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12-09 - M.L. Buchman

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Self Publishing? Who Me?

Self Publishing? Who Me? No way, at least that is what I said for many years. So what made me change my mind.
I was asked to speak at a local Science Fiction Conference. One of the speakers on the panel was Mike Stackpole, an award winning science fiction author. He was talking about self-publishing stories and books from his website. The seed had been planted and I started thinking, "What if?"
One of my RWA chapter mates had formed her own publishing company. She wrote a children's book for home schoolers and traditional publishers didn't think that it was marketable. So she started her own publishing company and has several authors under her now and is quite successful. She gave a talk at our chapter meeting and as I listened I couldn't help thinking, "Can I do that?"

There is a blog that I would recommend to anyone thinking about self-publishing. My friend, Frankie Robertson has posted about her journey to self-publication. Take a look at it.
After making the decision to publish some of my back list on my own I still had a lot to learn.I had my books edited by a professional editor. I learned about formatting for the different electronic formats as well as for Create Space. I had decided to also bring them out as Print on Demand.
Everyone knows how important a cover can be. I looked into getting a cover artist, we have a friend who is an artist and she agreed to do our covers. She's done two so far and I love them.

In the end I published two books. My own paranormal title THE MAN IN THE MIRROR and my husband's book - MORIARTY - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A CRIMINAL GENIUS. I will be bringing out another of my back list hopefully before the end of the year,

Since I've now self-published does that mean I'm not interested in finding an agent or a publisher for my books. No it does not. Does it mean I will self-publish other books. Yes, I will.

17 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, Elaine. My question is this: If you were a fiction author, would you self-publish your debut book? Why or why not?

And thanks for the link to Frankie's blog.

ElaineCharton said...

Good question Sarah and I don't know if I would have or not.
If you have already started building your platform even before the book comes out that is the biggest hurdle. More and more writers are starting to do that and I think that is marvelous.
I think if you are comfortable with self publishing, have a fantastic book. Professionally edited and a professional cover. Then go for it.
If you are not comfortable with all self publishing involves than don't do it.
I will be the first to tell you it's not for everyone. However, it is an option to be considered.

frankierobertson said...

Thanks for the mention, Elaine!

I'll chime in on Sarah's question. I was thinking about self-pubbing before I sold my first novel to The Wild Rose Press. That sale gave me confidence that my work was "good enough" to be published. Silly, but true. I don't think a sale is necessary before you self-publish, as long as you get your work professionally edited as Elaine and I have done. My philosophy now is "Go for it!"

ElaineCharton said...

Thanks Frances!
The other thing I didn't mention is if you have something that is outside the box of what a traditional publisher is looking for,self pub may be for you.
But again, be sure it is professionally edited,

Elise M Stone said...

I am unpublished and am thinking seriously about going the self-pub route because of the niche nature of the book I'm writing. It doesn't fit into one of the standard categories publishers are looking for and I think it would be a very hard sell. This is different than saying no one would want to read it. I believe there are lots of readers out there who would enjoy the book.

My only hesitation is exactly what Frankie mentioned - am I good enough to be published?

There's always that fear of putting it out there and finding that it's just as bad as all the dreck that's out there now. That's not what I want. I want my work to be the best it can be. I want it worthy of traditional publication even if I choose to publish it myself.

These are hard times for unpublished writers. Exciting, yes, but hard, too.

ElaineCharton said...

Elise-
Have you sent it out anywhere? Publishers or Contests? Contest are great for feedback. Just remember one thing, that feedback is only one person's opinion.

Elaine

Elise M Stone said...

Yes, I have, Elaine. I entered the Daphne and the Genesis (American Christian Fiction Writers) contests earlier this year.

It did not do as well as I hoped. I was thoroughly crushed. However, after a while I thought the judges' comments might have some merit, so I reworked the opening chapter significantly.

Just this morning I sent the first 10 pages to another contest. Hopefully I've made progress and the results will be better this time.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing, Elaine. I look forward to seeing the rest of your backlist!

ElaineCharton said...

Sounds like you are on the right track Elise.
Thank you Unknown. If you want to get my newsletter, which only goes out when we have something to say.Go to my website and there is a place to sign up for it. It's on the page with my bio. Or you can check here.

Diana Mcc. said...

You said to have the manuscript professionally edited before self publishing; what would be an average cost to have that done, say for a 85,000 word book? Great post!

ElaineCharton said...

Diana-
I was very lucky in that one of my critique buddies is also a freelance editor. Check out her website www.benigneditor.com
Also Frankie Robinsons blog posts on her journey to self published has some information on who she used. It's worth searching for.
Also ask other authors for reccomendations, check them out carefully, ask for references that you can talk with.
Remember to stay within your budget. Just because some one charges more doesn't mean she's any better.
Hope this helps.
Elaine

Judith Ashley said...

Great advice about professional editing. I'd add, know what you want - punctuation/grammar or more. I know there are some editors who are great with the mechanics but aren't with craft (story/plot/characters) so know what you want, know your budget and get and check references and recommendations.

With self-publishing, having a niche book makes it easier to get it out there. Keep your options open is the best advice - thanks, Elaine.

ElaineCharton said...

Your Welcome Judy. Thanks for adding that. It is important.
I'm definitely grammatically challenged so that is what I need.

Kilian said...

Thanks for the shout out, Elaine. I love helping writers tell their story without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty of nit-picky rules. I'm putting my Virgo traits to good use instead of sellling them to the dark side by working as a book critic.

Kilian said...

@Judith Ashley

You bring up a good point. There are many different kinds of editors. A copy editor will do the grammar/spelling/punctuation/usage thing, as well as pointing out errors of fact, inconsistencies, missing elements (what statue? was there a statue?). A developmental editor, or writing coach will work with you on character development, plotlines, etc. Two different helpers for two different needs.

Kilian said...

@ Diane Mcc

Price depends on the amount of work the editor has to do. A light edit (mostly grammatical, good usage) will cost less than a heavy edit (mucho work with grammar, usage) will cost more. Most professional editors will ask to see a sample of work, which they will return edited with a quote. Then you both know what is involved and whether you can work well together. This is true of copy editors and should be true of developmental editors as well.

ElaineCharton said...

I'd rather have you as and editor than a critic Killian,

:)
Elaine