I remember when self-publishing first became “a thing.” After so many years of rejection letters and “not right for us,” I admit I was intrigued. It didn’t take long for that interest to turn cold. The immediate response from all sides seemed to be that to be self-published was to be unpublished, a cheaper version of a vanity press. Worse, it was labeled as the ultimate failure: no one else would publish the book so you were going to publish it yourself. There was no barrier between you and the reader – no editor, no agent, nothing and no one to say “this is good enough.” The writer was the beginning, middle, and end.
Egads! A writer in control. Surely a sign of the apocalypse.
But like with traditional publishing, self-publishing is neither easy nor for the faint-hearted. It’s work that doesn’t end. You don’t just write the book but now you have to edit, proof, design a cover, write a blurb, market, promote, manage sales, distribute, provide customer service…then start all over.
There are marketing companies that can help with promotion but like an agent, they usually take a percentage. Finding a good editor is both smart and can be costly. Then it comes down to getting your book into a reader’s hands. How do you get them to pick your book from the thousands – the tens of thousands – out there?
As I start to learn more I’ll share my wonderful insights (joke!). Luckily there are others far wiser than me who’ve taken the journey and shared their experiences. I plan to absorb as much as they’re willing to tell me.