An Expat’s Guide to Living in Cusco: In Conversation with Amy Rigby
We had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Rigby all about her book An Expat’s Guide to Living in Cusco. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
We are incredibly interested in your book! What is it about?
Yes, I wrote An Expat’s Guide to Living in Cusco in March 2015. It’s a mix of memoir and travel guide, detailing stories from my time living in Cusco, Peru, and offering practical tips for anyone wanting to stay there long-term.
What gave you the courage/motivation to start?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, and for the past five or so years I’ve been telling friends and family I would write a book one day. After living in Cusco and struggling to find resources catered to travelers who stay for a long period, I felt like I finally had something of value to offer to people, information that wasn’t yet readily available.
Ultimately, what motivated me to start, and to finish, was that I didn’t want to become one of those people who always talks about writing a book, but never ends up doing it.
Did you encounter any problems such as writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was finding the discipline needed to complete my manuscript. In fact, my publication date was delayed a few times because I just couldn’t seem to finish the book. After starting and stopping so many times, I decided to formally announce to my travel blog’s readers that I would be publishing a book, and I told them an approximate date. Seeing excited comments from my readers was encouraging. That really lit a fire in me because I had a whole community expecting it, so I knew I had to deliver.
How did you go about finding a publisher/getting the book self-published?
I self-published An Expat’s Guide to Living in Cusco on Amazon’s Kindle store. Prior to doing this, I had almost no knowledge of how the process worked, which at times was paralyzing. I did a lot of research online, and found free resources detailing how to publish an eBook on Amazon.
Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
What surprised me most was just how much work goes into writing a book–beyond just writing it! You have to get feedback from beta readers, format the manuscript, write a book summary, hire an editor, make revisions, design a book cover, promote the book, and so much more. I now have such respect for self-published authors, who often do it alone.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book, or starting to write one?
If you want to write a book, give yourself a deadline and, if possible, publicly announce it. Nothing will motivate you more than an impending deadline and the possibility of letting expectant readers down. Break the process down into manageable parts. Writing a 200-page book seems impossible. But writing two to three pages every day for the next three months is doable. Also, I recommend hiring an editor. Because I was self-publishing and was doing almost everything on my own, I was very tempted to try to edit the book on my own too.
I really didn’t want to have any unnecessary costs. I am so glad I hired an editor; she found things I hadn’t noticed. And when the going gets tough and you feel like giving up, let me tell you: There is nothing so satisfying as seeing something that you poured your heart into for months finally be made available for people to buy. And hearing from readers who enjoyed your book? It makes all that work worth it.
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