This week, the RWA/NYC Blog is all about self-publishing.
Here is the last of three articles on the subject.
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE-ISH?
TALKING ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING
by K.M. Jackson
When it comes to self-publishing, you know what you know and what you don’t know you ask- I went into writing this piece with it titled “Self-publishing: What I know for sure. Well that quickly changed once I sat down to write it. I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to know and even less of what I need to know. So the title got changed and my fist point was made. You need to study up and prepare if you’re going to try your hand at the self-publishing game because like traditional publishing it’s not a game. It’s serious business and must be approached that way. So it takes time and preparation and even then there will be stumbles and obstacles but luckily there are tons of resources out there to help you along the way. So like in school when you don’t know an answer, ask a question.
Your team is key. Unless you are a true jack of all trades then having your team in place is essential when you go into self-publishing. This is where it’s key to know your strengths and be brutally honest about them. You may be a fantastic editor but are you really good at editing yourself? I’d daresay most of us are not. So a good editor is key. Are you a computer wiz? Know the ins and outs or formatting? Have what it takes to put a professional product up on the major e-tailers? Than great for you! If not than I say you need to think about finding someone who is and free up your mind and your time for what it is you are truly meant to do. What about the cover? We all know how hard it is to be discovered in the vast sea of e-covers nowadays so a professional cover may be just the thing to get you that look inside and on your way to a 1-click.
There is a right way to be published. Yeah, um. No, it’s not. The right way to be published is the right way for you. With hitting publish on BOUNCE I officially became a hybrid author. This gave me more excitement, and at the same time, more angst than I could imagine. Suddenly I had a product out there that I was fully responsible for and in charge of which was a wonderful thing. On the flip side… Suddenly I had a product out there that I was fully responsible for and in charge of. Gulp. There would be no one after me with reminder emails and timelines. No marketing or promo that I did not initiate. It was all my deal. Back to the flip side of that. All the timelines were that of my own making. All the marketing (much of which I was doing myself anyway) would be my own deal. It is scary and freeing and very much empowering. But if you are not prepared to put in the time, work and take on the responsibility of all of that then you have to think about which path to publishing is the right one for you.
If you want to get rich self-publishing is the way to go. Okay, so I was trying to write this subtitle with a straight face, but sorry, I couldn’t quite pull it off. No, no, just no. That old don’t quit your day job applies doubly over here in self-publishing. Mind you it’s easy to get sucked into the shiny media news that crops up just about every week about some new self-pubbed success story and yes, there are plenty that are indeed very successful. But I’m not going to be one to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and say this is the guaranteed way to go.
Self-publishing may be just the thing for you… then again it just may not. Right now I’m a hybrid author, being both published by a publisher, Crimson Romance, and now self-published too. In the future I see myself trying both routes again. I’m a person that just can’t get my Nana’s voice out of her head and the old eggs in one basket thing is stuck but good. So self-pubbed over traditional? Which way to go? The fact is I don’t have the answer to that. And I don’t think all those folks out there spinning those yarns about this way or that way do either. What they really know is what worked for them and for the folks they are writing about. So that said you have to consider how you work, what you are looking for both professionally and financially, and go from there. I’m sorry, no easy answers this way. I think when it really gets down to it, the true power is in your hands as the artist to write the very best book then to go on and do that again and again and after that the power is in the hands of the readers as it always is.♥
A native New Yorker, Kwana spent her formative years on the ‘A’ train going from her home in Washington Heights to The Village where she attended Stuyvesant High School. On that long ride to study math and science, Kwana had two dreams: 1. to be a fashion designer and 2. to be a writer. After graduating from Stuyvesant, Kwana studied fashion design at FIT. She then spent ten years designing for various fashion houses. But after having twins and juggling that and fashion, Kwana took the leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer. She currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband, teen twins, and a precocious terrier named Jack that keeps her on her toes. To learn more, visit her at www.kwana.com.