Ever bite off more than you could chew? I did that recently. I made the mistake of re-reading my own book, “The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published,” which I had indie-published on Amazon and Kindle, as well as on LightningSource, five years ago. While reading, I was stunned to realize that while I was out there marketing the book, publishing gremlins had been sneaking into it and making it sound dated! Dated! Imagine that! How the heck did that happen?
Well, it happened because during that five years the Publishing industry had been rushing ahead and making changes, hundreds of changes, big and small. For example, there was no IngramSpark under the LightningSource umbrella when I published my book, so I had no mention of it. At the time, a self-publishing author could get an ISBN number for $10 from Amazon’s CreateSpace. Today you can’t. It’s $99. “No wonder I’ve been reluctant to market my book the last couple of years,” I said to myself. “There are now mistakes in it and I’m embarrassed. Obviously, they were put there by those publishing gremlins!”
I made the decision right then and there to “update” my book, tweak the cover, and market it all over again. Then I upped the challenge to myself: “No, I’ll come out with a Second Edition with new chapters, which of course means I’ll have to get another ISBN and a new cover, front and back — but then I can really go to town marketing it in all the ways I neglected to market it before! I’ll be a changed author/promoter.”
I took a second pass through the book and put a sticky note wherever I caught something that was dated or needed fixing (see photo above). I set forth with great determination to track down every change in the publishing industry over the last five years and document each one.
Trying to keep up. . .
Within weeks my apartment had every surface stacked with books, notebooks, and printouts. To catch up with “the latest” I was watching YouTube videos, listening to webinars, writing new chapters, and driving around town to panels and workshops. I began to feel overwhelmed and sick at my stomach when I looked at the months of work ahead of me, not to mention my new, about-to-be-created re-publishing expenses.
And for what? I finally asked myself that all-important question: Why was I doing this? It was stupid. Why compete with all the hundreds of new books, Kindles, newsletters, webinars and videos about “the publishing industry” when I already had a unique niche audience (therapists who want to write) that I should be focusing on in a more laser-like fashion. I’d been making that mistake authors are warned about of trying to sell to everybody. “Stick with the shrinks, Sylvia,” I said and felt better already.
Knowing when to hold and when to fold
So I walked back my plan for an update or a snazzy Second Edition and decided to Keep It Simple. I went through the book a third time just to tidy it up enough so I’m not embarrassed by statements of facts that are no longer facts. They’ve changed. I deleted some things, corrected some things, switched the first two chapters around, but it’s basically the same book, same cover, same number of pages, minus the errors (or most of them I hope). I’m about to upload it to CreateSpace as a “correction,” not a reinvention!
Getting good ideas is great, but knowing when to quit helps you sleep at night.
(c) Sylvia Cary, The Therapist Writer