From Pre-Published to Published Part 3: The Big Steps

It’s clear from my previous posts in this series that my intention is to self-publish. The reasons are many of which are covered in detail by Freelance Editor, Lynnette LaBelle in her pros and cons article (there’s also one for traditional publishing here). There are several reasons which stand out to me not the least of which is the issue of royalties which is much larger per unit sold. Control is another reason. Who doesn’t like to have a huge say in the artwork and other facets of their project? Another reason is where I see the industry moving. With the rise of successful independent authors we now have those work as hybrids. What this means is that self-publishing is morphing into a proving-ground (or minor league) where authors can show what they’ve got and transition into hybrid publishing as a result. There are even those who remain big leaguers all on their own.

Regarding the debate

There are those who debate which publishing path is best. But as Dario Ciriello writes, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. In fact, many authors who want to realize income from other pieces of the publishing pie will need an agent to arrange agreements for rights ranging from international, to audio and even movies (for those who achieve such notoriety). Having an agent an realizing added income means becoming a hybrid writer and I’m more than open to this notion.

Production

As mentioned in the first post of this series, there are many decisions to make. In the second post I discussed the crowdfunding decision and some options out there. But suppose I’ve completed a successful campaign. What’s next?

Securing the production services toward publication is the next step. First, an editor must be hired. I have someone with whom I’m comfortable with at the moment but there are many listed out there and ways to find one. Once thoroughly edited, the book is should then be formatted. You can learn this skill or hire it out – though much of the cost I’ve seen is not expensive. If you’re going to learn the skill I suggest you practice on a short story first since it’s smaller (and not on your original). Last in the production phase is artwork. This is one service which I’ll be investigating in the coming months. The visual aspect of the book is highly important so paying for quality work is important.

Publication

Regarding points formatting and artwork, there are several main strategies you can take with self-publishing. Amazon offers several services in a variety of packages but this gets costly. But this brings up another choice to make. Amazon is the big-dog on the block with book sales, especially e-books. However, there are other venues for self-publishing, namely Smashwords. Founder Mark Coker offers a number of resources for free to help authors. There is the free e-book with marketing tips, his list of known formatters and artists, tips for successful e-publishing and their catalog. At this point, the Smashwords catalog distributes into the major e-book vendors easily without the need for multiple ISBN’s and can even distribute to Amazon once an author’s book reaches a minimum sales of $2000. Amazon and Smashwords are great for indie authors but for the reasons mentioned, I lean toward using Smashwords.

Only for e-books

That’s correct, Smashwords only deals with e-books though they have a list of recommended POD services. Here’s my thinking on this matter which circles back to my earlier points: start with e-book sales and see where it goes from there. I might attract enough attention to transition into being a hybrid author. Also, my initial cost is limited but income can later be directed into releasing hard copy through POD. It also frees me from some of the higher costs of full-jacket artwork and other time-consuming details that could be used for producing more books.

That’s my general plan. What are your plans or how have you published previously? I’m very interested in your comments so take a few moments to let me know what you think. Fill out the form above so you can also follow this blog by email.

Thanks for reading,

PHS

P.S. For extra reading, check out Mark Coker’s take on the Amazon/Hachette dispute.

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