A Self-Publishing Life – Day 6
Traditional publishing translates to most readers as a validation of quality; you have to be accepted by a traditional publisher. They have their own team of professionals including publicists and editors. Books and authors are their business so they treat it as such. Whereas, a lot of self-publishing authors don’t seem to take themselves as seriously. They have a story – fiction or non-fiction – they want to write, they know they can publish it themselves through sites like CreateSpace, Lulu and NookPress and go for it. With this kind of freedom what’s stopping any and everyone from publishing whatever comes to their mind and putting it out there on the chance that they could make some money off it? Nothing really. On another hand, what’s stopping so many self-published authors from being successful? A lot.
Before I published my poetry book I picked up a copy of Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier’s “Complete Guide to Self-Publishing”. This book was and still is very helpful. One thing that really stuck out was how they described that the self-published author has to wear many hats, you can’t just be an author if you really want to be successful. In this guide they list the many hats as follows (without their descriptions): writer, editor, designer/artist, typesetter/compositor, printer, financier/accountant, marketeer, shipper/warehouser, legal advisor, business manager. I designed my book as a whole; I picked the font, font size, book size, poem order, and designed the covers. While there are a lot of people who design their own books as well there are A LOT of people who don’t put the necessary time into their cover. It seems that people might not know just how important a good cover is. For myself, a cheap cover makes me worry that the contents will mirror it. I’ve heard many other readers, writers and reader-writers (are there any writers that aren’t reader-writers?) complain about the quality of self-published book covers. A book’s cover after all is the first impression. There are a lot of people who have no interest in putting any more work into their book than what they feel like, can, or can’t for whatever reason, but even more so I think that a lot of people who self-publish or want to don’t really understand that they’re going to have to multitask in addition to writing. I heard more than one author say that writing is the easy part, it’s the marketing among other things that’s difficult, and trust me I can vouch for this.
Here’s an interesting article that Talisha Harrison reposted titled, “12 Quotes from Authors to Remember When Starting Your First Book”.
Marketing takes a lot more work than just having your book for sale on Amazon and telling a few of your friends and family. Sure maybe you don’t really care about sales and you just published for yourself, but if you do your going to have to break a sweat in a manner of speaking. This also doesn’t mean going to every possible place you can think of or hear about and posting carelessly all the details of your book; there’s an art to earning visibility. This means posting your details where appropriate: most book/writing/reading related websites have a special section specifically for self-promotion. People don’t like to be “spammed” by posts and e-mails “selling” books to them at every turn, and who can blame them my guess is you probably don’t either, I don’t. So you have to be smart with your placement because you also don’t want to only post in these promotional sections. I’m always wondering how many people outside of us looking to promote actually look at those lists; I’d bet most of the time the people who visit these sections are other people trying to sell.
Naturally just starting out on a lot of reader/writer/book/author sites as a new author I flocked to the “Promote Your New Book Here” threads. I wandered around the discussions occasionally throwing my thoughts into the mix, but admittedly I was a bit shy. Publishing my book put me out there but I guess you can say I felt some social anxiety. Regardless, I self-published, heck my book is published period, and this means I gotta make moves! And yet I was still slow at pulling the trigger for a while. Then one night I was reading through a very long discussion thread about why more people don’t read self-published books (it’s still going on by the way). One particular person’s comment stuck out; she talked about how she wants to know more about authors, wants to see/hear/read them interacting with others, not just talking about their book. Yeah sure, okay, that’s pretty obvious right? Whatever the craft, art, profession fans and prospective fans want to know more about the person in question, that’s not news. But it was, sort of.
As a new author who published herself I was thinking about how I need to gain visibility, get my book out there and let people know it even exists! It was hard to reason with myself to “socialize” when I felt like I need to be doing so much more for my book. A traditionally published author may have an agent, a publicist and even more people behind them setting up interviews and appearances for them. But I don’t have anyone but me marketing my book. Reading that woman’s comment however made me think more seriously about not taking myself too seriously, after all I have to know when to take a hat off and put another one on, or none at all.
And so the first part of this series “A Self-Publishing Life” begins in conjunction with my 365 pics that I’ll sometimes post together. Starting off I’m thinking about balance and how important it is especially in a self-publishing life. As my pictures show there’s stuff to be read; writing to sort through, edit, revise, rethink, edit, revise…writing to be done; other people’s blogs to visit, read, & show appreciation; taxes to be handled; orders to fill; new ideas to brainstorm; authors to reach out to; & of course among other things posts to be published & pictures to be taken.
So let’s let the madness live & settle then work it to our benefit. With respect to this need for balance I’ve created a new page for various interesting resources. It’s still under construction but check it out, who knows, maybe I’ll add you. 😉