That is the question many writers are asking themselves nowadays. Many who haven’t published a book the traditional route are trying out self-publishing to see if it works for them. Authors published by NY pubs are waving goodbye to the ‘big machine’ and going it alone. Some are doing very well. Others are finding out self publishing is a lot of work. But the thing is, it’s a new option that is changing the face of publishing virtually day by day.
Myself? I like the ‘big machine’, and hope to publish with an established publisher for as long as I can write stories readers will enjoy. I appreciate that after I’ve spent a lot of time creating the best story that I can, I can then hand it over to the pros and let them turn it into a book. I like working with editors, because every single book that goes through the editing process, I learn something new. Seriously. And I like gleaning information from all aspects of the publishing industry because learning new stuff rocks my world.
Now, that said, I’ve self-published a few of my backlist titles, and just put out an original historical vampire romance in the middle of June, FOLLOW THE NIGHT. And I’m going to continue to self publish—because that rocks my world, too. I’m going to have my cake and eat it too. I want the traditional publishing structure because I know that is my bread and butter, but I also want to do it myself simply because I enjoy the process of creating a book.
I’ve said this about self publishing: Self Publishing can be very easy – if you do it wrong. If you do it the right way, it involves blood, sweat and tears, baby, but it can be very satisfying. I mean that, if you enjoy writing, editing, formatting, cover creation, marketing, distribution, sales, and all the millions of details involved in book creation, then self publishing is for you. If you’d rather someone else handle the details, then stick to traditional. And yet you can still self publish if you don’t like that stuff, because nowadays you can hire people to do everything, from formatting, to cover art, to promotion.
My one stickler for self published authors is that you must hire an editor. Some may not agree with me, but I’m standing firm on this one. I believe every author needs an editor, someone with fresh eyes to look at your work. You’re too close, I promise. Even if you get a few critique partners to comb over your work for you, it’s better than no editor at all. Trust me on that one. With the deluge of self published books out there, you want to put out a quality product that will make the readers happy they spent the money on your book, and make them return for another. I hired an editor for FOLLOW THE NIGHT. I’m very pleased with the result (but I will warn you, it may be the biggest expense in the process of putting your book together for publication).
This is what I enjoy about doing it myself. Formatting for digital is a long and sometimes frustrating process. It makes me scream at the computer, pull on my hair and wonder why I ever thought I could do this on my own. Yet, when I finally get to that perfect format, and the meatgrinder (or whatever process you use online) says ‘yes, it’s good’, then I literally let out a shout of joy. I did it! Cover Art. I love designing my own covers. I’m no Photoshop expert. How it works is I start with some images I’ve found at stock art sites and ideas and try to make those ideas come to fruition. Doesn’t always work, because I haven’t mastered the program, and the images at stock sites never really match exactly what you want, but if it comes close, I’m very happy. I like picking title fonts and colors and capturing the mood of the story in the cover art. As well, I’ve gained an appreciation for the people who do my covers. Interior formatting for print copies. This is my favorite! I design the interior look of the printed book, from the front matter, which includes reviews, teasers, title page, copyright page, to the text font (I love Garamond! It’s the sexiest utilitarian font out there.), to the ad for my next book in the back. I can put a fancy font on the chapter headings, do a drop cap to start the chapter if I feel like it, set the margins how I like. The time spent on interior formatting is long and detailed, but it is the most satisfying part of the whole process. When the whole thing is done, and I’ve digital copies online and a paper copy in hand, I just want a huge freakin’ magnet to pin that puppy on the fridge and shout “I made that!” I don’t think you can imagine the joy it gives me to create a book.
So that is why I will continue to self publish, but yet, it takes a step second in line to the work I write for the traditional publishers, and that’s the way it should be for me, right now, at this point in my career.
So what about you? Have you been considering self-publishing? Have you done it? Do you prefer traditional publishing only? What if you’re a reader? What’s your opinion on self-pub vs. traditional? I’m curious! And if you have any questions about the process of doing it yourself, go ahead and ask!
You can buy FOLLOW THE NIGHT in all digital formats at Smashwords. It’s on sale for only .99 cents for a few more days if you use the coupon code: SF75V. You can also get it in digital and paperback at Amazon (not on sale there), and soon it will be available at iTunes and B&N and various eRetailers online. If you’ve read FROM THE DARK, it is a prequel to that story, because it features Jane Renan’s parents.