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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Life Is Not a Hallmark Movie

I have a love/hate reaction to Hallmark movies. I love watching stories with happy endings. However, what annoys me about these movies is the fact they’re pretty much the same plot only with different names and occupations.

Reviewing their current Christmas offerings, it seems they have a love affair with those who are bakers, restaurateurs, lawyers who are advocates for families, and those greedy corporate lawyers who finally see the truth. For good measure, they throw in the occasional rancher, tree farmer, and B&B owners or those who run boutique style hotels in cold climates. For the most part, the characters portrayed are self-employed individuals who are not getting a weekly paycheck. However, in the movies, they are rarely shown working or show concern about meeting a budget and making the payroll. It’s an easy-peasy job they can take off from anytime to do shopping or get to know their new love interest.

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t work that way. When you run your own business, you’re going to be putting in long hours and sacrificing time with family and friends to get your business on a strong foothold. Having been self-employed most of my life, I can attest this is the reality. This is also true in the publishing world.

For the last 12 years, I’ve written short stories and articles which have provided small paychecks while I worked my full-time job. However, during that time I’ve also written novels and kids’ books that have not been picked-up by publishers. So this year I decided to indie-publish my first stand-alone book. I did it all on my own, from formatting, to cover design, to book blurbs, and marketing. As a result, I now have great admiration for those who have spent years in indie-publishing. It is a full-time job and then some.

When you start your own business (like writing and publishing books), you need money to get the word out to promote your books. Unless you’re backed by a major publishing house, you pay for any books you give away or order in advance to sell. Running giveaways on book service sites involves paying them additional fees up to a few hundred dollars. Even if you only sell eBooks on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or other sites, they’re also getting a sizable chunk of your revenue. And if you give away eBooks, you are also charged a fee from these publishing services.

My reason for writing this post is to let newbie authors understand that publishing is a business and a commitment. The writing only 40% of the equation. Like professional athletes and musicians, it will take hours of daily practice, mentoring, and working with a team of others. If it’s something you love to do, if you work at it, you’ll be a success because you’re doing something you enjoy — even if you don’t become famous or wealthy from it.

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