Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 08/07/2015

[UPDATE: Apologies for the posting error this morning!  It should be corrected now.

– SPA Blogrunner]

WHY SHOULD I PUBLISH?

Isn’t the world turning to their iPads and Kindles for research and pleasure reading?  WHY should anyone jump through all those book-publishing hoops these days? Last time I attempted to break through the walls and cross the motes to reach a traditional publisher every door slammed shut! No agent would take the time to even read my manuscript because “the main topic is too obscure.” The one publishing house editor who might have read the first few pages sent me a form rejection letter with a scrawled note at the bottom. “We’re packed to the gills with contracted publishing projects for at least the next five years.” OH, the cry of the writer who is unpublished today or who has barely stepped into the published author arena.  Within my sphere of writer-acquaintances I have two examples to share with you today. One author was “accepted” by a small (yet mainstream) publishing house and one made the decision to self-publish with an established “press.”

The “house” author was so excited to have the backing of a known publishing house.  However, as the months and years went by her enthusiasm dwindled. It was two months shy of three years before the book reached bookstores.  The eBook and online presence came along much later.  Then came the realities of marketing.  Yes, this book wore the label of the mainstream publishing house.  Yes, it was listed in their catalog of New Releases that went to bookstores around the world.  Yes, they offered a helper to “get the marketing off and running.”  However, (SURPRISE!) the actual marketing beyond their label and catalog would have to be done by the author—or a “contract” marketing team-for-hire.

The self-publishing “press” author held her finished book in her hand 98-days after submitting the manuscript with immediate availability to bookstores, major online book sites and as an eBook. That time-frame comparison alone has brought many new champions to the field of self-publishing.  Here are a few other contrasts that will help all writers in making their publishing decisions.

PROS

  • Traditional Publisher (TP): There is NO upfront expense to the author who is accepted by and signs a contract with a mainstream publisher—and often there is an “advance payment” based on expected sales.
  • TP handles development (editing, rewrites, enhancements, etc.) of your manuscript as well as onset marketing, distribution and some traditional “warehousing.”
  • Self-Publishing Presses (SP) have developed priced “packages” of publishing options for authors to select from—from bare bones “print my book” to full-assistance Custom Cover and Interior design.
  • SP Authors maintain 99% of the control in developing their book. I say 99% because there still remains some printer guidelines regarding the finished “trim-size” of books.

CONS

  • The days of the 6-figure advances are gone.  Plus, authors are beginning to consider their lost income due to the years it takes to get a book in print through Traditional Publishing.
  • There is also the very real concern that TP editors and book developers/marketing specialist will turn an author’s work into something it was never meant to be.  TPs will deny this happens—yet too many authors tell a different story.
  • Because Self-Publishing presses consider their main goal is to get the book OUT and available to readers QUICKLY, many do not have a printed Galley Proof for authors to hold in their hands and actually “proof.”  Although online Galley Proofing is an excellent way to manage corrections and changes, it is not always the easiest process for the Author.

These are the first of the Pros and Cons I will share with you this month.  However, I will add here that for me personally, the biggest factor to overcome as an author is actually releasing my work into the hands of ANYONE else—whether traditional publisher or self-publishing press.  Other eyes (professional publishing eyes) will be looking at what I’ve created.  So, bottom line, I search for the right fit within current publishing options. That means research into the publishing field beyond what I ever expected so that the heart of my words will reach the hearts of my readers. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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