Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Self Publishing Journey

It takes a village...
Hillary Clinton, when she was the First Lady, wrote a book entitled... “It Takes A Village...” referring to the concept that it takes many individuals and groups outside of the immediate family to raise a child.

So it is with writing. For after you have written that book, what are you going to do with it?
There are two ways to look at publishing a tome and the bottom line is they both revolve around money. Well, what doesn’t these days?

   Traditional publishing - usually in print form has both the pros and the cons... doesn’t everything.
   Pros - they do it all for you, the proofing, editing, design a cover, print it and to some degree marketing
   Cons - you don’t make much money

   Self-publishing - an ebook
   Pros - you make more money and you are in charge of all the details along the way
   Cons - you have to spend a lot of money before you can make any as putting together your team requires a lot of energy (you have to kiss a lot of frogs in the way of editors, etc. who don’t really know what they are doing), a lot of time and a bit of money

And any writer who thinks they can simply write a few words, have a few friends edit and proof it, put together a do-it-yourself cover and then click it up onto the web as an e-book, is sadly mistaken.
It doesn’t work that way. 
Well, it does work that way (anyone can put up an e-book) but it doesn’t work well. Especially if you are in for the long run, in terms of fame and continuing sales.
It takes a team to polish the book and make it truly presentable and ultimately readable and worthwhile. You need to “wow” the reader so they will come back and buy the next book.

It takes a team if you are going the self-publishing route, which is what I am doing.
Okay what does this team consist of? Well, I don’t know about other writers, but it took the following to get my guides up and running.

   Proofing
   while it’s great to have some Beta readers who will find some of the problems, (usually these are just your friends) it is wise to find someone who works in the genre of the piece, that knows what they are doing and can catch those little spelling errors and stray typos that we, the author, always miss,

   Editing
   again, not your sister-in-law. A professional editor is needed, someone who can see the “big picture” and realize that “this sentence, paragraph, chapter, section” actually belongs somewhere else in the project whether a nonfiction how-to book or a steamy romance or mystery.

   An artist or illustrator (very, very important)
   someone who has a track record in your genre... most books are bought because of the cover... believe it...

   Someone to format the words
   once again, a formatter who works in your genre. If you are only doing fiction, this is rather easy, but if you are doing let’s say a children’s book or an instruction book with illustrations or charts, you need a formatter who has done this before and really knows how to lay it all out.

   A webmaster
   because you will also need, if you haven’t done this before, a Facebook account, Twitter, and all those other social happenings, with new ones popping up daily, a blog of some kind, a way to collect e-mails, and perhaps a Q and A column plus a daily inspirational section and if you are really savvy, a place to sell your specialized items... and the list goes on and on...

   And finally it’s also nice to have or at least occasionally talk to a business manager who could give you some financial advise and perhaps oversee the whole project. About once a month I have breakfast with mine and he gives me ideas and suggestions I would never have thought of on my own.

Bottom line, it does take a “village”... a team, working together, to produce a great book - a book that really reads great, looks great and in the long run will make you a great deal of money.

Sue Viders -- who has done both - been with a big NY traditional publishing company and who is now striking out on her own with a new series of writing guides

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