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The Master Plan

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

I always assumed I would be a writer. I spent most of my childhood, and especially my teenage years, reading. I was that annoying kid who was reading at a college level in sixth grade and told everyone like it made me cool. Despite picking a college based on its Communications program, I quickly switched to English, being unable to resist the temptation to spend two years doing nothing but talking about books. I went on to get a Masters in Writing and Book Publishing with the idea that at least publishing was a career path with actual jobs. A dozen years later, I now understand that unless I was willing to move to New York or San Francisco or Chicago, this was a bad idea. But I graduated straight into the Great Recession, so nothing was going to save me anyway.

Check out this amazing college graduation photo I thought was a good idea. What a nerd.

In some ways, I am a professional writer. After college, I stumbled into marketing in a technical industry. The vision I had while pursuing my education did not involve writing proposals to win the opportunity to design municipal sewer systems, but such is life. I’m good at what I do. It feeds my competitive side, the deep-seated need that all former “gifted kids” have to be the smartest person in the room. I love working with engineers who challenge me but also appreciate that I can see their business from a different angle. My career wound up being just creative enough to keep me from pursuing writing as a hobby.

Plus, if I’m honest, I like the rote work of writing more than the creativity of it. It’s the final product that feeds my soul more than the process. Still, I had that nagging feeling that something was missing. In 2015, I sat down with my husband, J, to brainstorm the idea for a YA paranormal romance series set in Southern Oregon. I started a writing group with a friend’s husband and for almost a year slogged through writing 30,000 words of the first book before I completely ran out of inspiration. I decided that was it—I tried, but I didn’t have what it took to be a creative writer.

Then COVID-19 hit and I was bored. I filled my afternoons and evenings with long walks with my dogs and too much Netflix. One morning I was in the midst of my daily browse of Reddit, when I came across a post from someone who was making big bucks self-publishing. Perhaps the only thing more salient to this blog than my love of writing is my love of money. I spend far more time than is strictly healthy thinking about how to make, save, and invest money. Until that moment, I had only considered writing a hobby. My only plans in 2015 were to throw a few books into the ether and be satisfied. But that Reddit post started my marketing brain firing, and I knew I had found my quarantine project.

I unearthed my book from the depths of Google Docs on June 24, 2020. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that what I had written five years ago was not only not bad, but the story had a clear direction. By August 2, I had added another 40,000 words to the book and had the complete first draft of a manuscript. To say I was thrilled would be a sincere understatement. It felt like such a huge accomplishment. However, having started listening to self-publishing podcasts as soon as I started writing again, I knew that one book wasn't going to cut it. That’s when I decided to undertake this insane project.

This is the plan: I am going to write, edit, design, market, and publish my trilogy with the final book going live to consumers no later than August 1, 2021. There’s something exciting and a little bit romantic about the idea of going from zero books to a finished trilogy in a year. I realize I have already cheated a little bit by having drafted one book already, but this is my project, so I’m going to choose not to feel bad about it. As part of this project, I will use this blog to chronicle my experience. I know that there is already a ton of media out there about self-publishing, but I’m hopeful that there is room in the community for one more voice.

That’s it! That’s the plan. My goal is to blog at least weekly if not more often. I also will be posting on Instagram (@bykelseyparpart). Thank you for reading my self-indulgent drivel this far. I promise that future posts will be less me-centric.

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