How Do Writers Survive?

I read an article online, about how a writer says she is ‘sponsored’ by her husband, in that her writing doesn’t make her enough to live on, but her husband’s job pays well enough that it doesn’t matter.

She says in the article that writers need to be more honest about how they actually earn a living, if for no other reason than to make budding writers aware that it won’t be a smooth ride to say the least. She had been to events where the author would talk of all their hard work and effort, which has made them successful, but in reality they came from wealthy families, had high-earning husbands or had a lot of amazing connections that ensured their success.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back, who believed that women writers could only be successful if they had wealthy husbands. I must admit, I resisted the idea, not wanting to believe that the only way I could be a successful author was to find some rich schmuk to marry me.

But in the spirit of being honest – there’s a possibility she may well be right. When I am focused on writing (and editing and publishing) my own books, holding down a normal job that pays the bills is all but impossible for me. Because when I have a normal job, I put 120% of effort into it, and have nothing else left, so being creative is quite difficult. So in the last few years, during the jobless periods of time, I have relied on credit cards. So yes, like many other people in the UK, I have credit card debt. Not because I bought designer goods, the latest gadgets or dined out every night, but because I needed to pay rent and for food and car insurance somehow.

Magically, every month, I have made enough money to pay for my basic bills, and eat and have shelter. A lot of this is down to the generosity of friends, family and my flame. And the rest of it is down to my business, The Amethyst Angel, where I help other Indie authors to publish their work.

My living expenses are not paid for by my royalties. Not even close.

But I don’t believe that I will be in this situation forever. Despite the apparent evidence, and my friend’s belief, I do believe that Indie authors can make a living from their writing, and I do believe that I can succeed without needing a wealthy husband. If anything, these tough financial times have taught me what and who is really important in my life. It’s taught me about what I actually need to live a happy life, and what is completely unnecessary. I have come to be truly grateful for the small things, and have gathered a massive amount of material for future books!

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So I’ve made up my mind. Making a living as a writer is not easy, and many writers may be supported by their loved ones, but I refuse to believe that it is impossible to be a successful writer off your own back, making a good living. Because there are many authors who have done just that.

In the meantime, being honest about how we authors survive can only be a good thing.

I think.

To read the article that inspired this post, click here.

A New Publishing Blog

amethyst angel logo green

A week ago, I started a brand new blog, over on my publishing website – TheAmethystAngel.com. I am undertaking the 30 Day Blogging Challenge on that blog to get it going, and have had a wonderful response to the 7 posts I have put there so far. I am blogging about all the different steps and elements there are to independently publishing your own book. Each blog post will cover an aspect of self-publishing. I have so far covered some tips on self-editing, whether Indie Authors should have publishing imprints, how to send documents to your Kindle and some of my favourite uses for Scapple.

Over time, there will be enough posts on there to assist authors in every step of their Indie Publishing journey. I am writing posts somewhat randomly, choosing topics that come up and that I am inspired by each day. But I am categorising the posts so that it’s easy to find what you need easily.

I am opening the door to questions, so if you are an Indie Author and you want to ask me something, then email it to me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk and I will create a post to answer it, as I’m sure many others are likely to have had similar questions.

 

Need Help with Self-Publishing?

the amethyst angel

For the last couple of years, I have been helping Indie Authors to publish their books. I have had clients in America, Australia, the UK and even the Middle East! In addition to assisting authors with each step of the process, I have created manuals and have held workshops to teach authors the process, so they can do it themselves. Though I have been doing these workshops in person, I have decided to offer them online too. So I am offering Skype sessions, during which I will go through the process in detail, and I will send the materials needed to complete each step. The sessions can be spread out over a few days, or even over a few weeks.

To book your sessions and choose your time slots, simply click here to pay via paypal then you will be taken to my online diary. If you wish to book one session to begin with, then book your next session afterwards, that’s great. If you want to book your sessions in advance, let me know, and I can arrange for a one-off paypal payment, (so you don’t have to pay for the sessions individually)

If you have any questions at all, please do email me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. I can usually go through the process of publishing print books in about 4-5 hours, and then ebooks would be 1-2 hours extra.

 

Would you like to be an Independent Author?

the journey

I never intended to begin a business helping authors to publish, but after publishing several of my own, and seeing authors being ripped off by companies that really didn’t have their best interests at heart, it seemed like the right thing to do. Now, since May last year, I have helped several authors, all featured on my website, to publish their work, in a manner that means they retain the copyright, all rights, and all the royalties.

As an Indie Author, I know how important it is, not only to create a professional, polished product, that is at the same standard as a traditionally published book (if not higher), but also to retain all control over the work. Though I need the help of different professionals to publish (cover designers, proofreaders etc.) it’s important to me that once I have paid for their services, that nothing more is owed. Which is exactly what I offer to authors with my services.

It’s also important to me to be not just a publishing mentor to my clients, but also a supportive friend and cheerleader. Being an Indie is pretty lonely sometimes, and the guidance and support of someone who believes in you and your work is so very valuable. At any one time, I don’t take on more than three clients, so I can ensure I have more than enough time and energy to give to each.

I also do workshops, for the Indie Author who doesn’t want the full publishing package, but needs some guidance on how to complete the process, and which companies to use so that they don’t sign away any rights to any companies.

I offer the workshops in the UK, to groups no larger than 6 (a high level of interaction is important) and I also do short talks (approx. 1 hour) on the publishing journey. So if you have a writer’s group, or you know several people who want to learn how to publish an eBook or a print book, get in touch and we can arrange something.

I have posted my brochure on The Amethyst Angel website, if you are interested, and have further questions, please do get in touch. (And if you need a brochure designing, get in touch with madappledesigns.co.uk!)

eBook Workshop in West Wales

I will be holding a workshop in Lampeter, West Wales, on the 6th May, in which over the course of a day, I will take the participants through the process of publishing an eBook. It’s going to be a mad, jam-packed day, as there is quite a lot to cover!

For the course fee, each aspiring author will receive the day’s tuition, a comprehensive manual, and follow-up e-mail support. There are only 8 places left, so if you live in West Wales and would like to learn how to publish your own eBook, get in touch. You can e-mail me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk or call me on 07910946573.

I will be holding more of these workshops in other areas of Wales and England, so if you are interested in attending one, please get in touch and let me know where you are.

workshop flyer

A Fabulous Weekend!

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This weekend I was in Cirencester, taking part in the Wellness Symposium. The British Dowsing Society had a shop there, and there were a few other stands, including Shelly Sishton and myself. In the morning there were various speakers, and in the afternoon there was a choice of workshops. On Saturday, I listened to a couple of the talks and then attended Adrian Incledon-Webber’s workshop in the afternoon. Then on Sunday, after listening to Shelly Sishton’s talk about essences in the morning, I then held my workshop/talk on how to publish independently. It’s the first time I have done a talk of that length (75 mins) but there was so much to pack into it, I could probably have talked for another couple of hours! It was also my first ever stab at doing a powerpoint presentation, which thanks to Scapple, was not only fun to create, but also fun to present! The attendees asked lots of great questions, and gave me a nice round of applause at the end, so all in all, I think it went quite well!

I had a great time chatting to people, and selling books, and made the interesting discovery that the majority of dowsers there were StarPeople! It was also the first time I had given out my shiny new brochure, which was designed by the awesome madappledesigns, to showcase the new structure of my business, The Amethyst Angel. There will be a PDF version of the brochure on my website very soon, but here’s a sneaky peak!

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On Taking Advice

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I don’t know about you, but as a writer and a creative, I often find it difficult to take advice. Oh, I have no problems in giving advice, I could do that all day. Accepting and actioning advice from others? Hmmm, well, uhh, yeah, maybe.

As an avid advice-giver, I know how frustrating it is, when you offer something advice, or even when they ask you for advice, and then when you give it – they ignore it completely. *cue screaming into a pillow*

First of all, I would like to apologise to anyone who has given me advice in my life which I have ignored, I’m sorry for being stubborn, I’m sorry for thinking I knew best, I’m sorry if it upset you. Of course, I don’t regret a single choice I have ever made in my life, because it has brought me to where I am right now, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. But there is a chance that had I heeded some of the advice along the way, I could have got here without so many obstacles.

Conversely, I have been given advice over the last few years, that I HAVE followed, only to realise later that perhaps the person dispensing said advice did not have the best intentions for me. So, I have decided that there must be some kind of method, some sort of formula for which advice should be followed, and which should be ignored.

The criteria that should be met by someone whose advice I will give serious consideration to, is as follows:

1. They genuinely want me to succeed in whatever the advice is given for (whether it’s my business, relationship etc.)

2. They’re not profiting from the advice they’re giving (this is a tricky one, will address this further below.)

3. They are an expert in that field, and they have tested out their own advice.

4. I would trust them with my life. (or at least with my livelihood and happiness!)

(I believe that advice that comes from a source that does not meet the above criteria, should be treated with caution.)

In the past few years, I have taken advice from people who have not met the above criteria, and it has not been good advice for me. I took relationship advice from someone who I found out later, did not want my relationship to succeed, and though I don’t regret what happened as a result, it made me realise that perhaps I was just a little too trusting, and didn’t listen to my intuition.

The part on profiting from the advice, well, that is tricky. Because someone might be advising me to do a course or buy a product, that will genuinely help me. Yes, they might be making money from the transaction, but it could be exactly what I need to change my life. But there are so many just trying to make money, who aren’t really interested in me or my success, and that’s why I need to look at all four of the points above before deciding.

I run a small Indie Publishing business, called The Amethyst Angel, and I get queries from authors who want me to work with them to independently publish their books. Often they say they just want formatting, or proofreading, as they don’t feel it needs any editing work, they’re happy with it they way it is. The first thing I will do (which I don’t charge for) is to read the manuscript. And I warn them that I will be completely and utterly honest about what I think. I have told some authors that I think they need to completely re-write the book before considering having it edited, and I have told some authors that it needs editing before it can be proofread and formatted. Sometimes, they listen, and we work together and produce awesome books, and also become very good friends, after all, I genuinely want them to succeed. And sometimes, they don’t like my advice, and they go and find someone who will just format it and publish it, as it is, with no further work done on it.

Being an Independent Author means that it’s entirely your choice. It’s their choice to ignore my advice, and that’s fine, after all, my opinion may not be the same as others, and I accept that. But what I want them to know, if that I’m not giving them that advice so I can make money from them. I am giving them that advice so that the standard of Indie books is raised up just a little more. At the end of the day, I am an Indie Author. I am on the author’s side. I would never tell an author that a book needs work when it doesn’t because it would be a waste of my time and their money. And I will not work on a book that isn’t even ready to be edited, because it would end up costing the author too much. I would always advise them to re-write, revise, and find willing beta readers who will help them first.

I apologise for my rant. But I do feel very strongly that this is an important issue. If Indie Authors want to be seen as professionals, if they want to be taken seriously in the publishing world, then it’s time they started producing professional pieces of work. Now, I’m not saying that as an Indie Author, I have it all figured out, because I don’t. In fact, I’m currently re-branding three of my books because my original covers and blurbs aren’t cutting it. I created the covers myself, and though I thought they were good, and others seemed to agree, I realise now that they do not do the books justice. Because whether we like it or not, a large percentage of people do still judge a book by its cover!

I will keep you updated on the new covers, they should be ready to be revealed very soon, and I hope that my advice on taking and ignoring advice was useful to you! Have a wonderful week 🙂

Merry Christmas Eve!

Xmas Stocking

My stocking is out ready, is yours??

Well, it’s certainly been a very interesting year, and I don’t know if I am sad or relieved to see it end. I spent the first five months of the year living out of my suitcase, as I travelled to California, Hong Kong, around the UK, Oregon and then London! By May I was feeling a little worn out, but at the same time, I felt ready to make things happen. It was after attending Unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins, and walking on fire, that I finally decided to go for it, and make a living doing what I enjoyed, not doing something that drained me.

Pretty much the day after making this decision, I got my first project, helping the awesome Adrian Incledon-Webber with publishing his first book – Heal Your Home. More projects soon came along, as my authors began recommending me to others, and word of mouth about my Amethyst Angel Indie Publishing servicesspread.

Then in July, after 6 months apart, my partner, (and Twin Flame) met up again, and decided to get back together. And I’ve been living with him in our little hideaway in the woods ever since, feeling like I am now finally home.

I finished the latest novel in the Earth Angel series, The Other Side,  in September, and released in it November. It was a tough one to write, but I got there in the end. Seeing as I only managed to write one novel this year, I plan to publish two novels and a poetry anthology next year, so along with all the new publishing projects I have been taking on recently, it looks like it will be a very busy year indeed! At the moment I am very pleased to be working with the lovely Lori Lesko, on her book – Copyright – A Novel. Keep an eye out for it!

Also in the pipeline for next year, is to begin creating audio books, re-vamping and republishing The Doorway to PAM, and doing more regular oracle card readings and other videos. Oh, and I have a big birthday in January too… I am both excited and a little wary, but I know it will be an amazing year, no matter what my age is 🙂

But before all of that, I plan to have a wonderfully chilled-out Christmas, and I hope you do too! Thank you for following my blog, and for supporting me by buying and reading my books, it is all very much appreciated.

Love and light,

Michelle.xx

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The Amethyst Angel Christmas Party!

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The downside to working from home is that you don’t get to have a work Christmas Party. Well, normally, anyway. Yesterday, Liz Lockwood, my good friend and editor, came over and we had our very own Amethyst Angel Christmas party. … Continue reading

Final Full-cover Reveal!

Apologies for the lack of posts, I have literally been so busy I have not stopped! I have been mainly working on the final copy of The Other Side and party planning. Post-party (which will have its own blog soon!) I am now back to my publishing projects and getting my books published. I know I keep pushing the release date back, I blame it on Mercury being in retrograde… The release date for The Other Side and for the new editions of The Earth Angel Training Academy and The Earth Angel Awakening is now set as the 13th November 2013.

The final covers are now done, thanks to Jason Mordecai of Dark Horizons Media and Liz Gordon of madapple designs. Without further ado, here they are:

The Earth Angel Training Academy

The Earth Angel Awakening

The Other Side