This week in the world of self-publishing:
Carole Nelson Douglas published sixty novels the old-fashioned traditional way before she decided to explore self-publishing, writes Drucilla Shultz for Publisher’s Weekly on June 17th. Why? She wanted more control over her published materials, a familiar story to many who are involved in self-publishing today. And the change, while not entirely without discouragements (Douglas has felt victim of a certain degree of “status downgrade”) has reaped a great deal more rewards (Douglas’ latest book is receiving positive critical recognition). Perhaps the greatest byproduct of Douglas’ conversion, however, may be her advocacy for indie and self-publishing authors everywhere. “Look to your audience,” says Douglas (by way of Shultz):
“Figure out who your audience is, who you’re writing for, what genre you’re writing in, and what the books in that genre look like. Recognize that indie publishing is a lifetime learning experience. Yes, some authors broke out big and fast a few years ago, and those gold rush days are over, but audience-expanding strategies are still out there. Look for role models online. Authors love to tell ‘how I did it.’”
Douglas also recommends looking to the internet (“Online Advice”) and seeking out a professional copyeditor (“Professional Help”). Refreshingly direct, she’s up-front about the fact that self-publishing is a lifetime commitment, with plenty of avenues to success and an equal number of pitfalls. For Shultz’s entire article and interview with Douglas, tap into the original piece at the link.
“Michele Melton of Olathe loves to bake,” writes Sara Beane for The Kansas City Star on June 17th:
“So after years of being asked by family and friends how to make her popular cake pops — bite-sized pieces of chocolate-dipped cake on a stick — she decided it was time to put her tried-and-true recipe on paper with a children’s book to teach kids how to make her cake pops. But she didn’t want it to be just any book; she wanted it to be interactive.”
I don’t know about you, but crafting an interactive work is hardly a recipe for traditional success. Breakout phenomenons like Dragonology and so forth have occasionally reached bookshelves, but by nature traditional publishing houses are steadfastly conservative, and opposed to experimentation. Melton’s book, Beane reports, is about a 10-year-old girl who loves to bake–Cake Pops With Marlee–and is designed to teach children how to bake alongside their parents and caregivers. “The process of self-publishing the book was both costly and time-consuming for Melton,” says Beane, and “Things were already stressful when life threw her a curveball in November. That’s when Melton’s 24-year-old son Jake collapsed while at work and was soon diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.” Under mounting pressure, already committed to self-publishing her book and now coping with her son’s life-changing illness on limited funds, Melton found escape in writing. And eventually, writes Beane, what “started as a way to share a recipe with others has now turned into something much more important for Melton. It’s a chance to remind parents to take the time to cherish their kids.” For the rest of Melton’s heart-touching story, read Beane’s full article here.
It’s not often that self-publishing received professional treatment at length, but that’s exactly what Catherine Dunn is doing for Digital Book World. Her June 16th article serves as part four of a six-part series, a series which has already recommended that a self-publishing author “[makes] sure your manuscript is formatted, […] had it copy-edited, and […] engaged a professional designer to create a stunning cover that will capture readers’ attention.” This installment deals with six additional points that all revolve around the processes that take place after finishing writing:
- Choose your services
- Check the spec
- Don’t forget your illustrations
- Don’t leave anything to chance
- Take time over the metadata
And Dunn concludes her article with a checklist of further tips to assist self-publishing authors in moving from the manuscript stage to the “successfully published” stage. A word of caution, however: while her ideas are excellent, this is just one installment in a series. Hang around for two or three more weeks, and all six installations will be complete. It’s always a little disappointing to start a great series only to discover it’s not quite finished, right? If you can’t resist peeking, however, you can find installment four at the link.
As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.
ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.