The Rollercoaster of Self-Publishing...
...is full of ups and downs. Who knew?
I'm enjoying the element of control, and that I know what's happening at every stage without having to beg for information or split the activity between many different people
It's an awful lot of effort with a steep learning curve.
I love that I can manage my own pre-order campaigns and choose how things look
I also have the responsibility of making it look as professional as possible
I can choose my own budget for various different services and (although I won't get any advances), I'll get to keep any profits post-deduction at the end
I don't have any financial support or contacts a publisher might already have access to
I have all the choices
I also have none of the emotional reassurance
That last one is the killer for me. I wouldn't have been able to do this without my writing friends, who have supported me and cheered me on like troopers, but there is that magic about 'being chosen'.
An agent sees potential in you, whereas in self-publishing you have to see that in yourself.
A publisher loves your book enough to buy it, whereas in self-publishing you always need to be it's #1 champion.
Your self-belief has to be strong, and when it's not you need to have a rock solid foundation of support. You need people who can tell you that it's natural to worry about your story being awful, but also that the worry is absolutely ridiculous.
I'm lucky I have such supportive friends, but self-publishing can be lonely and daunting without that. I suppose my message is get that support net fixed early and make sure you're championing them in their efforts as much as they're supporting you (it's very easy to get carried away with your latest bit of news!)
As for the specifics, logistics, statistics and other types of '-ics' - the process has definitely been an experience.
I spent half a day buried on my laptop trying to get everything set up and loaded onto the KDP and Ingram distribution channels.
One piece of advice for this is to have your specifics decided on and ready beforehand, so this is:
- your description (the wording that will appear on your book's Amazon/sales pages)
- Your author bio.
- your formatted manuscript file
- your cover file
- the official naming convention for your book (i.e. if it's a series, what have you decided to call that?)
- Awareness of what you want to charge for the book and your countries of distribution (this can be done when you're ready, but it's good to get yourself up to speed on these things!)
- Your release date - this one is important, as KDP and Ingram differ on when to physically release the book as opposed to putting your release date to sort a pre-order campaign.
I'm overjoyed though that The Trouble With Fairies is now officially available on Amazon as an ebook, and soon to be available for pre-order in paperback (although this will need some sorting still).
That is also another thing that bringing out a book requires you to do - if you want to get your book into bookshops, you need to approach the shop with a sell sheet (also known I believe as an 'AI sheet') or similar overview about the book and about you.
These are scary waters for an introvert (like me), but again you need to have that self-belief in your book, and a steely determination as there will be some, possibly many, bookshops that simply aren't interested or don't have the space.
it's not all doom and gloom.
The further I go down this self-publishing road, the more grateful I am that I can retain control of what happens to my book baby. I can choose my own deadlines, my own speed, the release date, the general cover design, who I approach about support, and how much publicity I can handle.
Would I still love to be 'chosen'? Sure, that would be amazing, but for now I'm happy with the process of learning about the industry, the ins and outs of distribution, and being able to instantly spy the odd pre-order that's already found its way through (THANK YOU SO MUCH WHOEVER YOU ARE - each order means the world to me!)
If you're considering self-publishing, plan ahead. Go in realistically with your eyes open. Above all, remember that if you're prepared for the hard work then the rewards will definitely come.
Happy reading and writing everyone!