Three weeks back, I launched off a new series for Self Publishing Advisor with the singular goal of answering one simple question:

What’s your goal for 2016?

This question, of course, lay the groundwork for a whole host of further sub-questions that rapidly morphed into a series of tasks I think every author probably keeps in mind as a new year rolls around–and indeed, these tasks make for an excellent New Year’s Resolution list if ever I saw one.  Even though a small part of me cringes at the thought of yet another to-do list, I can’t help but recognize that the recoil is somewhat a consequence of semantics: I may not have had much success giving up sweets or processed foods or otherwise accomplishing resolutions of years past, but I fully acknowledge the fact that structured and manageable goals are important and sometimes even necessary things to move a book from ideation to final publication.  If we divorce the word “resolve” from its holiday baggage, I think there’s no denying its powerful potential for instigating personal transformation.  Just think of its original–and simple–definition:

resolve

With a firmness of purpose firmly instilled in our hearts and minds, we have already examined the first eleven of the fourteen total resolutions I propose (click on the links to view the respective blog posts):

  1. Set goals.
  2. Facilitate goals.
  3. Make writing a priority, and
  4. Read, read, read.
  5. Master at least the basics of social media.
  6. Research deeply.
  7. Connect with other authors.
  8. Embrace a good critique.
  9. Learn to love rewrites.
  10. Try something new, and
  11. Stop comparing your achievements with others.

This week, I’m going to close out the series with three more:

  1. Writing consultation.
  2. Learn about self-publishing, and
  3. Embrace your style!

Now we come down to the brass tacks.

What is a writing consultation, and how can it help me?  Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  Is the dreaded “Writer’s Block” a regular or even constant companion of yours?  There are untold untapped resources out there to help jump-start or fine-tune your writing and get your book back on track, such as the writing consultation service from Outskirts Press (my employer).  A number of other indie, hybrid, and self-publishing companies offer similar services, and there are all kinds of free websites dedicated to the same thing–and the only downside to these free services is the fact that they can be hard to navigate.  When you have thousands upon thousands of web pages to filter through for relevant bits of information, where do you get started?  Herein lies the benefit of an actual, honest-to-goodness sit-down session with a live human being and professional: a consultation session gives you time with a skilled writer who is also an industry expert in order to address any writing issues you are experiencing.  You should also emerge with a great deal of valuable advice and a plan of action for moving forward.  A live consultation is the great rut-breaker!

consultation

And what’s this about learning about self-publishing?  Simply put, the more you know about the self-publishing industry–and the options available to you, the author–the easier it is to find your way forward.  Don’t be afraid of the Great Unknown!  You can’t afford to not know what you’re getting into, and if you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the self-publishing community through web forums or even the experts that your prospective self-publishing platform keeps on hand for just such a moment.  They’re there to help!  And while I can’t speak for all experienced indie authors, the ones I have had the pleasure to meet and work with are unfailingly kind and generous with their time, advice, and feedback.  So: do your research and learn what you’re getting into.  Odds are it’s not nearly as scary a process as you may imagine.

Finally, embrace your style!  As a writer, you may do things a little differently from the next writer at the imaginary conference table, but that’s what makes you so special–and it is also what sets you apart and what will help you sell books later on.  Never give up.  Never surrender to self-doubt!  Your style and your choices as an author are valid.  Not only are they valid, but they’re your greatest strengths and your greatest selling points.

writing style

Don’t shrink from your quirks and “what makes you weird,” as one of my old writing instructors used to say.  Own them!  Play them up!  If you’re doing things your own way and you feel like you’re writing the book you want to write, then I guarantee you that you’re writing a superior book.

Always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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