Updated: Mar 28
Quote of the Month
"I asked questions of everyone, every day. I read, cooked, tasted, and also wrote about food, all in an effort to deepen my understanding. I visited farms and farmers' markets and learned my way around their wares.
Gradually the chefs gave me more responsibility, from frying tiny, gleaming anchovies for the first course to folding perfect little ravioli for the second to butchering beef for the third. These thrills sustained me as I made innumerable mistakes -- some small, such as being sent to retrieve cilantro and returning with parsley because I couldn't tell the difference, and some large like the time I burned the rich beef sauce for a dinner we hosted for the First Lady...
I picked up a legal pad and started writing. That was seventeen years ago. At twenty years old, I'd been cooking for only a year. I quickly realized I still had a lot to learn about both food and writing before I could begin to instruct anyone else."
- Samin Nosrat, Chef and Author of Salt Fat Acid Heat
2022 - Year in Review
What. A. Year. Long Overdue went through a "summer before high school" type of growth spurt where we left school 5'2'' and returned 6'5''. Such an incredible ride with our team and our authors, plus extremely talented editors, illustrators, and readers. Enjoy the highlight reel here.
Let's Keep Going - Big Goals for 2023
Last year, I wrote a "here's what's ahead" newsletter titled "Learning to Dream Again."
I don't know what I had for breakfast that day (probably Christmas cookies), but I need more of it. That version of me had audacious goals for 2022. Like New Year's Resolutions on steroids.
For this newsletter, I'll recap how we did in 2022, share some of what we learned, and hopefully tap into that dream-big-Christmas-cookie-spirit to one-up -- or at least add to -- last year's goals.
Alright, let's dive in!
So, how'd we do?
Here were the goals for 2022:
Publish a new book every month
Help 50 people start and/or finish writing their book
Record 1,000 hours of Noteworthy* stories
Open a physical storefront (or a bookstore on wheels). Host events/pop-up shops in the meantime
Published/completed 7 books (an "every other month" pace)
We worked with 20 people who either started, continued, or published their book
Missed the 1,000 hours of Noteworthy stories by a lot. BUT we did help a group of family and friends compile stories about a friend who had passed away. This became a 40-page book
Bookstore dream is still alive and well. We held a book release event in May for Safe Landing. Two virtual events last fall. And a pop-up shop event coming Feb. 26 of 2023
*Noteworthy is the part of Long Overdue focused on biography, autobiography, memoir, family stories, and the experience of telling these stories solo or with friends/family.
What's that saying, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars?" Something like that?
When I go through those results - 7 books, not 12. Worked with 20 people, not 50. One Noteworthy* book, not 1,000 hours. And we certainly didn't break ground on a physical bookstore. That's a whole lot of 40 - 50% scores. I'm no math major, but...
I feel like we aimed for a sub-4-minute mile and ran a sub-6-minute one instead. That's still a great result. I'm torn because the goals might've been too high, BUT -- because they were so high -- we landed higher than I imagined back in 2019, or even 2021. Long Overdue looks a lot different today than it did a year ago. I consider that a major victory!
What are the goals for 2023?
Ended up pretty similar to last year, with a few bold additions. Added a few short explanations below.
Average 1 published book per month
Go from working with 20 first-time authors to 50
Send Noteworthy off to college
Host 5 pop-up events. Start to look at pricing and locations for a physical store
Create a program to help people launch their own publishing house
Hit 2,000 copies sold of Safe Landing
Sell 10,000 total books across all of our titles
Grow our YouTube channel. Host 3 webinars + our new show "Covered"
Publish our first "Traditionally Published" work of non-fiction AND work of fiction
Collaborate with a filmmaker/film school student to make Long Overdue's first pilot episode
Send Noteworthy off to college
For me, the biggest surprise over the last four years is how much Long Overdue Books has grown compared to Noteworthy. I thought it'd be the other way around.
But I think it's my fault. I've dedicated 90% of my attention (and 90% of these newsletters) to Long Overdue Books and only 10% to Noteworthy. This didn't allow Noteworthy to grow or take its own shape. It was always: ... and if you want to write a book about a loved one, recording their stories for future generations, we can help with that too. Noteworthy, come on down!
So, I'm officially separating the two. Not a split, but a college sendoff. Noteworthy's going off on its own for four years to chart its own course, pick a major, pull a few all-nighters. We'll check-in for summer and winter breaks, see how things are going.
Long Overdue Now Offering a Traditional Published Path
Stay tuned for the April newsletter for more info on this exciting development!
A Long Overdue... TV show??
Yep. Full disclosure, I don't have a plan. At least not yet. But I felt like I needed to out-dream my 2021 self.
And why not? We have books. Couple of scripts. A great author community. Let's find a talented director and put a 15 to 20-minute episode together. Netflix, here we come!
Three Paths of Publishing: Self-Publishing (Part 1)
Every author and every book has its own journey. Sometimes, that journey won't involve Long Overdue as the publisher. Or the designer. Or the editor.
Case and point, Scott Habegger. I met with Scott over a year ago and shared everything I knew about self-publishing vs. traditional vs. hybrid. Answered every question and provided different resources/websites to check out. Things like Reedsy, Vellum, Mission Point Press, Diggypod, and IngramSpark.
Couple of months ago, I was excited to receive an email from Scott about his new self-published book The Marketing Detective.
We spoke with several first-time authors in 2022. Many who will go the self-published route. One mom/soon-to-be children's book author used Long Overdue for feedback and editing but found an illustrator and will likely use Amazon.. Another mom is working with an illustrator and keeping us posted on her progress. Last week I got an email from a married couple who is working on their children's book concept.
Instead of creating one path for all authors, we think it's important to provide tailored help for each scenario. What I've learned is there are many subpaths and side quests out there; and the publishing world is definitely daunting and confusing, but there really are just three paths when publishing a book. The three are self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional.
Like my Zoom call with Scott, I'll try to (quickly) share a few thoughts and resources on each path for the next few months. Today let's look at self-publishing.
Self-publishing can be as simple as converting a Word Document into a PDF, uploading a cover designed in Canva or Powerpoint, and uploading that all onto Amazon. Total cost: $100 (or less)
But you worked hard on your book and want to ensure the formatting looks professional. DIY tools like Vellum, Atticus, and Adobe are there to help. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, 99 Designs can also connect you with freelancers and artists. Editing-wise, the website/app Grammarly helps with sentence-level editing going beyond a basic spell check. Then a site like Wattpad or your own blog/website gives you a platform to share chapters of your book and build an audience. Add these tools together, your cost is more in the $500 - $1,000 range.
But let's say you want to find a professional editor with a good deal of experience. I recommend two sites (besides Long Overdue). The first is LinkedIn. For starters, follow content posted by our editing webinar guests Adina Edelman, Jeanette Smith, and Emily Price Soli. Not only are they great to work with, but they'll also share/like/comment on other awesome editors. Before you know it, you'll know the names of 10 professional editors you can reach out to about your book.
The other site is Reedsy. This site is very strict about its editing and design talent. This is great news for authors because you can ensure you're working with top editors and designers, many have worked or still work with the Big 5 publishing houses.
Depending on your book's length and scope of work, professional editing might run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000+. Professional book formatting and cover design another $3,000 - $5,000+.
When it comes time to print, you can do everything on Amazon (easiest route). If you want better interactions with bookstores, you'll want to use IngramSpark. If you're looking for super high-quality printing, there's Diggypod, Blurb, BookBaby, and Lulu. For children's board books, there's Pint Size Productions, and Print Ninja does a good job, too (Print Ninja does other genres as well).
Good news with self-publishing: You're in control.
Bad news with self-publishing: You're in control...
Going through all of those choices above by yourself is dizzying. Oh, and you have to think about copyright and buying the ISBN number (think barcode on the back of the book) and all these small details about page layout, typos, bleed vs. no bleed, matte vs. glossy, paper stock. Yikes. And that's not even mentioning marketing/promoting your book. That's a lot to take on. Especially the first time.
But there's an even bigger challenge
What I've noticed from my own writing experience and now as the publisher of 10+ books via Long Overdue, it's really freaking hard to sell 100 copies of a book. To reach 500 copies -- that's a huge success, even though it might not feel like it compared to, say, Harry Potter.
The revenue numbers aren't pretty for most self-published authors. Let's say 500 copies x $20 a sale, that's not only hard to make a living, it's hard just to recoup the costs you put into the book. I wish I had more optimistic news to share here, but the numbers -- unfortunately -- don't add up.
Unless you start your own publishing house. If you team up with other authors -- be it the same genre or could be as simple as "we're all in Michigan" -- this creates a bigger audience pool. If you have your own website and handle orders instead of Amazon, now you can start building a contact list. Start publishing 5 books a year instead of 1 every 2 or 3 years. Maybe you also offer editing, ghostwriting, content creation, social media help for businesses.
Now it's a more viable path to creating a full-time gig, a healthy side hustle, or generating some vacation money in retirement.
We accidentally helped a few authors build their own publishing houses in 2022. Accidentally meaning I never imagined that as part of the Long Overdue road map. But I think it actually makes a lot of sense, and would love to build more of these in 2023.
Tune in next month for Part 2 of the "Three Paths of Publishing" series where we'll focus on how to launch your own publishing house.
"Second you get done with that newsletter,
what do you say we launch our own walk around the block?"
- Crash, Team Dog
Keeping up with Long Overdue
Best place to keep up with all things Long Overdue (including our authors' events like the one above!) is a tie between our monthly newsletter and our Instagram page (shoutout to Annie Cerovich!). If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who might enjoy it as well, let us know, we'll make sure to add them to our subscriber list. We also got back on Facebook recently, you can follow us here.
And check out our website - Long Overdue Books. Long Overdue Books is a community for creating books. It's a place for authors (and soon-to-be-authors), readers, editors, artists, and designers to come together and move their stories from ideas to finished books.
Excited to share new stories with you this year. I think 2023 will be another memorable year. Also, if you have any questions, ideas, stories to tell, you can reach Cal the Librarian at - email@example.com