I’m excited to have Claudine Wolk guest posting to share some info on self-publishing today. A link to her site is toward the end. Here is her advice on this excellent book topic.
Self-publishing is a great way to publish your work or as a springboard to get a book deal with a traditional publisher. As you know from Stef’s pervious blog, publishing is no easy business. There is no rhyme or reason as to why one book gets picked and another book does not. Often the determination is based on who you know versus the quality of the book. That is why self-publishing has begun to grow in popularity over the last 15 years and continues to grow. An author has control over the project from soup to nuts and makes all the decisions, from book size, book cover and interior design, to the marketing strategy. The author also has the burden of total cost. (I am describing here traditional self-publishing as opposed to on-demand publishing or subsidy publishing – totally different animals)
The most important question to ask yourself if you are serious about self-publishing is how much passion you have for your material. As a self-publisher, you will be the author, the publisher, and the marketing person all rolled into one. You have to believe in your material and be willing to live it, eat it and dream it for a good solid year. If you truly believe in your message and your ability to spread that message, you will have no problem doing the tasks that are required to get your books self-published.
To get started, I suggest you read the self-publishers bible “Dan Poynter’s Self-publishing Manual.” Do not do a thing until you have read this book. It is easy to read and gives a great overview of every aspect of self-publishing so that you know what you are in for. Sharing self-publishing information is a big business as well, but I promise you, most of what you need to know will come from this book. The next thing you need to do is write the book! Just sit down and write it. Once you have a product and know what the demands will be in order to get the book published, you can make a decision to go forward with your project.
I began my journey in self-publishing in April 2007. I had tried traditional publishing with a proposal and finished manuscript for an entire year before that. I was passionate about my book and truly felt that the book filled a need in the world. I decided to self-publish. By joining forces with (ie paying) some very talented marketing and book production folks (Brian Taylor, Pneuma Books.com and Sharon Castlen, Integrated Book Marketing), I had the book that I wanted. I pitched to a few distributers, got a contract, and by April 2008 my book – It Gets Easier! and Other Lies We Tell New Mothers was in bookstores, for sale on my website http://www.help4newmoms.com/ and on amazon.com and borders.com. With an author platform beginning to be built, I started contacting literary agents, who started to opening their doors to me. I secured a book deal with a traditional publisher who plans to re-release my book in the Spring 2009.
I am living proof that self-publishing can lead the way to a traditional publishing contract. If you think self-publishing is for you remember the three things I mentioned – a finished manuscript, good self-publishing how-to info, and most of all – passion! With these three elements, you’ll be on your way to being a published author!