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Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Only Way to Get Rid of the I Can'ts In Your Writing Way

I accomplished a huge goal this week. I published another author's book, and so I started a new publishing company, Editor-911 Books!

I will tell you that during this process I started to say,

"I CAN'T!"

many times. Okay, I did say it a few times, but the best advice I have for you--when your brain is shouting at you, "You can't do this! What were you thinking?" and then your mouth says it out loud, "I can't"--is your heart knows you can. Listen to your heart.

This adventure started when Fred Olds (an octogenarian who was in a critique group with me for children's writers around 2006-2010 in Champagin, IL) approached me after I returned home from 20Books to 50K, a conference for indie writers. He asked if I thought I could help him publish some of his stories for kids, and we could do a 50/50 split on royalties. My brain shouted, "You can't do this. You don't know anything about this, and you haven't even published your own books yet!"

But as I talked to him some more, I found out that his wife was in a long-term care facility, and he visited her every day. I read some of his stories, which are delightful, and my heart said, "You can do this!"

When I started to design his cover after taking a book cover course that taught me to use Photoshop, I thought: You can't do this. You have no idea what you are doing. But then I looked at the other covers on Amazon for children's books, and I knew I could. There was no reason that I couldn't. My first love has always been children's books, and so I did it. My heart knew I could.

When I wanted to make a print book--man, there's a learning curve!--I said, "I can't," too many times. But then I would listen to the indie podcasts or read some blog posts, and I knew it was just doing one step at a time. I could do it. I wanted to make a print book since this was a kid's book, and I want to sell it on more than just Amazon. I want kids to hold Fred's book in their hands and listen to their parents or older siblings read to them my very favorite story in it, "The Hobbling Hermit."

There's this grumpy old man, the hermit, and he finds a mouse, whom he wants to squash. But the mouse is clever and tells the old man that he is magical and has one wish left to grant him. Through their adventure of trying to figure out a wish that this clever mouse can grant, they become friends. It's got a great ending, and I love that little mouse (note the front and back cover below!).

"I can't" was replaced with "I love" each time, and now Fred's book is on sale. It's already sold 50 copies--including one ebook in Italy! How fun! No idea who bought that, but I love the opportunity indie publishing gives authors these days. There's that word LOVE again.

So next time you feel yourself saying, "I can't," look at what's in your heart, and let your heart win! Keep going, step by step. You can accomplish what you set out to do.

Margo L. Dill can now add publisher to her bio with the start of Editor-911 Books. She would love for you to check out Fred's book, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vol. 1, here  (in print or ecopy) or Anna and the Baking Championship, which is a free historical fiction ebook (will be a print book soon!) that you can get by clicking here. 


  1. Wow! (I know, this is an acronym for Women on Writing, but not here) What a terrific newsletter! Take 'I can't' out of your vocabulary right now! You have great talent! I saw Cinda & Brenda's names somewhere in all the Email-Face Book posts. I thought their stories were wonderful but I guess they have too many other time-consuming obligations to keep at it.
    Best Regards, Fred

  2. Fred! I think Cinda might join you in the Editor 911 Books group. We have been talking. :)

  3. Margo: This is AWESOME! Congratulations!! To both you and Fred. :) It's just what I needed to hear today. I've been super frustrated with tech problems lately and keep thinking, I can't, so thank you. Replacements words/thoughts is a powerful strategy.

    Hey, I just noticed you have a romance category! That's fantastic. I had no idea you wrote romance. That's smart since it is the most popular book genre. :)

    I'm so proud of you, Margo! We need to chat about doing this for WOW. You did a great job. :)

    Fred's book sounds fantastic. I loved Aesop's Fables as a kid. It's already selling well I see!

  4. THanks, Ang--well that YA book I wrote and got the rights back to is actually romance. I am currently working on fixing it up to make sure it hits the tropes romance readers like and making it a clean romance, too. SO fun! :)

  5. True! I guess I think of YA as YA, but of course, there are genres and subgenres. I'm glad you're having fun with it! :)

  6. Margo--You write. You edit. Now you publish? What can you NOT do? ;)

  7. Ha, Sioux. Thanks! :)

  8. Congratulations Margo for the publication of your author and your new publishing company. "Yes You Can!"

  9. Margo,
    Yay! So glad to see your positive mindset moving you and other writers forward! We definitely need to see more of this. Thank you!

  10. Thank you, Jeanine and Sue!

  11. So thrilled for you, Margo!I think a "can do" attitude goes a long way in getting ANYTHING done! Best of luck to you and to Fred!

  12. Congratulations! This sounds like such a fun book for kids. I understand what you mean about saying "I can't" to yourself all throughout the process. I've done that many times over the past several months. But, like you say, we can! Everything we need to learn how to do something is out there somewhere. We just have to find it. Good luck in your new venture!


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