There’s enough I don’t know about self-publishing to fill a self-published book on self-publishing. The old days of submitting your manuscript, awaiting rejection, rinsing & repeating, is no longer the only option on the block. That may be a good thing or a bad thing. On the positive side, not having to wait two years to have a manuscript accepted, edited, and finally printed, is alluring. On the other hand, the fact that anyone can self-publish, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should.
I’m in the middle of revising a first draft, and while it’s a bit early to begin looking into publication, I find I need the occasional break from editing. I’m often found lurking on Amazon, perusing ‘inside peaks’ of novels written by aspiring authors, those with similar qualifications as my own (none). Call it gauging my literary capacity, being nosy, or simply judging the caliber of fellow writers, I find the process both exhilarating and debilitating. The debilitating part rears its head when I stumble across a brilliant piece of fiction –available for digital download at .99 cents. The exhilarating side emerges when I find a novel selling for $2.99, wrought with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It’s like fishing, only instead of largemouth bass, you’re hoping to land a glimmer of reassurance, or a glint of inspiration.
It’s a risky pastime, but like an addiction, hard to quit, once hooked.
Lurking aside, as I plod along, happily revising, anticipating the day when ‘The End’ will finally mean ‘The End’, I look to my next steps. Aside from Amazon’s Kindle, there are a number of publishing platforms, offering a multitude of options, each with their own distribution stream, revenue percentage, marketing incentives, you name it. The variables are plenty, and the selection of platforms, overwhelming.
Self-publishing, as I’m finding, is all over the map.
Editing will play a significant role in the final product. My writing style often skirts the boundaries of traditional prose, I‘m not a natural wordsmith, but I’ll argue that style is subjective, rules are restricting, and sometimes you go with your gut. With that said, I like the idea of having a polished product. Whether or not I outsource my final draft for a professional edit is something I have to consider. There’s only so much personal editing that can be done; line by line edits, read-aloud edits, software programs that detect repeat phrases, clichés, and awkward sentence structure, spell-checks. If I do outsource, I’ll likely be looking for a copy edit, or a proofread only, I’m not intending on spending large chunks of cash, not on my first go-around. I have the expertise to do much of my own prep work, formatting, cover image, and so forth, so my only financial investment, if I choose that route, will be editing.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
For those of you who have self-published, I’m interested in your process. Did you opt for a free platform, or fee-based? Did you do the heavy lifting, or did you outsource (formatting, editing, beta-readers)? Lastly, if you did outsource, did you survive the notes, or did you run out and buy a box of wine and a tub Häagen-Dazs?
Until next time,