Why did I decide to self-publish? I’ve had ten novels released by “conventional” publishers. Honestly, my posture has always been, “I’d rather have someone pay me to write. After all, that’s what I do. I prefer to leave the editing and marketing to them.” But things are changing in the world of publishing. You may not have noticed, but authors have.
It’s been about ten months since the release of my last novel, Medical Judgment. It’s not that the novel was bad—actually, it’s been nominated for a couple of neat awards—but there have been holdups with my next. Since an author is always one phone call or email away from not having a publishing home, they fear that if there’s not a book out there, readers might forget them. Because the publisher of my next novel has hit a snag, I decided to write and self-publish a long novella to put something out there. That’s why Doctor’s Dilemma will release next week.
What does an author have to do when he/she decides to self-publish? The first thing a writer has to do is get over their fear of the unknown. Many authors have told me that, for one reason or another, they have jumped (or been forced) into self-publication. Some, like me, have primarily depended on a conventional publisher to handle things like editing and cover design, along with marketing. Self-publication means you’re responsible for all those things. And it’s frightening.
How do you do it? The most important thing, of course, is to write the novel or novella. Never, ever put something out that you can’t honestly say is your best work. Because once it’s published, it’s there for everyone to see. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is to resist the temptation all authors have to send off the manuscript once its finished. That way lies disaster.
After the writing comes the editing. I have an excellent first reader who does what amounts to a macro edit of everything I write. And I’ve reached the point where I don’t hesitate to take her advice. On her suggestion, I’ve even rewritten a book that was 10,000 words along in order to make it better. And it was. But having learned this lesson with my first self-published novella, I spent the money for professional editing of my manuscript. Cost varies with the editor and number of pages involved. But to me it was money well spent.
At the same time, there’s the matter of design of a book cover. Again, I chose to have a professional do it, and the expense was worth it. Perhaps I could have found a template or ready-made cover that worked, but in this case an individually designed one was well money well-spent. Of course, don’t forget that it’s up to you to also write the back cover copy. Since I’d always offered at least a suggested version of mine (which was generally accepted), that presented no problem.
Then what? There are a number of options here. Many individuals have set themselves up as small presses that handle all or part of the process. Agents can assist with self-publication if it’s a valid option. I’ll leave it to the authors to check into all these for themselves. My process involved my agent and Amazon, choosing a path I’d followed with my two previous self-published novellas. By doing this, I gave away a small percentage of the money coming in, but I never felt alone. There are a lot of decisions, and it’s all up to the author. I liked having someone to lean on here.
After I set up the schedule for Doctor’s Dilemma with the lady who is my liaison in all this, it was up to me to decide a cost for the book and arrange publicity. That’s done, and you can benefit from one aspect. My novella is available for pre-order on Amazon by the time this “interview” is posted. The Kindle version will be available for a pre-order price of 99 cents. Unfortunately, there’s no “pre-order deal” for the print version. This special price will be in effect until March 13, at which time the book is to be released, and the regular price goes into effect for both versions.
If you want to be in the running for a copy of the novella (Kindle format for anyone, print copy for US addresses only), leave a comment with your email address. I’ll choose a winner on the evening of March 12 and post that name in the comments section, so the non-winners can still take advantage of the special price.
And if you have questions, please include them in your comments. See? I told you to read to the end.
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