Reminder: We moved! Follow our new blog!

We’ve picked up a few more blog subscribers here since announcing that we’ve relocated our self-publishing and writing content to Self-Publishing for the Broke Author. We’ll no longer be posting that content on this blog, which will from now on only be used for updates and content pertaining to Daydreamer Publishing activities. So if you’re looking for writing and self-publishing tips and resources, head to our new blog and subscribe for updates!

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We’re moving! Introducing the Broke Author Blog!

It feels like the time is right for the Broke Author brand to spread its wings and fly off to its own home. The new Self-Publishing for the Broke Author blog is where from now on you’ll find all the self-publishing, writing, and book marketing content I’ve been posting here. If you’re a subscriber here, you’ll want to head over there and subscribe to that blog, since this one will go back to focusing on Daydreamer Publishing news and announcements.

You’ll also want to see what other great content we’ve got planned for the new site… like a new podcast and YouTube channel about common-sense and budget-friendly publishing and book marketing!

Head to Self-Publishing for the Broke Author and be sure to say hi!

Should I self-publish my book?

Should I Self-Publish My Book?

Image by Perfecto_Capucine from Pixabay

As a member of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, I see some version of this question crop up on a regular basis. It’s a hard question to answer, because ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide which path is best for your book, and for your overall writing career. But hopefully, the information and guidelines I’m about to provide can help you with that decision.

But first, a little background so you’ll know where I’m coming from: I self-published my first novel in 2011. It was not the first novel I’d ever written — not by a long shot. It had a number of predecessors, both finished and unfinished. I’d made a few stabs at going the traditional publishing route, only to get rejected. I decided to post this particular novel online to generate feedback, and put it up to read for free on a Blogger blog (this was around 2009). It got great feedback, so I put it on Scribd, where it continued to get good feedback.

By 2011, self-publishing was really taking off thanks mainly to KDP, and the authors I knew who were going that route were having a blast. I fell in love with the indie spirit, and I was also disheartened by the entire trad-pub submission model and how terribly long each step takes along the way from querying to acceptance to publication. So I pulled that novel off of Scribd, gave it another polish, used the Photoshop skills I’d learned from my years as a web and graphic designer to put together an attractive cover, and published it to Amazon via KDP.

Suddenly, I was a published author with a real live book for sale.

And people started buying it. Not a lot, not enough for me to come anywhere near giving up my freelancing business to write full time, but enough to make me feel like a legit author. They also posted glowing reviews, which definitely helped. I finished my next novel and self-published it in 2012, and managed to write and publish a number of shorter works in the following years.

Fast-forward to 2015. I was a little weary of how much work goes into self-publishing, of having to do it all myself, and was wondering if I should go the trad-pub route again just so I’d have help with production and marketing. As fate would have it, the acquisitions editor at a midsize independent publishing house based in South Carolina read my first novel, loved it, and looked me up to see if I’d written a sequel. When she saw that I hadn’t, and realized that my book was self-published, she reached out to feel me out about turning that book into a series.

Before I knew it, a three-book publishing contract had landed in my lap. And I’ll tell you something, if I’m being honest: as proud I was of my self-pubbed books, signing that contract made me feel like I’d truly arrived as an author. I don’t deny that it was thrilling, and it gave me legitimacy in the eyes of people who had until that point viewed my writing as more of a hobby.

But then the clouds I was walking on parted and dropped me back into reality.

It turned out, working with a traditional publisher was just as much work as self-publishing. Their manuscript formatting requirements were so rigorous that in the time it took me to prep my manuscript for submission I could have formatted it for KDP and Createspace. They provided covers that I must say I loved, and professional editing for each book, but to be honest, I turned in such clean manuscripts that I never really felt like their editor did much to improve them, making changes based on their personal preference that in most cases I ended up rejecting (and yes, as the author you’re allowed to reject your editors line edits).

And once each book came out, I not only had to work my own butt off to market them without a lot of help, I was also contractually obligated to do so. Which meant I had to spend a lot of time and energy on “marketing” activities that satisfied my publisher but that weren’t actually effective.

To be clear, this is not a criticism of my publisher. This is all actually pretty standard.

And the most disillusioning part? The royalties were so small, compared to what my self-published books earned. Not to mention dealing with the frustration of not having control over my books, not having the ability to run special promotions or experiment with different price points or trying out different categories to help new readers discover my books and generate sales, all things I’m able to do with my indie books.

By the time I turned in my final book and fulfilled my contract, I was ready to run back to the arms of self-publishing, and I haven’t looked back since.

If you’re on the fence about self-publishing, my story might be enough to sway you. But the fact is that self-publishing isn’t for everybody. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine whether it’s the right path for you.

What are your goals?

What does your dream look like? Does it look like being able to announce you’ve signed with your dream agency, posting photos on Instagram of you signing your first publishing contract, getting a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly? Those are all legitimate things to want, and those are all things you won’t get via self-publishing.

But if your dream is simply to have people read and fall in love with your books and/or to make a living as a full-time author, self-publishing might be the better way to go.

Take time to get really clear on your goals, on what you want your writing career to look like, and then decide which publishing path will best help you achieve those goals.

Do You Want to Run a Business?

One thing many people don’t realize is that when you self-publish, you are effectively running your own publishing company. Doing well at self-publishing requires an entrepreneurial mindset and you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of running an actual business, which includes things like taxes and accounting and developing multiple income streams and deciding on a business structure. None of these things have to be complicated, and there are tools out there that help, but these are things you don’t necessarily have to worry much about if you’re a trad-pubbed author.

Do You Have What You Need to Produce a Quality Book?

Turning your manuscript into an actual book, whether an e-book, a paperback, or both (and let’s not forget audiobooks), can be an expensive undertaking if your plan is to outsource all of the work to professionals.

This is not the only way, of course. In Self-Publishing for the Broke Author I show you plenty of free and low-cost options for producing a professional-quality book, from editing and cover design to paperbacks and hardbacks and even audio books. All of this does require an investment of your time, of course, but the good news is that since I DIY’d my first novel back in 2011, the tools and resources available to indie authors have come such a long way that most are not only incredibly effective but also ridiculously easy to use.

I believe anybody can put together a quality book, one way or another, if they really want to, but it does require spending either money or time that you might not want to spend. If that’s the case, traditional publishing might be more your speed.

Are You a Fast Writer or a Slow Writer?

Traditional publishing moves at a snail’s pace. This makes it a good fit for the sort of writer who needs a year or more to write and polish a book. Indie authors, on the other hand, tend to have more success if they can write and release books at a quick pace. If you tend to write fast and have the ability to write two or more books a year, you might be a great fit for self-publishing.

Do You Dream of Quitting Your Day Job?

For a lot of indie writers, the deciding factor came down to this: revenue.

The hard-to-swallow truth is that the traditional publishing model is designed to make money for the publisher. The Stephen Kings, John Grishams and J.K. Rowlings of the publishing world are few and far between. The truth is that the vast majority of traditionally published authors are nowhere near being able to support themselves by writing full time.

The indie world, on the other hand, is full of authors who are making a full-time living at this. It even has its fair share of rock stars who are making six- and seven-figure incomes.

Now before you get too excited, this doesn’t happen for everyone, and it takes time and hard work to get there. But writers tend to get there faster and more frequently than they do via traditional publishing.

If you’re questioning that claim, let’s do a little math. Publishing on Amazon at a price point anywhere between 2.99 and 9.99, you’ll receive a 70 percent share of every e-book sold (in traditional publishing, after your publisher and agent take their cuts, you’ll get closer to 30 to 40 percent on ebooks, and more like 5 to 10 percent on paperbacks).

Which means that for every ebook you sell priced at $4.99, you’ll keep $3.49. If you manage to sell 10 books a day, that’s $34.93 a day for one book. That might not sound too impressive, but if you can keep selling that many books every day for a year, you’ll make $12,750. Add a second book to your catalogue that sells just as well and you’ll double your income. Add a couple more and you’ll be well on your way to leaving your day job behind — all in the same space of time it typically takes to go from acceptance to launch with a traditional publisher.

The simple fact is that higher royalties mean you need to sell fewer books in order to be successful — that is, if you define success as being able to make a living.

But the truth is that success is subjective, and some people need the validation that comes from landing an agent and publisher in order to feel truly successful. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if that’s true for you, then you might not be satisfied with self-publishing. Or you might want to consider a hybrid path in which you pursue both. Nobody says you have to choose one or the other.

For some people, this is a no-brainer. Those people know what they want and they know which path to publishing is most likely to get them there. But if you’re struggling to decide which path is best for you, I hope these insights help you make an informed decision.

But in the end, the only one who can really answer that question for you is you.


Jean Bauhaus is a hybrid fiction author and the author of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author. She loves to share her knowledge of both writing and self-publishing, but doing so takes time away from her livelihood, so she can’t do it as often as she’d like. If you found this post or this blog helpful, consider buying Jean a coffee to help make it easier to keep this content coming. Or you can make a small, one-time donation in an amount of your choosing by going to https://paypal.me/jmbauhaus. Thank you!Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Become a Better Storyteller

Become a Better Storyteller

Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something on Amazon after clicking the link below I’ll receive a small commission that will help support my work, at no additional cost to you.

Recently, there’s been a lot of debate among Writing Twitter about whether or not writers, particularly indie writers, should invest in professional editing, and how much editing is needed. I address some of that in my book, Self-Publishing for the Broke Author, and I plan to go deeper into that discussion in the future. But the short answer to both of those questions is, it depends.

One way that you can both improve as a writer and reduce your need for professional editing help? Become a better storyteller. While that’s not something you can do overnight, it’s definitely an achievable goal, which you can reach by taking the time and effort to learn the mechanics of good storytelling, what makes stories work, and honing your story instincts by  exposing yourself to well-executed stories until these things become second nature.

Here are just a few ways you can start building your storytelling skills today.

  1. Start reading. A writer who doesn’t read is like a doctor who’s never dissected a cadaver or a mechanic who’s never looked under the hood of a car. Reading is the best way to learn how books are written and how stories work well. Read widely, both in and outside of your preferred genre, as much and as often as you can, and you’ll absorb a good instinct for story by sheer osmosis.

    “But I don’t have time to read,” you say. To which I say, if you’ve got time to read this post, you’ve got time to read a book. Even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes of reading time a day, you’ll be way ahead of the curve. Remember that you’re not in a race or a competition to see how many books you can read in a year. Carry a book with you — you have access to entire libraries on your smart phone — and instead of scrolling social media whenever you’ve got a few minutes with nothing to do, spend that time reading your book. And yes, audio books do count.

  2. Consume stories in other media. You can actually learn a lot about writing and storytelling by watching TV or movies, but only if you actively engage in the stories being told and don’t just turn off your brain and passively watch what’s happening. Don’t just pay attention to the plot, but ask yourself questions like, “Why was that such a great scene,” or, “why didn’t that scene work for me,” or, “what made that such a memorable line?” Pay attention to things like pacing, plotting, dialogue, character development, and season-long story or character arcs, and think about why they do or don’t work.
  3. Learn the structure and mechanics of good storytelling. A lot of young writers feel stifled by things like rules and structure, but these things exist for good reason, and they’ve been developed and honed over millennia — ever since the first time a human decided to sit down and tell their story to another human. This doesn’t mean you need to go back to college or enroll in an expensive online course. A great place to start is How Story Works, a podcast by bestselling novelist and college writing instructor Lani Diane Rich which is basically a free masterclass in storytelling. Each episode is only 10 to 15 minutes long, so this doesn’t even require a huge time commitment, and your writing will definitely be all the better for it.
  4. Or you could read about it. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee is a book I’ve recommended here before, for good reason. Although the focus is on screenwriting, just about everything the book covers about structure, pacing and mechanics also applies to novel writing. This textbook is basically the bible of how story works, and I refer to it again and again to help me write engaging page-turners with well-developed characters.

The more time you spend exposing yourself to well-crafted stories and learning the toolbox that makes them work, the more you’ll hone your instincts for what is or isn’t working in your own stories. This can not only eliminate the need to hire a professional developmental editor to help sort out why your story might not be working, but it can also better equip you for parsing feedback from your beta readers and deciding with more confidence whether or not you disagree.

And if you can only do one of those things? Read! Reading the type of thing you want to write is second only to actual writing practice in helping you develop the skills and knowledge you need in order to write well.


Jean Bauhaus is a hybrid fiction author and the author of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author. She loves to share her knowledge of both writing and self-publishing, but doing so takes time away from her livelihood, so she can’t do it as often as she’d like. If you found this post or this blog helpful, consider buying Jean a coffee to help make it easier to keep this content coming. Or you can make a small, one-time donation in an amount of your choosing by going to https://paypal.me/jmbauhaus. Thank you!Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Self-Publishing for the Broke Author by Jean Marie Bauhaus

Self-Publishing for the Broke Author Workbook Now Available!

The paperback workbook edition of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author is now available! It has all of the same great info on how to self-publish a professional quality book with little to no money that you’ll find in the ebook, plus workbook pages you can fill out to help define your self-publishing and marketing strategy. And when you order the workbook for $14.99, you can also get the Kindle edition added on for free with Kindle Matchbook pricing!

Head here to order your workbook today!

6 Ways to Boost Writing Productivity

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Indie author and self-publishing luminary Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been doing a series on writing with chronic illness, a subject near and dear to my heart. This recent post on productivity has inspired me to step up my daily writing output. One thing I realized while reading her post is that it’s not about how much time you can make for writing each day — it’s about getting the most out of the time you’ve got.

So how can you do that? Well, here are a few tricks that usually work for me. Maybe they’ll work for you, too.

  1. Make an appointment with your writing, and keep it. Even if you only have 15 minutes. Even if all you do in the beginning is sit in your desk and stare at the screen. If you make a commitment to showing up to your writing each and every day, sooner or later your muse will start showing up to meet you there.
  2.  Make a playlist. Until recently, I’ve resisted the idea of making a playlist for my works in progress, partly because it’s hard for me to write to music with lyrics, and partly because I’m kind of terrible at curating music. But then I discovered that Spotify makes it easy by suggesting similar songs and artists — all you have to do is come up with the first song to get started. And I also realized that creating the perfect soundtrack for my story is not the point. The point is to set the mood that will trigger your brain to think about that particular story. And then, even if you can’t actually listen to the list while you write because it’s too distracting, go ahead and make time to listen to it while actively thinking about your story. I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to mine while I eat breakfast and drink my morning coffee, so I’m ready and rarin’ to go by the time I sit down at my desk to write.
  3. Develop a ritual. I make a cup of tea, and then sit and drink it about halfway before I set it down and start writing. Some people light candles or use aromatherapy. Listening to your playlist might also be part of your ritual. The point is to come up with something you can do to signal to your brain that it’s time to get into that space where the words flow.
  4. Listen to something that will help you focus. If your playlist is too distracting, try classical music, or white noise, or binaural beats. If you like electronica, I’ve got a writing playlist you might enjoy. Sometimes, simply wearing headphones to muffle the noises around me can considerably boost my ability to concentrate.
  5. Set a timer. You might try the pomodoro method, in which you set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break before starting again. Feel free to experiment until you find your sweet spot. For me, the magically productive amount of time is 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute break until the next writing session. But however long you’re able to sit down and write, setting a timer will help you stay focused on your writing for that amount of time.
  6. Give yourself permission to suck. Your job during this time is to get the words down. Let go of any notion that they have to be good. Making them good is what revising and editing are for. Embrace Anne Lamott’s advice to write a sh***y first draft and set your muse free to fly.

By employing these tricks, I can usually start writing almost immediately when I sit down at my desk, and I can accomplish about 2,000 words in two 45-minute sessions. But even if you can only carve out 15 or 20 minutes a day for your writing, you’d be amazed at how much you can get done in that amount of time, especially if you practice consistently. You’ll also be amazed at how quickly it adds up.

Do you have any tricks to hack your brain and increase your writing output? Leave a comment and tell us what works for you.


Jean Bauhaus is a hybrid fiction author and the author of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author. She loves to share her knowledge of both writing and self-publishing, but doing so takes time away from her livelihood, so she can’t do it as often as she’d like. If you found this post or this blog helpful, consider buying Jean a coffee to help make it easier to keep this content coming. Or you can make a small, one-time donation in an amount of your choosing by going to https://paypal.me/jmbauhaus. Thank you!Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

When you think of what it means to be a successful writer,  you might think of things like selling your book for a huge advance, or making the NYT Bestseller list, or winning prestigious awards. Or maybe making a six-figure (or higher) income from your writing.

I haven’t accomplished any of those things. But here’s what I have achieved:

I have three traditionally published novels and a number of independently published books. I have a very large portfolio of articles I’ve been paid to write, and a smaller portfolio of books I’ve been paid to edit or critique.

That might not sound like a big success, but it all depends on how you define success.

I don’t have a huge following. I don’t sell a ton of books. I’m not hugely popular on social media. I’m not an “influencer” by any means. Attaining the “swipe up” feature on my Instagram stories is not even on my radar. Heck, my books don’t even earn four figures, let alone enough to let me quit my freelancing day job.

But here is how I define success:

I’m a working writer. I get to write fiction every day. I make a living with my writing, and occasionally get to use my skills to help other writers get better at what they do.

I have the freedom and flexibility to put my family and my health ahead of my work, and I’m able to make time every day to do something that brings me joy. I’m living a full and creative life in which I do what I love and love what I do.

That’s how I define success. And going by that definition, I’m an extremely successful writer.

How do you define success? Might it be time to rethink your definition? Are you letting other people define success for you?

Just something to think about.


Jean Bauhaus is a hybrid fiction author and the author of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author. She loves to share her knowledge of both writing and self-publishing, but doing so takes time away from her livelihood, so she can’t do it as often as she’d like. If you found this post or this blog helpful, consider buying Jean a coffee to help make it easier to keep this content coming. Or you can make a small, one-time donation in an amount of your choosing by going to https://paypal.me/jmbauhaus. Thank you!Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Self-Publishing for the Broke Author by Jean Marie Bauhaus

It’s Broke Author Launch Day!

It’s finally here! Self-Publishing for the Broke Author: How to Edit Your Manuscript, Format Your Book and Create a Killer Cover on Little to No Money is out in the world, and you can read it as quickly as it takes to download it to your favorite e-reader.

If you prefer your non-fiction in physical book form, sit tight — the paperback version, complete with workbook pages, is coming soon!

Click here to order your copy of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author!

Self-Publishing for the Broke Author by Jean Marie Bauhaus

Preorder Self-Publishing for the Broke Author!

Self-Publishing for the Broke Author by Jean Marie BauhausIt’s almost here! Self-Publishing for the Broke Author is set to release on February 11th — but you can order your copy today!

Producing a publishing-quality book can be expensive. Editing, formatting and cover design can all add up to quite the hefty chunk of change.

But does it have to?

Indie author Jean Bauhaus shares the methods she used to produce no fewer than six self-published books without spending a dime–including the novel that got her noticed and landed her a three-book publishing contract. This is a comprehensive guide for bootstrapping do-it-yourselfers and for the would-be indie who thinks she needs a big platform and a successful Kickstarter campaign before she can get started.

And she doesn’t stop there. Jean goes beyond the basics of e-book and paperback production to walk you through the publishing and distribution process and educate you about your options so you can develop the best publishing strategy to serve your long-term career goals. She also explores your options for publicizing your book and helps you determine where to focus your marketing efforts at this stage of your author career.

If you think you can’t afford to get started with self-publishing, this book is a must-read. It will give you all the tools you need to launch your first book and set your publishing career on course to reach the stratosphere.

Click here to pre-order!

Do You Have a Business Plan for 2019?

Happy new year, fellow writers!

As you sort out your goals, resolutions, intentions and/or theme words for 2019, it’s likely you’re also thinking about what you want to accomplish in your writing and publishing career this year. Whether you’re just starting out and trying to write your first book or you’re a seasoned pro with several publications under your belt, whether you’re traditionally published, self-published or some combination of both, it’s necessary to have some kind of plan in place to help keep your career on track.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with goal setting and business planning. If you’re a goal-oriented person, this probably doesn’t apply to you, but setting goals usually tends to make me feel overwhelmed and anxious, and I have a hard time sticking to a rigid plan that feels like it’s set in stone.

A few weeks ago, I listened to an old episode of The Creative Penn podcast featuring Johanna Rothman that really helped me with this. Like it or not, one thing that’s true in 2019 is that writers no longer have the luxury of simply being writers. Regardless of the path we take to publication, it’s necessary to treat our writing like a business if we ever hope to derive an income from it.

This particular podcast interview laid out a method of creating a yearly plan for your writing business that really clicked for me. I think what clicked was the notion of aligning your goals with your values and identifying the mission you want your writing to accomplish, and coming up with strategies, rather than SMART goals, that will help you stay on mission. For some reason, thinking in terms of strategy rather than concrete goals made it a lot easier for me to come up with a plan that I’m happy to follow.

Inspired by this interview, I put together a set of worksheets to help outline and create my own business plan, and I want to share them with you. If you want to deep dive into this method, I encourage you to click through and listen to the podcast (or read the interview transcript at the same link). In the meantime, click here to get your free set of Business Plan for Writers worksheets!

I’d love to hear from you! What’s your approach to planning and goal setting? Do you have any big writing or publishing goals or plans for 2019? Have you downloaded the worksheets, and did you find them helpful? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!


Jean Bauhaus is a hybrid fiction author and the author of Self-Publishing for the Broke Author. She loves to share her knowledge of both writing and self-publishing, but doing so takes time away from her livelihood, so she can’t do it as often as she’d like. If you found this post or this blog helpful, consider buying Jean a coffee to help make it easier to keep this content coming. Or you can make a small, one-time donation in an amount of your choosing by going to https://paypal.me/jmbauhaus. Thank you!Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com