Me and Self Publishing?!

Despite the naysayers and the wary warners, at the end of last year, I decided that I was going to publish something this year, even if that meant self-publishing. I'd done my research, but the venture still seemed daunting... [thanks to Starving Author for the word choice!] The hardest part...promotion and marketing. How to get a book out to reviewers? to book websites? to READERS?

[understatement of the year alert] Without readers, my book won't sell.

This issue, even now, makes a publisher ideal. Even the smaller presses have connections it would take me twice as long to make only because I'd have to do the research first. It's hard to write and promo/market at the same time. I've watched authors do this and I've seen them get dragged down by the process.

Really, we all just want to write.

For eight years, I've been writing. Now, I have several manuscripts. Yes, I'll keep writing, but I don't mind the thought of slowing down in order to put my work out there.

What did I do first?

I picked a manuscript and hired an editor. Why this manuscript?

Because it was different than most of my other work, a contemporary romance when I'd been writing romantic suspense for years. It had been through my crit group and a few beta readers already. I was happy with this story and had gotten some decent, positive feedback already.

Why hire an editor?

Because the biggest complaint about self published work is crappy writing, typos, misused words, overused words, incorrect grammar/punctuation... Overall, stuff that should be easily found by an editor or critique group. I picked someone I knew of, but wasn't friends with. I checked her reviews and feedback. I sent her a five page sample so I could see her work. All my dealings with her at this point had been professional, business-like. Her price wasn't the cheapest, but I found it to be reasonable and within my budget. That's when I hired Rhonda Helms. I don't mind putting a shout out to Rhonda. She did a great job on line edits... on my next manuscript, I'll put her through her paces for content edits.

What next? [besides revisions]

Where to publish. This might seem inane, but there are several means of self-publishing out there--not to mention digital vs hard copy. There's direct, going straight to the book seller, like Barnes and Noble [Pub it] or Amazon [Kindle]. Or through third party distributors, like Smashwords. Smashwords will take your [formatted]ms and distribute it to a number of book sellers, including BN and Amazon. Tempting as that is, you have to be sure you're willing to hold out on the money end. Word is that there is some delay in seeing your proceeds. I imagine this would be true for most third party distributors.


I decided a good while ago that digital was the only answer anymore. With all the technology out there, people want digital--unless they don't, and in those cases, I find they are living with their heads in the sand. All that aside, I love to hold a book, too! But I like my ereader for practical reasons... Now, there is my grandmother, and I might concede a POD [print on demand] publishing strategy [like Createspace or Lulu] so I can get a book in her hands. But that, I still have to look into. :) I also think that if formatting is my job anyway, I might as well publish directly through the big two [BN and A]. And upload to Smashwords for the more obscure sellers. Maybe I'm crazy!! If you've done this before, let me know your thoughts. I'm interested.

Apparently, I've done some thinking in the past several months.
Now that I know what direction I'm taking, next blog post I'll touch on the actual book. After that, perhaps my thoughts on promotion??? Am I boring you yet?! Let me know if you have any questions...

And have a great week!
With Love,

More on Self Publishing

Let's discuss this E business for a me crazy, but I have such a hard time deciding HOW to write this out. Do I go the way of Apple and the iPhone, iPad, iPod?? Making it eBook, ePublishing, eMarket...

Or do we hyphen the darn words? E-books, E-publisher... etc.

Perhaps it's neither and I should just write it like it's a word, epublishing. 

When it comes right down to it, I get confused! hahaha. What can I say? I like to follow the rules and when the rules aren't clear, my world is out of sorts. :D Before I move on to Self Publishing, I have to say there are a few top epublishers that I am willing to sub to. As a matter of fact, I have two submissions out right now. Keep your fingers crossed for me!! :D

Self Publishing: And how I've been convinced it's a worthwhile effort

Example. It's thrilling to hear the success stories. Even knowing the chances of multi-thousand dollar success [notice how I'm too shy to actually use the word million], I have friends who sell a decent amount and are able to supplement an income. Dreams are of stardom, success, fame... 

Goals, sometimes they're merely making a few extra dollars every month so you can go out to dinner as a family. Ya know? 

So that's about the money... making your hobby pay. 

As the industry has changed, so has our method of finding and discovering books. The internet opened all the doors. I'm serious! You just have to Google a word, put a comma, and add fiction to it...and voila! A list of books and the links to buy them. Amazon, BN, and a number of smaller booksellers are leaving the market open to its customers. Which is why [or one of the reasons why] self publishing is having so much success. It's one of the reasons I've [gone to the dark side] and started preparing one of my manuscripts for publication. I'm lucky because I belong to a crit group. So my work not only has to satisfy ME, but it goes through at least one round of edits with my crit partners. I have the luxury of those crit partners or friends and aquaintances reading through it again.... and then I hire an editor who will hopefully catch even more mistakes. Finally, I'll have one hoorah with another beta reader [or two]. 

The concern with self publishing is about flooding the market with a less than quality product. Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can "write" a book and [try to]sell it. And I've read some pretty, pretty, pretty crappy books... it's a given. I can say, with confidence that the crap coming from the SP shelf is crappier than the crap off the NYP shelf. The bottom line, that they both have crap. Only you're going to pay alot more for the NYP crap. Recently, I bought a self pubbed book for 99cents. My first surprise was the length... 900 pages. 900!! I'm sorry, but if you need 900 pages to finish a romance story, you probably need two books [or even three]. And it was promotioned as romance, but I found as I read that it wasn't really. It was more inspirational/women's literature... with way too many peculiarities. 

....whoa!! I have to stop myself. It's easy to get on that train and go off on a tangent. My point is 99cents is worth the lesson in how NOT to write a story! 99cents does not kill my budget. And I learn how to be more selective in my choices. I learn what to look for...cover art, blurbs, sample chapters, webpages-does the author have one? do they have other books out? is the page professional looking? 

OH!, do they thank their family or do they thank their wonderful, competent editor who helped them get to where they are?  haha. 

Like with epublishing, self publication and the digital era, on the whole, allows us to publish our smaller works. Gone are the days when an author had to write a number of short stories before being published. People love getting short stories! We live in a busy world, saturated with instant gratification. There's nothing more satisfying than reading an entire story in one sitting...on your ereader, while you wait for your oil to be changed.

I'm going to stop there... probably could have stopped sooner, so many words! How unlike me. :D 
Next post on self publishing, I'll go through the steps I've taken to become self published. 
Have a great weekend!!
With Love,