The Perks of Being . . . Self-Published
For years I dreamed of publishing. I would write and write and write and then I would think about writing queries and trying to find an agent and trying to find a publisher. Preferably a publisher who publishes the type of stuff I write and accepts unsolicited manuscripts. I would write queries and then I think about all that time waiting for somebody to decide to give my submission a read, and I'd shove it back in the drawer, completely overwhelmed. One day I lamented this situation to my good friend, Jenny, and she told me about her cousin who was just getting ready to publish another book. She had mentioned him before so I asked if she would put me in touch with him so I could pick his brain.
I reached out, he responded and we went back and forth on messenger. He agreed to read the book that I wanted to put out, intoxic. After giving it a read he told me I had something that was solid and publishable and why didn't I just self-publish. I had always thought of self-publishing as what you did if you couldn't get published traditionally. I did a little research and found out that the industry has changed from those days and now the trend is to self-publish. Even if you go with a traditional publisher it seems that unless you are a Ken Follett or a Diana Gabaldon the perks are less than they used to be. From speaking with a friend in the editing field she told me that she has authors from traditional publishing houses who still seek her out to edit their work because they feel the editing in house is less than enough. I spoke with an author over the weekend who went with a small press and has discovered that they do next to nothing to promote her work beyond providing her with a small stack of bookmarks and the file to print more. Beyond that, she doesn't own the rights to her work anymore, the publisher does, so where I am preparing to release intoxic in audio within the next few weeks she doesn't have the rights to do the same. She is at the mercy of her small press understanding the industry and promoting her work in whatever form they see fit. I even read some accounts of bestselling authors who opted out of traditional publishing contracts to do it on their own. I read some books on the subject and decided, why not?
I put it out and guess what? The responses have been great. The only down side is that I am my marketer. All of the self-promotion makes me cringe sometimes, but overall it has been a great accomplishment and experience. I don't know that my book has to go to number one anywhere for me to feel like a success. Seeing the reviews on Amazon telling me that readers hope I write more is quite incredible. I am writing more, and my second book, the continuation of Alison's journey will be out before 2016 closes (I hope). There are many perks to being self-published, the most important one is that I am in control of my publishing, I am in control of when my work goes to press.
If you are sitting on the fence about how to publish, do a little research. The resources are out there. There are several companies that will help you without charging you to do it. I used Createspace.com for my print, and although there is a learning curve on the royalties and how they are calculated and paid, it has been a walk through process and I have been very pleased with my end product. I used KDP - Kindle Direct Publishing for my digital, and it couldn't be any easier. I am using the ACX Audio Creation Exchange for my Audio, and I am super thrilled about that. I put out requests for auditions and listened to the submissions I received, chose the voice the suited my character and requested her. We worked out a contract and she is diligently bringing intoxic to life for all the listening world. I am thrilled. It has been an amazing seven weeks. I can't wait to see what comes with my second book, Purgus.
Feel free to ask me questions, I'll answer if I know and if I don't I may know where you could go to get the answers you need. Don't be daunted. Don't be overwhelmed. Write, love the writing and if you want to share it, share it.