It’s spring! What better time to jump into the fray of self-publishing. It’s a time to blossom, so I’m going for it.
Yes, I’ve decided to self-publish my book, A Cry From The Deep, a romantic mystery. I resisted at first, because it’s a hell of a lot of work and money. Also, I know there are so many books out there, at last count, over two million on Amazon alone. Yikes! You have to be half crazy to think your book is going to stand out in that pool. But then again, as my husband says, cream rises to the top. I’ve got my fingers crossed, that my story will resonate with readers.
To be honest, I wanted to go down the traditional road—be validated in that way, get that agent and book publisher behind me, cheering me on—but though I’ve had interest, it’s not to be, and maybe that’s a good thing. I can pick my own cover (daunting, as I could pick the wrong one), and any books I sell, well, the little money that the majority of authors make these days, at least more of it will find its way to my pocket.
As for not having the traditional cheerleaders behind me, there’s no guarantee they’d be there anyway in today’s publishing world. Traditionally published authors now have to work almost as hard as self-published authors in getting the word out. They can no longer rely on their agents and book publishers for that kind of support.
What bothered me most about self-publishing was the fact that the market is flooded with books that haven’t been edited properly. A lot of vanity published manuscripts. As an avid reader myself, and married to someone who also reads a great deal, we are both aware of how many badly written books there are for sale. How is the reader to know what’s worth buying? At least, with traditional books, you know the story has been vetted. What I’m hoping for is word of mouth, still the best way to get your book noticed.
So, having respect for the written word, I’ve taken a number of steps to ensure my book debuts in the best shape possible. And while I’ve been doing that, I’ve been consulting books like Martin Crosbie’s How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle , Anne R. Allen and Catherine Ryan Hyde’s How To Be A Writer In The E-Age, and Jonathan Gunson’s Bestseller Labs website.
I also talked to J. P. McLean, a writer who threw all caution to the wind and self-published a very imaginative The Gift trilogy. She very generously shared with me her process.
Here are my steps:
1) I’ve been so blessed to have my story critiqued by River Writers, a group I belong to in my community: Kristin Butcher, a prolific and award winning children’s and YA writer; Jocelyn Reekie publisher and writer of children’s and YA books, Shari Green YA writer with a great blog, and Janet Smith, who is writing a science fiction novel.
2) I’ve also shown my novel to a number of beta readers who’ve given me their thoughts. One of them, Karen Dodd, has recently published her own debut book to great reviews.
3) I’ve had it macro edited by Marnie Wooding, who’s worked for a publishing house in the past and gave me great notes on my story.
4) And then I had it copy edited by Laurie Boris, a beautiful writer herself, just to make sure I wasn’t putting out crap with spelling errors and poor grammar.
5) Then, came the book cover. How I’ve agonized over this one, pouring over books on Amazon, looking at bestsellers, romances, trying to find what works and what doesn’t. Time will tell whether what I’ve chosen is the best one to illustrate what’s behind the covers. My book designer is finalizing the touches.
6) And formatting. I’m currently in the process of getting that done through Quantum Formatting Services.
7) And then I’m planning on getting it printed through CreateSpace, which gave me a free ISBN number. And I’ll get it on Amazon’s Kindle, too. Yahoo!!!
8) But I still haven’t decided exactly when I’ll publish both the print and e-book versions. Will it be May? As I look at my magnolia tree, already blooming, I’m wondering if I can get it out before summer sets in and everyone has already bought their beach books. Or maybe I’ll wait until fall.
If you have any questions or comments about my process, I’m more than happy to let you in on my journey. Also, if you have anything to add, I’d love to hear that, too. Thanks.