Wednesday, 15 July 2020
I ran up the stairs yesterday with a smug feeling: no idea why, but I was feeling pretty happy with myself. My slipper caught the top of the step. I didn't fall, but I was quite literally taken down a peg. Slightly more cautiously, I rounded the entrance to the kitchen. My shoulder caught the wall. Again, I steadied myself and spun slowly around a couple of times... reflective. Positivity; not allowed? Optimism; too bold? Smile and confidence banished.
It occurred to me that those few moments were a good representation of my writing journey. The ups and downs can be confoundingly extreme. On a good day, I hear from people around the world, my book sales are good, I will wake up and have messages from real editors (does that make me a real writer?) and the words pour out of me. Then there are the bad days. I see me as people who don't know me, see me...and oftentimes, that is judgemental. I get it.
Part of the internal debate comes from this gnarly question: as a self-published author, am I a real writer? Way back when I had no idea of what I was doing, I didn't have a choice. I also know that I presumed, incorrectly, that knocking once at a few doors was all that anyone did. Most days, I assume my decision, but love falling on articles like this one, Facts and Figures about Self Publishing: The Impact and Influence of Indie Authors
Whichever way you look at the math, indie authors earn more per sale than those who work exclusively with trade publishers. The average trade-published author earns approximately 7.5% of their’s books cover price, and those with agents lose a further 15% of that. Self-publishing platforms like Amazon, Apple Books, Ingram Spark and Kobo pay up to 70% of each book sold to authors. Those indie authors who sell direct to readers from their own websites take in up to 96% of the value of the book. Of course, publishing costs have to be deducted from this income but there’s no question that over the life of a book, indie authors earn more.
Then, the judgement is so much more tolerable.
Little by little, I am figuring things out. It is quite the journey.
To read my contribution to this world of Indies, click here for your copy of 'But you are in France, Madame' or send me a message email@example.com. A bientôt.
Wednesday, 1 July 2020
Is there a right time for France? Yes.
Is there a perfect time? No.
I'm not talking about a holiday, but the question of how one decides on the timing for that big French trip - family adventure, permanent move, year-long sabbatical...?
The thing is, most of us, given a little encouragement, will choose inertia; what we are familiar or comfortable with. It takes effort, commitment, and a real belief in what you are doing, to resist the urge to stay put.
It also takes clarity about why you are even thinking about going to France. Have you put pen to paper and debated the answers to questions such as:
Why France and not another country?
For how long do you want to go?
Where in France do you think you will be happy - be specific: city, village, seaside, mountains...?
Is it to run away from what is your current normal?
What if you don't like it when you get there?
What if you decide to stay longer than your original plan?
Do you have the finances to cover your time away?
How does work, present and future, fit into the plan to go to France?
How will you find accommodation, schools, doctors, dentists, information..?
How will you cope with being distant from family and friends?
Is learning the language important to you?
Each person's situation is different, but I want to focus specifically on planning your French adventure with children. Timing, then, is a subject of enormous consideration, and often great angst for parents. From talking to families planning their time away, doing our own French adventure and my years of working as Head of School, I would say this: we are very good at protecting our children, shielding them from difficulties, and not fully believing that they are (or can become) resilient and strong when things don't work out for them. More questions:
Is your trip principally for them, for you or for the family?
Is your trip so that your children can become bilingual?
Is it so that your children can see the world from a different perspective?
How will they cope with a change from what is familiar?
Only you know what your children are capable of, but I would guard against making decisions based on what you believe your children do and don't want. They don't yet know and unless you give them an opportunity to spread their wings, they may not know for longer...or ever. My experience is that more people regret not going than going, even when things are difficult for a period of time.
Gathering information and talking with others that have done, or are thinking of doing, their trip to France is useful, although, once again, the questions will never all be answered fully, and the timing will never be perfect for every member of your family. Don't be swayed, or side-tracked, by another family's decision making (including mine 😏).
All good luck to you. My personal perspective is that most things are surmountable, and that the positives do outweigh the negatives. If you need a sounding board, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read about our French experience, 'But you are in France, Madame' can be purchased directly from me (email above) or by clicking on the link.