details such as obtaining an ISBN number and dealing with book sale taxes that must be collected.
It has been quite the journey. I’ve paid multiple people to read and edit the manuscript. Some I paid with a lunch out or a promise of a copy of the finished product. With others I’ve signed very official looking documents and paid out several hundred dollars for professional editors to review the manuscript. They’ve improved content, caught errors, and improved the overall look of the book.
All this was funded in part by money raised through the Kickstarter site my grandsons told me about. Much to my amazement, people were actually willing to contribute their own funds to help defray the cost of all this.
Then there were the series of proofs from the folks who converted the manuscript into a paper book. With each proof we found more things to correct. There was also the challenge and fun of designing a cover. After months of editing proofs Anderson and I got copies of the actual hold-in-our-hands book to review. It went back to the printer for yet more adjustments.
In the digital age, the task of book promotion falls to the author. Knowing I didn’t know enough, I attended a few workshops to learn from those who have traveled this path ahead of me. I quickly discovered I was swimming in the very deep end of the publishing pool. I was going to need something – or someone – to cling to so I wouldn’t drown.
At a writer’s conference I learned about a wonderful woman who isn’t the least bit intimidated by digital publicity. In order to have a chance to actually sell a few of the books after all this work, I’ve added Sandy Lawrence and her partner to my team.
Some aspects of writing require us to go it alone. But, there is plenty of room in the writing world for teammates. In addition to the writing coaches like Rochelle Melander, there are partners in critique groups, colleagues at writing conferences, friends and acquaintances who will read and edit, professional editors and layout design artists, publishing houses, and people who know how, when, and where to promote what we write.
I like the digital writing world a lot better when I travel it with the companionship of a small publisher and an experienced publicist. Thank you Blue Ocotillo and Sandy Lawrence at Perceptive Public Relations. Without the two of you, Asunder would only be a file on my computer.
A Note from Kathy Haueisen: Thank you Rochelle Melander for what you do for authors! Thanks to Rochelle’s coaching, tips, e-magazine, books, and on-line presence about her own writing career, I FINALLY finished and published a book that’s been twelve years in the making. I always feel a little more confident and encouraged after being in touch with the Write-Now Coach.
About the author. Kathryn Haueisen is an author, pastor, and workshop leader. She has published five books and numerous magazine and newsletter articles. Her goal in publishing Asunder is to encourage those struggling to recover from divorce and help those who care about them better understand the divorce recovery process. Visit her online at: www.howwisethen.com. Asunder, with a companion study guide, is available through www.blueocotillo.com or at Amazon.