So You Want to be an Author?
I keep a running list of topics I want to blog about. One of those topics is self-publication. By that I mean you pay the publisher to get your book into print instead of the publisher paying you. I have several friends who have done this, and I have no problem with it as long as they know exactly what they are — and are not–getting for their money. It’s hard enough to get store placement and reviews when you’re published the traditional way. You can just about forget about it if you’re self-published.
I stopped by Tess Gerritsen’s blog, as I do from time to time, and discovered her recent post on self-publishing. She says it all far better than I ever could, so if it’s a topic that interests you, visit her excellent blog for an education.
Meanwhile, I’m embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t completed my proposal. However, today I made a big change in the story and felt that euphoric thrill of excitement that means I’m on target. By this time tomorrow, I should be finished with it. Wish me luck!
Diane, hopefully no worries or stress with the proposal. I’m sure when it’s done it will be awesome!
Interesting topic. After my agent and I didn’t find a traditional publisher, other than a couple of e-publishers who wanted to offer me a contract for my novel, I made the decision to self-publish it through Lulu (this book was better of self-published than e-published). With Lulu you don’t pay to have it published – it’s a POD publisher. When somebody purchases a copy Lulu prints it and ships it to them and you earn royalties. The real problem is distribution, of course. By the time you get the traditional distributors involved the price is raised considerably – one reason why I offer it straight from the publisher.
I’ve gained a lot of experience, joy, and pain doing this, but I won’t self-publish a novel again. Even though by nature I’m a do-it-yourselfer with a professional background in printing/publishing in the technical field, I’m going to keep trying the traditional route when it comes to publishing my next novel. 🙂
Kathy, thanks for sharing your experience here. I know several LuLu authors and you’re right that they don’t charge. “POD,” for those who don’t know, means Print on Demand. In other words, you order a book and the publisher prints it and ships it to you. A traditional publisher makes an educated guess (based on preliminary orders) as to how many books it can sell, prints them, and if the books don’t sell they can be returned to the publisher for credit. (I’m NOT saying this is a good system. It’s a ridiculously outdated system, but it’s still in place). If someone has to/wants to self-publish, POD is a good way to go (and LuLu has its act together). The anthology, THE JOURNEY HOME, in which I have a short story, is a POD book because we were unable to find a traditional publisher willing to take on the specialized soldier-coming-home-from-war-with-paranormal-romantic elements (lol!), plus a royalty split with an organization to support our troops. None of the authors ever expected to see a dime from the book, but it’s still going strong. And that’s where POD really comes in handy: the book doesn’t go out of print.
I’m rambling. Back to you, Kathy: I think you have the right attitude in that you see your self-pubbed book as a learning experience. Maybe the first few will turn out to be learning experiences. Your eyes are wide open and you understand the limitations of self-pubbing. My concern is for those people who don’t and who get sucked in without realizing what they’re signing on for.
Thanks, Diane. I feel the same way about e-publishers. The problem I see is that people think “Oh I’m published now” and then they get stuck writing book after book for this e-publisher and miss out on reaching for the gold. 🙂