I’m a nerd, and one of my favorite things to do when I’m faced with a big project or a big goal is to map out a plan and work that plan until I accomplish it. I know, that’s some serious nerd alert there. So when it was finally time to re-record my entire online course, The InDesign Field Guide, I knew I needed a good plan.
A few weeks ago I shared Part 1 of my experience self-publishing with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP — formerly known as Createspace), and I’m back with Part 2 to cover my experience with the platform after the book went live, such as sales reports + tracking data, Amazon rankings, royalties + payouts, and some surprises and hiccups that popped up along the way.
Ok, that title was maybe a litttttttle click baity, but I couldn’t help it. Because it’s true — I’ve been needing to write this blog post, to kick off the new year with a solid blogging game, and yet there’s only one thing I seem to be doing instead: procrastinating. I’m like really, really good at it.
My word in 2018 has been hone. I wanted to hone my business as well as my lifestyle. Refine it, simplify it, get super clear and intentional on what I wanted both to look like. This past year was less about growing my business, and more about stripping out what wasn’t working so I could focus on and improve what was working.
So good news, I self-published a book! I still can’t believe it’s out in the world, making it’s way into mailboxes and hanging out on nightstands and stashed in purses for carline reading. Launch week went amazing, and I’m still amazed that this little book is having such a big impact on readers, and connecting with their stories right where they’re at.
Today, I’m gonna cover all things book design! We’re talking the cover design and the interior layout. All the things. As a designer (and a former book designer), this is the part I’ve been most excited about in this process. So let’s dive into a lil’ behind the scenes of my complete book design process, plus some release date info, a quick Q+A on some common things you guys have been asking me, and what’s coming up next in the self-publishing process.
Long time, no book update! I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on the next few phases of the book writing process. So let’s chat about how I finished my writing process with a writing retreat as my motivation AND reward, how I hired my editor, and what the next few steps look like in the coming months.
I think every business owner's story is an underdog story. Most of us worked for someone else, spent our days dreaming of working for ourselves, and usually through a significant change in their life – either forced or voluntary – they finally take real steps towards that dream being a reality. It’s rarely a smooth road, it’s usually a bumpy, curvy, pothole-laden road that can take a long time to get down. Lots of people have asked me about my own journey, so I thought I’d share it in a fun, timeline-style post – showing you that the big transition from day job to self-employed is not a quick or easy one. It takes time, work, and a whole lot of patience.
People in the online space are sometimes surprised to hear that I’ve only ever been to one creative conference. There’s a million great ones out there, and lots that I would love to attend, but I’ve actually only attended one single conference, and it was a pivotal one – the Society for Creative Founders. SCF taught me the basics of running a thriving creative business and connected me with countless other creative women who were in the same boat as me – learning the ropes of this whole business thing, and looking for some friends to figure it out with.
This year had tons of traveling, tons of momming, and tons of work on keeping this business chugging along. I started new projects that I’ve been putting off, and I cut old strategies that weren’t working anymore. This year was a season of pivoting and simplifying and getting real clear on what I do and don’t want to do in my business.
My last (and first) book update felt like a lifetime ago, but alas, it was just shy of 3 months ago. I had “Book Update #2” on my calendar for this week’s blog post, and thought, well there’s nothing new to say except: I’m still writing it. But then I jotted down some notes and it turned into paragraphs and it appears I have more updates than I realized, so here we are. Funny, that writing thing. It works.
So I’m gonna write a book. There, I said it on the Internet, so it must be true. This post is really different than my usual content, and this entire book writing process seems like it will be really different than my usual projects. And, spoiler: I’m not very far into the process! But I want to blog about the process (because writing a whole BOOK just wasn’t enough writing for me??), for two reasons.
Here’s a common email I get: “Dear Kelsey, I want to start an Etsy shop but I’m afraid of XYZ,” or “I don’t have XYZ in place first,” or “I’ll never stand out in such a saturated market.” These are roadblocks. Hangups, fears, uncertainties that keep you from moving forward with your goal – opening an Etsy shop, and sharing your product with customers who are eager to buy.But good news! These aren’t real, they're myths. They’re fears that have no basis, because they’re flat out not true.
Automation. It’s the buzz word being slung around the Interwebs as of late. It’s that thing everyone is striving for, it seems like, to make their business totally automated and hands-off. But… what if that might not actually be the best thing for our customers? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a convenient app as much as the next gal (or guy! hey fellas.), but I’m afraid if we go so far down the automation rabbit hole, our businesses will end up looking and sounding like robots. Cold, hard, emotionless robots.
Hi my name is Kelsey, and I’m a workaholic. How does that saying go – entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week for themselves, so they can avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else. Couldn’t be more true! I’ve always been a workaholic, whenever it’s work I’m passionate about. So when Paper + Oats got off the ground in 2013, the workaholic in me was in overdrive. The day I became a mother (and a single one, at that) was the day I knew my workaholic schedule was about to change forever.
Wow, I have derailed on the blogging train the last few months. Sorry about that. Honestly, I was running low on content ideas and just wasn’t feelin’ it. At first I felt guilty for not keeping up with it, and then I sat down and wrote this quick year-in-review, quickly got over the guilt, and just decided I’d recommit to the blog in the new year. And that felt much better 😃
I’ll cut to the chase: sharing your story with a bunch of strangers on the internet can be down right scary. A little over a year ago, I had no blog and had just opened my business Instagram account with my teeny tiny following. No one knew my name, much less what I had been through in the two years prior. But I had an inkling to write, and I knew I needed to finally start blogging. Not just for my business, but for my own journaling of sorts – to keep a record of this wild journey of entrepreneurship and motherhood.